Michigan Humanities News
December 2019
Message from our President
Welcome to the December edition of our e-news! As you will see in this issue, we are moving our home base from 119 Pere Marquette in Lansing to 2364 Woodlake Drive, Suite 100, in Okemos. We are very pleased with what this will bring for our partners. We will now have a training room on site and outside-our-front-door parking. The space will expand significantly without additional cost. We will be right off the I-96 and US-127 corridor for premium access to statewide partners. We can’t wait to host an open house in January––follow our website and social media for updates as we move! On that note, we may have communication issues on December 6–10 as we transition computers, internet, and phone service. Bear with us as we do so. We look forward to being up and running as quickly as we can so we can continue assisting our program and grant partners.

We recently returned from the National Humanities Conference. Five staff members and our Board Chair, Versell Smith, Jr., attended and enjoyed a phenomenal experience with our colleagues from across the nation. Highlights included new program and grant ideas, information on bridging divides, the latest in fiscal updates, strategies for development, and advocacy preparation. Julie Fry of California and I co-led the Executive Directors session. We are also saying farewell and job well done to Esther Mackintosh, who is leaving the Federation of State Humanities Councils after many years of service. 

Versell and I hosted Gloria White Gardner, our former Michigan Humanities Board Member, current Federation Board Member, and tireless advocate for Michigan, as well as Arizona Humanities Executive Director Brenda Thomson for a discussion about diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. We appreciate their valuable insight!

From our Michigan Humanities family to yours, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season, and much success and joy in 2020!

Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki
President & CEO
MH on the move

Michigan Humanities will be moving into our new office space at 2364 Woodlake Drive, Suite 100, Okemos, from Friday, December 6, 2019 through Wednesday, December 11, 2020

Our staff will have limited email and no phone access during the move. We are hopeful that we will be back online and have phone service by Thursday, December 12, 2020. Please watch our social media for updates.

We look forward to working with all of you from our new location!
Important Notice: SAM.gov
Because Michigan Humanities is a federally-funded agency, all organizations requesting grant support are required to have a DUNS number and be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM.gov), a website used by entities doing business with funds from the U.S. government.

Organizations are strongly encouraged to begin the registration process or have an active SAM.gov account prior to submitting their grants application. If awarded a grant, no funds may be distributed to organizations without an active SAM.gov account. The process is free, but time consuming, and it is highly recommended that you begin as soon as possible. 

For more information and instructions on how to register, please visit here  on our website.
See you on the Great Michigan Read Author Tour!

Starting in March, 2020, Dr. Mona will continue making her way throughout Michigan for these spring and summer author events with GMR partners in each community:

March 23-25: Southwest Michigan
  • Benton Harbor
  • Grand Rapids
  • Holland
  • Kalamazoo

April 19-21 & 24: Northwest & Northeast Michigan
  • Benzonia
  • Big Rapids
  • Muskegon
  • Pentwater
  • Alpena
  • One additional location, TBA

August 23-25: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
  • Houghton
  • Marquette
  • Pickford

As dates and venues are finalized for each of the events, we will update our website's GMR events page with details and the final set of September, 2020, tour dates.
Not yet a registered partner?
Libraries, high schools, colleges, book clubs, arts and cultural institutions, and other organizations around the state are invited to register as partners via our online system.

Please visit the Great Michigan Read page on the Michigan Humanities website to sign up.
Supplement your Great Michigan Read community programming with a GMR Action Grant

Great Michigan Read (GMR) Action Grants provide up to $750 to GMR partners in support of their GMR programming. Organizations may receive one GMR Action Grant in the 2019-20 program cycle, which began in September, 2019, and ends September, 2020.  

Eligible expenses include materials, guest speaker fees, food, transportation, venue rental, and other promotional expenses. Funding will be available on a rolling basis until funds are expended.

Apply today!
Visit the Michigan Humanities website to apply for a GMR Action Grant or contact Katie Wittenauer at kwittenauer@mihumanities.org to learn more.
Welcome to our new Poetry Out Loud school partners

We are delighted to have 10 new school partners and 34 returning school partners for 2019-20 Poetry Out Loud.

Welcome to new partners Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine; Coleman Community Junior Senior High School; Evart High School; Harper Woods High School; Jeffers High School; Mio AuSable High School; Oakdale Academy; St. Joseph High School; St. Michael Academy; and University High School Academy. 
Looking for POL updates all year long?
Visit our website and Facebook page Michigan Poetry Out Loud  for poems, program updates, and events taking place around the state.
A peek at Humanities Grant project "Breed & Bootleg"

Geri Alumit Zeldes, Ph.D., professor at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism

“Breed & Bootleg: The History and Future of Rap Music” is an hour-long film about the birth of rap music in the city in the early 1990s, beginning with the late MC Breed, known as the first commercially successful rap artist in the Midwest. “Ain’t No Future in Yo Frontin,’” a song by MC Breed and the DFC (Da Flint Crew), reached the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for more than six months, longer than any other song at the time. Meanwhile, the Dayton Family made up of Ira "Bootleg" Dorsey, Raheen "Shoestring" Peterson and Matt "Backstabba" Hinkle, started climbing the charts with their gangsta-genre lyrics.
The film begins and ends with a Talent Show in Flint and in the middle traces the roots of hip hop back to talent shows held in high schools throughout the city. The Golden Age of rap music in Flint was the early 1990s, but the film shows that like the city of Flint that is going through a rejuvenation, music grows and Flint remains a font of rap music.

Another theme of the film is the friendship between Breed and Bootleg and the health issues each have suffered. They collaborated and remained close until Breed’s death in Ypsilanti on November 22, 2008 when he died of kidney failure. MC Breed was only 37. In 2013, Bootleg had a heart attack, which led to a heart transplant months later. He is also on kidney dialysis three times a week, something Breed had refused. 

When a rough cut was screened in early October to the family of MC Breed and Ira “Bootleg” Dorsey, one suggestion gained traction in the audience: Interviewing famous rap artists who MC Breed influenced. During the week of November 18, 2019, an impressive list of legends in the industry we've interviewed in LA for use in the documentary. The plan is to have the film available in spring 2020.

For more information please email alumitge@msu.edu.
Submit your Humanities Grant draft proposal today!

Spring 2020 Humanities Grant draft proposals are currently being accepted with a final application deadline of March 19, 2020.

Visit michiganhumanities.org for additional information. 
Crossroads Reflections from Decatur

Kay McAdam, Van Buren District Library Adult Ed & Community Relations Coordinator and Amy Druskovich, Van Buren District Library Local History Librarian 

What most interested you about the Crossroads exhibit that made you want to bring it to Decatur?

Kay: (1) It’s the Smithsonian! (2) Decatur is easily accessible to communities north of us via I-94 and to the south via M-51 and Decatur Rd, and (3) For those of us who were born, grew up and continue to live in southwest Michigan, it was a great opportunity to celebrate our rural and agricultural past, present and future.

Amy: We thought it was important that young people realize how things in rural life have changed, and will continue to do so. We also hope it would instill a sense of pride of where they come from.

What unique pieces about Decatur have visitors learned in your Crossroads exhibit?

Kay: One thing I didn’t know was that, at one time, Decatur had a stockyard. (I grew up on a farm south of Marcellus, which is 13 miles southeast of Decatur. Marcellus didn’t have a stockyard!)

Amy: School kids were amazed that there was once a movie theatre in Decatur.
What unexpected takeaways have visitors shared about Crossroads?

Kay: Depends on the age! I guided my 90-year-old mother through the exhibit and it prompted a lot of recall, especially of The New Deal, TVA, and art. She really enjoyed looking at the recipes in the cookbook displayed in the Main Street Section. 

One thing that really surprises them is the size and scope. Pictures do not do the exhibit justice. Watching visitors’ reactions when they walk in the front door and are greeted by the introduction section is fun to see. The faux brick columns really are stunning and stop visitors in their tracks! (Which is good since we have a guest book right next to it!)

Amy: I talked with a visitor who is also a Lineman. He really enjoyed learning how electricity was brought to rural areas.
What has been the best part about hosting the Crossroads exhibit in Decatur?

Kay: People. Watching visitors take their time to read all the panels and ponder. The school kids! The second graders knew the difference between rural, suburban, and urban. The fifth graders did not (or they didn’t remember). Overhearing the Van Buren County Conservation District staff exclaim that they need to develop a similar, more localized exhibit. Hearing the Paw Paw District Library staff say they have enough room to host a similar exhibit.
The pre-meeting and installation workshop. Working with James, Dr. Henthorn, Dr. Debra Reid, and Terri Cobb. Dr. Reid very graciously attended our kick-off event and helped us by giving tremendous background on how the exhibit came to be and participating in the ribbon-cutting. Staff from other host sites. We are now best buds with Anne Marie and Judy from Pickford Community Library. Getting to visit beautiful Dundee and the Old Mill Museum. 

Knowing we are now part of Museum on Main Street!

Amy: Hearing people say how lucky Decatur is to be able to host such an informative exhibit
Crossroads is coming to Grayling!
Visit the Deveraux Memorial Crawford County Library , starting December 12, 2019 through January 25, 2020, to see Crossroads: Change in Rural America on display, or visit our website to see when it will be in a community near you.
Jump-start your programming with an Action Grant

Is your organization looking for a way to jump-start programming? Do you have an exhibit that you need funding for? Maybe you are interested in having an author come and speak to your community! 

Action Grants allow Michigan Humanities to provide a responsive line of funding for nonprofit organizations in Michigan to bring public humanities programming to their communities. If you have an idea, or are wondering if an Action Grant is right for your organization, you are invited to contact Jennifer Rupp, Director of State and Federal Grants, to discuss your project in more detail. Learn more about Action Grants.

Here are some upcoming events around the state funded by a Michigan Humanities Action Grant:

  • January 15, 2020, American Citizens for Justice/Asian American Center for Justice, Southfield: Join us for a free lecture on Asian American history and heroes by writer and activist, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang. Learn more about this event.
  • January 16, 2020, Holland Museum, Holland: Us versus Them: Understanding Images of Separation with Dr. David Pilgrim. Learn more about this event.
Submit your Michigan Humanities-funded event to our online calendar

The Michigan Humanities website now has an event calendar! You can now see events Michigan Humanities is hosting, including grant workshops, Museum on Main Street exhibition locations, grant and program application windows, and more.

Michigan Humanities partners are invited to submit their events to the calendar. If you have an event being funded by MH, we would love to help you spread the word about your project to the public.

Support our work!

We need your help to create, fund, and support the dynamic programs we present each year throughout the vast geography of our state.

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