In April we awarded $54,000 in grant funding for 17 exciting projects that will take place throughout the city in 2016. Join us in congratulating the dedicated public humanists bringing these films, oral history projects, exhibits, discussions, and other experiences to the people of Washington, DC.


Major Grants

Washington Architectural Foundation, Giants of Washington Architecture

The product of this grant project will be a minimum of 3 segments of professionally produced videos intended to educate a broad audience about the architects whose genius over long careers is responsible for making Washington’s built environment what it is today.

Parkmont School, Parkmont Poetry Festival

The Parkmont Poetry Festival encourages and celebrates young poets in Washington, DC and is a rare model for collaboration between public, public charter, and private schools.  Each year, hundreds of students submit poems to the Festival. A panel of three semifinalist judges and one finalist judge, all of whom are successful, published poets, select about one hundred semi-finalists and ultimately, forty student winners.

Historical Society of Washington, DC, D.C. 1968: A Citywide Oral History Project

The Historical Society will survey repositories to identify and create guides for collections related to the civil disturbances of 1968 and create a task force to design a plan for oral history collection. It will develop written standards to produce neighborhood oral histories based on best practices in the field. The results will be distributed to attendees at the 43rd Annual Conference on D.C. Historical Studies in November 2016 as well as to participant networks.

New York Women in Film and Television, Dignity and Defiance: A Portrait of Mary Church Terrell

This project will be a documentary short encapsulating the life of the fearless and tireless advocate, Mary Church Terrell.  The project’s scope includes researching her papers, both at the Library of Congress, as well as Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Library.  Information and photos from these precious collections will be woven into the film to tell Mrs. Terrell’s life story.

Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Preserving African American Memories: History, Sites and Legacies

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History will conduct two educational programs for that will inspire inter-generational conversation among adults, college students and youth in order to increase the community’s knowledge on the preservation of African American institutions. The program will be conducted in collaboration with the National Park Service and the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Park site scheduled to open in 2016.

SpeakeasyDC, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: True stories from DC’s Sign Language Community

Story District’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered: True stories from DC’s Sign Language Community will offer a five-week training to 15 members of DC’s deaf community. In partnership with DeafDistrict, Story District’s expert teaching artists will adapt our Storytelling 101 curriculum for American Sign Language interpretation to culminate in a free public performance.

Old Naval Hospital Foundation – Hill Center, 2017 Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration – The First Freed –

In commemoration of the end of slavery in the nation’s capital, Hill Center will present three days of celebratory and scholarly programs. These free and public events will bring together a diverse group of prominent scholars, artists, and public figures for programming that will have broad public appeal and engage attendees in a deeper understanding of the African American experience during the Civil War.

Military Road School Preservation Trust, Mapping Segregation in Washington DC – Ward 4-

Mapping Segregation in Washington DC is a public history project documenting the historic segregation of DC’s housing, as well as schools, playgrounds, and other public spaces. During the first half of the 20th century, as the city’s black population soared during the Great Migration, racial deed covenants restricted most new housing to whites only. With the Humanities grant, MRSPT hopes to continue the Ward 4 work and, as a part of that, to document and exhibit the racial history of the Fort Stevens area, including the site of the landmarked Military Road School.

PEN/Faulkner Foundation, PEN/Faulkner Summer Book & Supper Club-

This free, seven-week summer program for high school students enrolled in DCPS and public charter schools provides weekly opportunities for students to meet with local authors, engage in sustained discussions of literature, and receive free books. The program is a direct extension of PEN/Faulkner’s mission, which is to bring readers and writers together in order to foster a literate and creative society. It encourages students to think of themselves as active participants in a broader intellectual community, and to interrogate concepts of authorship in a text saturated world.

Community Resources Incorporated, The Ante-Bellum Black Church and Resistance to Enslavement in the District of Columbia –

Ante-bellum black churches were sanctuaries for those escaping enslavement.  They were destination locations that provided rest, nurture, guidance, direction, protection, and essential financial and human resources.  In recognition of the significant role the church played in the resistance movement, the project will focus on seven antebellum Black churches founded in the District of Columbia (Asbury United Methodist Church, Metropolitan AME Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Mount Zion United Methodist Church, Third Baptist Church, St. Mary’s Episcopalian Church, Ebenezer United Methodist Church). It will attempt to ascertain whether or not any of the documented escapees who landed in district jails and “holding pens” fled from sites within a fifty to 100 mile radius of the District. It will research what is known of probable routes to, and, landmarks  of people, places and things along the way that could have been used as visual cues.

District of Columbia Arts Center, Past Is Prologue: DC’s Early Murals-

This 2-hour program will explore the beginnings of the contemporary public mural cycle in Washington, DC (1970-85). The event will include projections of a medley of the early murals accompanied by commentary by some of the muralists and administrators involved in the projects. The content draws from four separate traditions that emerged in the District around the same time, appropriately reflecting the city’s multicultural history. The event will be followed by a bus tour that will take the audience to a few of the still remaining very early murals, as well as to some sites where the murals once were but no longer are, and wind up with a pass-by of some of our great classic murals and the newest ones.

Small Grants

Port of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership, Self-Discovery through Facebook, TV, Family Trees, and DNA Tests-

This program will see teenage participants from the Richard England Boys and Girls Clubhouse #14 chatting by Facebook with a group of Gambian Students. Historically, human traffickers enslaved many Senegambians and brought them to America; therefore, many of the Gambian and American participants are probably related. The Americans students will watch PBS’ “Finding Your Roots” and hold a group discussion on the program, participate in hands-on genealogy presentations, and research and begin to document their family trees.

SNCC Legacy Project, Inc, The New School for Afro American Thought 2.0/Black Power Chronicles Curriculum-

This is a “from the ground-up” community-based organizing effort to involve veterans of the Black Power era and contemporary social justice activists in the gathering, documenting and interpreting of the Black Power era of the civil rights movement (1966-80). Washington, D.C. is one of the priority target cities where the BPC program is being established. Our mission is to gather, present and creatively interpret the stories, materials, lessons, ideas and legacy of SNCC and the civil rights movement history and produce public programming, digital educational platforms and new works that will inspire current and future generations of social justice activists.

Bates Area Civic Association, The Triangle Known As Truxton Circle-

Three Truxton Circle residents are researching the history of this neighborhood in Ward 5. They will look at various individuals who have made the neighborhood their home, outside planning commissions who tried to remake the urban fabric, and the former fountain that was at the center of the Circle (where Florida Avenue meets North Capital Street). The ultimate goal of the project is to plan to create an exhibition with portrait etchings, historic maps and an art installation. The project will also generate a written research piece to document the changing nature of this DC neighborhood.

The National Hand Dance Association, Hand Dance: Making Our Own Legacy –

Hand Dance: Making Our Legacy is a panel discussion featuring an engaging discussion on hand dance as it moves into a new generation.  The discussion will feature youth and young adult panelists (ages 12-25) who hand dance to give their expressions and opinions on the hand dance culture, a dance style that has evolved over 60 years but is not a dance of their generation, and what they can do to increase interest their peers in the dance to sustain the dance.

Insight Institute, The Art of Better Policing-

“The Art of Better Policing” is a six-session program that provides police officers with strategies to critically observe, accurately communicate, and support their interpretations with evidence. Through facilitated discussions and exercises, the officers learn skills that directly translate to their day-to-day work on the streets. In a non-judgmental environment, team members will learn to: communicate clearly and concisely; be neutral and transparent in decision making; and work collaboratively with their peers.

Council of Churches of Greater Washington, Historic Ward 7 Churches of Washington, D.C.-

The Project is designed to inform the community about Ward 7, and its historic churches. When one thinks of historic churches one’s mind leaps to Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Capitol Hill or Center City.  This project is designed to find, photograph and write a narrative about Ward 7’s historic churches.  The research will culminate in a monograph and an interpretive video project.