Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle
A special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities
Free film sets and grants to develop public programming in your community
Application receipt EXTENDED deadline: May 15, 2013
NEW Notification Date: June 7, 2013
Grant term: September 1, 2013–August 31, 2016
To mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the National Endowment for the Humanities has developed a special project as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative: Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle. Up to 500 communities across the nation will receive a packaged set of NEH-funded films on Civil Rights history, accompanied by programming resources to guide public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in U.S. history.
NOTE: Each participating site will receive an award of up to $1,200 to support public programming exploring the themes of the Created Equal project. The films featured in the set are The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, The Loving Story, and Freedom Riders.
Applications are open to museums and historical societies; humanities councils; public, academic, and community college libraries; and nonprofit community organizations.
The Created Equal film set was developed through a partnership of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Connecting the stories of America’s long civil rights struggle: a conversation with James Leach and Earl Lewis.
As part of the Endowment’s Bridging Cultures initiative, “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” will encourage communities across the country to revisit the history of civil rights in the U.S. and to reflect on the ideals of freedom and equality that have helped bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American life. Scheduled to launch in 2013 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this program will offer a packaged set of NEH-funded films on Civil Rights history to up to 500 communities across the nation over three years (from 2013 to 2016). Four powerful documentary films (The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders and The Loving Story) will be accompanied by in-depth programming resources to help guide productive community discussions.
Deeply grounded in humanities scholarship, these films tell a remarkable story–about the importance of race in the making of American democracy, about the power of individuals to effect change, and about the historical contexts in which Americans have understood and struggled with ideas of freedom, equality, and citizenship.
The documentaries address events from the 1800s through 1965 and several themes resonate among these films: the search for equal rights as defined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the roles of individuals and grassroots groups in bringing about a more just society, and the evolving understanding of democracy and freedom in the history of the United States. The films include:
Selected libraries, museums, historical societies, and other nonprofit cultural organizations will receive:
- A boxed set of four NEH-funded films, on DVD, for public programming and library use.
- A grant of up to $1,200 to support public conversations and programming around the project themes.
- A robust site-support notebook both in print and online, with tools for planning public conversations about the themes in the films; a guide for each film annotated to identify short clips for programming use.
- Access to the Created Equal website hosted by the NEH.
- Programming support throughout the grant period.
- An orientation webinar for site coordinators and scholars/facilitators. Participants will engage with a scholar and learn about interpretive materials, public relations, and logistics.
Libraries, museums, historical societies, and other nonprofit cultural organizations chosen for the film set are expected to:
- develop at least three public film-screening and discussion events focusing on themes in the films. Public programs related to the film set should include participation by humanities scholars.
- offer these programs free-of-charge and open to the public.
- provide required reports, including a final report, to the Gilder Lehrman Institute by the set deadlines.
- appoint one staff member as the site coordinator. The coordinator is required to participate in the orientation webinar.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute will recommend 500 libraries and sites to the NEH for participation in Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle based on the following criteria:
- Excellent ideas and plans for public conversations in conjunction with film screenings. Suggestions for programs led by a qualified speaker on humanities themes. Applications from institutions previously selected for NEH projects have included an average of five or more programs.
- Location of the sites. The selection committee would like the film set to visit all regions of the country.
- Size and demographics of the community. The selection committee seeks a mix of different community sizes and varied demographics.
- Evidence of the site’s ability to reach target audiences and successfully implement the proposed events. Examples demonstrating previous success with public programming are helpful.
- Site director’s commitment to dedicate the necessary time and resources to develop and implement the proposed events.
Eligibility: Any U.S. nonprofit organization with IRS tax-exempt status is eligible, as are state and local governmental agencies and federally recognized Indian tribal governments. Eligible institutions include but are not limited to public and academic libraries; museums; historical societies; cultural institutions; and state humanities councils. Individuals are not eligible to apply. NEH generally does not award grants to other federal entities or to applicants whose projects are so closely intertwined with a federal entity that the project takes on characteristics of the federal entity’s own authorized activities. This does not preclude applicants from using grant funds from, or sites and materials controlled by, other federal entities in their projects. Click here to apply now.