Reading and Discussion Programs
LEH’s popular reading and discussion series, Currents, which includes “Who Gets to Vote? Conversations on Voting Rights in America,” and “Witness to Change: Conversations on Coastal Impacts,” returns with six grants to host the series available to Louisiana public libraries and community partners. Participants will engage in discussions led by scholar facilitators who encourage critical thinking about the subjects discussed. Host sites will select one of the below themes.
Learn more below.
Who Gets to Vote?
“Who Gets to Vote? ? Conversations on Voting Rights in America” is intended to engage members of the general public in conversations on the history of voting—and efforts to suppress the vote—in the United States. Sessions are intended to spark dialogue around issues and themes supported by the texts, including but not limited to:
- the expansion of voting rights since the country’s founding
- the electoral process
- the women’s suffrage movement
- historic and contemporary voter suppression practices
- the Voting Rights Act of 1965
- the 2013 Supreme Court decision that invalidated key portions of the Voting Rights Act
- the disenfranchisement of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Americans.
Witness to Change
“Witness to Change: Conversations on Coastal Impacts” incorporates history, memoir, and fiction and is intended to engage members of the general public in conversations on the beauty of and challenges faced by coastal communities. Sessions are intended to spark dialogue around issues and themes supported by the texts, including but not limited to:
- what makes a place a home
- experiences of flooding
- family roots and connection to place
- land loss and dislocation
- scarcity and adaptation
- risk and relocation
Site Selection, Program Details, and Books
The LEH’s Division of Public Programs staff will choose six geographically diverse sites to participate in the program. Each site will choose four books in the series and host four discussion programs. A $2,400 subaward from the LEH will cover site coordination, facilitator honoraria, book purchases, and program publicity.
Books included in “Who Gets to Vote” are (sites will select four of the six titles available):
- Allan J. Lichtman, The Embattled Vote in America: From the Founding to the Present. Harvard University Press, 2018.
- Elaine Weiss, The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote. Viking, 2018.
- Martha S. Jones, Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All. Basic Books, 2020.
- Gary May, Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy. Basic Books, 2013.
- Carol Anderson, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy. Bloomsbury, 2018.
- Desmond Meade, Let My People Vote: My Battle to Restore the Civil Rights of Returning Citizens. Beacon Press, 2020.
Books included in “Witness to Change” are:
- Elizabeth Rush, Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore. Milkweed Editions, 2018.
- Paolo Bacigalupi, The Water Knife. Penguin Random House, 2015.
- Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones. Bloomsbury, 2011.
- Mike Tidwell, Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast. Vintage Books, 2010.
Using reading and discussion guides developed by humanities scholars and targeting up to 20 participants per session, communities will engage in thoughtful dialogue around book themes and consider the intersections between history and the present. All sessions will be facilitated by humanities scholars.
The application to host a Currents program is now Interested host sites will have through October 14, 2022, to submit their application through Foundant, the LEH’s online grants management system. Programs will take place January through April and must be completed by April 30, 2023. To preview the application click here.
Contact LEH Public Programs Coordinator Clare Shelburne at [email protected] or 504-356-0509 for more information.
Funding for 2022–23 Currents programs is made possible by the State of Louisiana.
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