New York, NYFebruary 1, 2008
A new nonprofit — Voices of a People’s History of the United States — has been launched and awarded a $50,000 challenge grant from the Lannan Foundation! (http://www.lannan.org/).
After three and a half years touring the country with dramatic readings and special performances from the book Voices of a People’s History of the United States, we’ve launched a new non-profit organization of the same name to carry on the work in a systematic way and to raise funds to bring this inspiring work to every school, town hall, community theater, and public space in the country.
Howard Zinn is on the board of directors of Voices of a People’s History of the United States and there’s a Teachers Advisory Board of public high school and college teachers to help guide the programs. Other advisory board members include civil rights leader Julian Bond and artists such as writers John Berger and Arundhati Roy, film directors Paul Haggis and John Sayles, actors Mark Ruffalo and Marisa Tomei, and South African poet Dennis Brutus.
Any donation to Voices is tax-deductible and will be matched one to one by a generous donor who has given us our first challenge grant.
We are also looking for in-kind donations and pro bono support in launching our web site and creating an infrastructure for the organization. Laptops anyone? Low-rent office space in New York? Top flight graphic design or web hosting? Let us know!
The goal of Voices of a People’s History of the United States is to encourage civic engagement and to further history education by bringing the rich stories of dissent and activism in the United States to life through public readings of primary-source materials — letters, poems, speeches, songs, courtroom arguments.
Voices seeks to make known the great range of voices from U.S. history, including those of women, African Americans, immigrants, and laborers, and in doing so, to educate contemporary audiences about the role of ordinary citizens in shaping our nation’s story. Voices works to remind people of the eloquence of ordinary people, as well as extraordinary and well-known figures from our history.
By involving celebrated actors and public figures in readings, we hope to inspire audiences to delve more deeply into historical texts and also to see history as a lively, relevant, and contemporary subject, not just a matter of books sitting on the library shelf.
But rather than rely on professional actors alone, Voices also arranges for readings combining actors with students and activists to engage at all levels of the dramatic and educational process, from selecting texts, to interpreting them, to adding new voices to the performances.
In doing all of this, Voices hopes to help develop a truly participatory citizenry.
Checks can be made payable to “Voices of a People’s History of the United States” or “VPHUS” and sent to:
Voices of a People’s History of the United States
130 West 25th Street
New York NY 10001-7472
Inquiries about Voices can be mailed to the address above, or e-mailed to peopleshistory [[at]] mac [[dot]] com.