Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 18th edition of #HumanitiesInContext with news of the Council’s grants, initiatives, and events as well as curated humanities content that is a springboard for reflection, learning, and action. Read on for stories of impact, humanities in action, and humanities happenings in Rhode Island. 

We will also be sharing some of our favorite stories and resources on the Council’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @rihumanities. 
All my best,
Elizabeth Francis
Executive Director
and the Humanities Council Team
Your support helps ensure that all Rhode Islanders have access to and engage with the humanities, now, and in the future. Visit or if you’d like to learn more contact Rachael Jeffers at
Stories of Impact:

The Council is excited to announce $40,000 in grants through the XIX: Shall Not Be Denied: Why It Matters Initiative on democratic participation, elections, and voting. Supported projects serve communities facing historic and current barriers to democratic participation including refugee & immigrant, youth, African American, trans & gender-diverse, and homeless & housing insecure populations. Why It Matters is also supporting a traveling exhibit "Votes for Women—Inspiring Change." Learn more about each of the projects at: 

XIX: Shall Not Be Denied: Why It Matters is part of the nationwide "Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation" initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Click here for more details about Why It Matters activities across the country, from North Dakota to Hawai’i, that you can engage with from the safety of home. 

With support from a Humanities Council grant, Trinity Rep has adapted its groundbreaking America Too initiative for a virtual experience this year, co-produced with the Providence Public Library. “This 5-part online series combines theater, music, and art with stories from our community and seeks to catalyze community dialogue around the many challenges and potential opportunities of this particular moment….” Each free, hour long episode is hosted by Michelle Cruz, Christina Bevilacqua, and Joe Wilson, Jr. Bevilacqua received the Humanities Councils' 2013 Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities and Wilson received the 2019 Public Humanities Scholar Award. Don’t miss upcoming episodes: February 25, March 25, April 22, and May 27. Click here for more information and to register. 
Humanities in Action: a curated list of humanities resources for reflection, learning, and action.
To Read:
Humanities and Democracy—Op-Ed from Six New England Humanities Council Directors

The executive directors of the six New England humanities councils called for increased funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities in a piece published in the Providence Journal, the CT Post, and the VT Digger last week. Here in Rhode Island, we extend our sincere thanks to Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Langevin, and Congressman Cicilline for their steadfast support of the National Endowment for the Humanities as an investment in rebuilding our democracy. Read the piece in the Providence Journal here
To Watch:

Historian Daina Ramey Berry appeared on PBS NewsHour to discuss the need to understand the past in order to live a better future. “It is so important that we know our history, that we teach all aspects of history–even the tough parts, the subjects that make us uncomfortable, the subjects that make us feel ashamed about our nation–that’s when we’re in a place where we can move forward and grow….” Click here to watch.

Daina Ramey Berry, PhD, is chair of the history department at the University of Texas at Austin. Her latest book is A Black Women’s History of the United States.
To Listen:

In this episode of the Rhody Radio podcast Tom Shaker, PhD, hosts an exploration of Providence’s legendary Celebrity Club –speaking with locals who remember catching the famous jazz and R&B musicians who played there including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Fats Domino and more. Listen here
The Rhody Radio podcast was supported by a Humanities in the Age of Social Distancing CARES Act grant from the Council. 

Rhode Tour connection: Learn more about Rhode Island’s Black Heritage through this Rhode Tour which includes recordings from performances at the Celebrity Club.
#HumanitiesHappenings: Upcoming Events & Opportunities
Please check out the Council’s calendar for more details. The events we’ve highlighted below are just a few of the many offerings by Council grantees and partners.
TONIGHT - February 9: Stamped: In Conversation

Join the RI Center for the Book for the second of a three-part Stamped: Evenings for Educators and Community Series. This session will center teachers and students sharing stories, insights, and resources related to their experiences reading STAMPED with presentations by Diversity Talks and the Equity Institute. Click here to register.

Learn more about this series here

The Humanities Council is a proud sponsor of the 2021 Reading Across Rhode Island season.

Join Bill Harley as he celebrates the release of his new adult recording, “Walking Each Other Home," featuring a selection of songs from the new recording, along with some of his favorite songs and stories from a lifetime of work. Joining Harley will be his sons, Noah and Dylan, who also are songwriters and musicians. Purchase of the ticket gets you a free download of the new recording. Click here for registration details.

Join The International Tennis Hall of Fame and guest speakers Robert Cvornyek, former chair of the History Department at Rhode Island College, and Keith Stokes, Vice President of the 1696 Heritage Group, for a presentation on the Old Hometown Tennis and Athletic Club, which was established in Newport in 1927 by leaders associated with all four African heritage churches, the Newport NAACP, and other civic associations. The Black tennis club hosted tournaments on backyard tennis courts as part of a broader strategy to instill “social uplift and physical culture” among the young in Newport. Learn more about the speakers and register here
This series is supported by a Humanities Council grant.
XIX: Shall Not Be Denied is a partnership initiative of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the Rhode Island Department of State. Due to the pandemic, Shall Not Be Denied will continue amplifying Rhode Island centennial events through March 2021 via the website and on Instagram @xixshallnotbedenied.
This list will be added to as the Humanities Council is made aware of resources available to the sector as we weather this storm together. Check back often.