Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 20th 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 FY2020 report of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities documents a historic year. The public health and economic crisis wrought by the global pandemic compelled the Council to find new ways to inspire and connect Rhode Islanders through the humanities. The national and local movement for racial justice sharpened the Council’s commitment to mobilizing humanities practices to interrogate history, engage in difficult dialogues, and to connect to the urgency of change.

Click here to read more about the Council’s 94 regular and relief grants, the inspiring ways grantees adapted their programs to meet the challenges of the moment, and the Council’s ongoing partnerships and initiatives that continue to strengthen civic engagement through the humanities. 
In Conversation with Sophia Mackenzie and Melissa Wong

In February 2021, the Humanities Council welcomed Sophia Mackenzie as our new Associate Director of Development and Melissa Wong as our new Grantmaking Program Coordinator. While we hope to gather in person again later this year, you can get to know Sophia and Melissa and learn more about what drew them to join the Council’s team in their interviews.

The Humanities Council has additional funding available for Humanities in the Age of Social Distancing project grants. The deadline for this new round is April 1. Click here for application and eligibility details. Applications must be submitted through the Council’s grants portal by April 1, 2021 at 5:00 pm EST.

Click here to read descriptions of the 16 pandemic-responsive Humanities in the Age of Social Distancing Project Grants awarded in 2020 across Rhode Island.
Humanities in Action: a curated list of humanities resources for reflection, learning, and action.
To Read:
Image: Chosen for the 2021 inauguration, this 1859 painting by the
African American artist Robert Duncanson depicts the promise of America.
(Smithsonian American Art Museum)

“Will we embrace the principles of justice, equality and liberty? History teaches us democracy is only as strong as our continued resolve to fight for it. We cannot wait for the moral arc of the universe to bend toward justice: We must work to bend it ourselves.”

This letter from Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III in the most recent issue of Smithsonian Magazine spotlights the role history plays in times of crisis. 
To Watch:

This Friday, March 12th at 7:30 pm EST, tune into the Mixed Magic Theatre YouTube channel for the first of a three-part Civic Engagement Series supported by the Council’s XIX: Shall Not Be Denied: Why It Matters initiative. We, They, and The People explores and dramatizes Supreme Court cases that have had a significant impact on the lives of all Americans, especially Black citizens. 

The first in the series examines the 2013 Shelby vs. Holder ruling and its impact on the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Bill. Using dramatic presentations of opinions of Chief Justice John Roberts’ and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, moderator Ricardo Pitts-Wiley and special guest Abu Bakr will delve into the history of voting rights in America and why exercising one's right to vote matters today more than ever. Reading from the court opinions will be presented by acclaimed actor Melanie Stone and actor and scholar Robin Stone.
This project is supported by the XIX: Shall Not Be Denied: Why It Matters initiative of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, 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. To learn more visit
To Listen:

As part of a Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program Intercultural Collaboration Seed Grant, Teatro ECAS, Rhode Island’s only Spanish language theatre, and the Korean American Association of Rhode Island partnered to showcase the ways their cultures continue to thrive and contribute to community building. You can watch/listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of this virtual exchange series via YouTube. 
#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.

The week of March 8 - 12, New England museums will advocate for the value of cultural institutions in our civic life through a series of virtual events featuring each state. Rhode Island based museums and museum-lovers can join in a free advocacy training event on March 10th from 9:30 - 10:30 am EST hosted by the New England Museum Association. Click here to register.

The Humanities Council is a proud sponsor of New England Museum Week.
March 12: Bill Harley’s Livestream Performance Series — Brothers and Sisters

Join acclaimed storyteller Bill Harley for the third of a four-part series of live-streamed performances. Harley is a two-time Grammy winner and recipient of the Humanities Council’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities Award. Tickets are available here

Join Slater Memorial Museum for a digital program on Slatersville, the first mill village in America. Presented by Christian de Rezendes, the documentary series chronicles the racial and economic impact of the Industrial Revolution in New England. Free and open to the public. Registration required.

Join Reading Across Rhode Island for a live virtual event with author Jason Reynolds, co-author of the acclaimed Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You with Ibram X. Kendi. Free and open to the public. Registration required.

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

Rhode Island PBS has put out a request for proposals from independent producers to create 3 to 5-minute short films that respond to the global pandemic. Click here for details about eligibility, submission criteria, and timeline.
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.