Jamil Zainaldin, president of the Georgia Humanities Council, is a wonderful storyteller who will share tales of our state’s past and connect them to our present.

World War I changed Georgia

This week, TOM JACKSON, Georgia World War I Centennial Commission, and LAURA MCCARTY, of Georgia Humanities, examine the changes World War I brought to Georgia and efforts across the state to commemorate the war.

By Tom Jackson and Laura McCarty

Those of a certain age – early Baby Boomers – grew up through the centennial of the War Between the States and were regaled with stories of Georgia’s role in it. Our parents were of “the Greatest Generation” who fought World War II, so we were well familiar with those stories as well. But when we note that April 6 this year marks the centennial of the United States’ entry into the “Great War,” some actually have to pause to think what war that might be.

Literature at lunchtime and lost southern authors are on the menu this week for Atlanta readers

This week, PEARL MCHANEY, of Georgia State University, shares opportunities in Atlanta to step outside of the ordinary and into a good book.

By Pearl McHaney

Reading can be a private affair, but it can also be a significant factor in community engagement. The Southern Writers Onstage series, a happy collaboration of Georgia State University’s Center for Collaborative and International Arts and the Department of English, Theatrical Outfit, and Georgia Humanities, enlivens stories through performance. For one hour, young students, seniors from a community center in Fairburn, a few businesspeople, book clubbers, my neighbors from Decatur, actors and theater aficionados, a church pastor, one or two professors from Georgia State, a Healey Building resident, people seeking respite from their work — a heterogeneous group — gather in the Balzer Theater at Herren’s on Luckie Street, a storied place itself as the first downtown restaurant to integrate its tables. When one walks through the doors into the theater, views the lone podium on the stage transformed for a production by Theatrical Outfit, and sits, the crush of politics, decision making, and the business of daily work is replaced by a gentle hush.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is at work in Georgia

By Jamil Zainaldin

Last Thursday the White House released a budget that proposed the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). You may not be immediately familiar with its work, which grounds itself in disciplines that explore how people understand and express the human condition, such as history, literature, art, music, language, philosophy, and ethics, but you’ve felt its impact here in Georgia.

How propaganda changes the way people think

This week, ANNETTE LAING, public historian and author, examines the use and impact of propaganda during World War I.

By Annette Laing

Propaganda as we know it today was an invention of World War I. No previous war had ever required such a massive level of justification and suspension of disbelief. After war ignited in Europe in the summer of 1914, the corpses of young men piled up at a staggering rate. In a horrific meeting of barbed wire, mud, trenches, shells, machine guns, romanticized ideas of warfare, and fragile human bodies, the conflict required massive mobilization not only of troops but of public opinion.

Photographer Carolyn McKenzie Carter had her finger on the pulse of a changing Georgia

This week, LAURA MCCARTY, of Georgia Humanities, introduces Carolyn McKenzie Carter, whose work as a photographer, journalist, and tourism consultant whose work will be honored this week by Georgia Women of Achievement.

By Laura McCarty

The mid-twentieth century was a time of many profound changes in American society, many of them thanks to World War II. Women especially saw new opportunities. In Georgia many women, such as those who built airplanes at Bell Bomber, followed the example of “Rosie the Riveter” and joined the workforce in support of the war effort. As a photographer, journalist, and tourism consultant, Carolyn McKenzie Carter captured these changes, even as she participated in them as a professional woman.

The Chillon Project: bringing higher education to Georgia’s correctional facilities

This week, BRENDAN OZAWA-DE SILVA, of Life University shares Life University’s Chillon Project, which brings higher education to correctional facilities in Georgia.

By Brendan Ozawa-de Silva

As most of us know, the United States incarcerates more people than any other in the world, including China. Too often, incarcerated persons are viewed as having nothing to offer society, especially those serving long sentences or sentenced to life imprisonment. The Chillon Project shows that this isn’t true, that education is something that can benefit all — no matter who or where — and that the effects of that education can spread out in unexpected ways.

World War I, influenza, and stories of heartache

In this column, members of Georgia Humanities and their colleagues take turns discussing Georgia’s history and culture, and other topics that matter. Through different voices, we hear different stories.

This week, Allison Hutton, of Georgia Humanities, reflects on the “Spanish flu” of 1918-1919 and how it has been used to tell stories of wartime heartache.

The voice of the individual

This week, PEARL MCHANEY, of Georgia State University, encourages readers to listen for the voice of truth in the arts and humanities.

By Pearl McHaney

At the height of the Cold War, 1954, American fiction writer Eudora Welty found herself in Cambridge, England, speaking at an American Studies conference:

Mutual understanding in the world being nearly always, as now, at low ebb, it is comforting to remember that it is through art that one country can nearly always speak reliably to another, if the other can hear at all. Art, though, is never the voice of a country; it is an even more precious thing, the voice of the individual, doing its best to speak, not comfort of any sort, indeed, but truth.

Rich’s and the 1960 presidential election

This week, JEREMY KATZ, of the Breman Museum, recounts the role of Rich’s Department Store in the civil rights movement and its impact on the 1960 presidential election.

By Jeremy Katz

On February 22nd and February 26th, the Breman Museum will lead a Civil Rights Trolley Tour to several sites throughout downtown Atlanta related to Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement. One of the stops is outside the location of the former Rich’s Department Store where the famous clock is still affixed to what is now a federal building on the corner of Alabama and Broad Street. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Rich’s represents the quintessential shopping experience of 20th-century Atlanta.

Jeff Clemmons, an expert on the history of Rich’s who will be leading one of the tours, places recognizes the store’s significance in leveling the nation’s history. In his book, Rich’s: A Southern Institution, Clemmons asserts that John F. Kennedy would not have won the 1960 election against Richard Nixon if it were not for a sit-in held at Rich’s flagship downtown store.

Racial equity in the arts

This week, on the 115th anniversary of Langston Hughes’s birth, STANLEY ROMANSTEIN, of Georgia State University, reflects on the need for racial equity in the arts.

By Stanley Romanstein

Ninety years have passed since the poet Langston Hughes gave voice to the hope for a more inclusive and equitable America. Nine full decades, but for many people of color looking for a place at the table in America’s arts communities, “tomorrow” has yet to arrive.

Stories from near and far at the 2017 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

In this column, members of Georgia Humanities and their colleagues take turns discussing Georgia’s history and culture, and other topics that matter. Through different voices, we hear different stories.

This week, BOB BAHR, of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, reveals the films that will entertain, educate, and challenge viewers in 2017.

When an influential group of Jewish community leaders first came together to begin planning an ambitious new film festival nearly two decades ago, they weren’t quite sure what to call it. Eventually they settled on a simple, straightforward title that seemed to best describe their project: the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

Only 1,900 tickets were sold in 2000, the first year, but in the intervening years their new project grew to become one of the largest events of its kind in the world.

This year organizers hope to sell around 40,000 tickets from January 24 to February 15 and hope to settle in as the world’s largest Jewish film festival. It’s an extraordinary event that lists 75 films with 202 screenings at seven Atlanta-area theaters.

Georgia’s rural churches – historic treasures or relics of the past?

This week, SONNY SEALS, author of Historic Rural Churches of Georgia, a co-publication of Georgia Humanities and the University of Georgia Press, discusses his efforts to save Georgia’s rural churches.

By Sonny Seals

Georgia is blessed with hundreds of rural churches that represent a unique way to look at 18th and 19th century Georgia history. Indeed, they tell the story of a time when virtually all of Georgia was rural — the story of where we came from, how we got here and who we are.

What makes an athlete great: talent, training, chance?

This week, ALLISON HUTTON, program coordinator at Georgia Humanities, examines the stories of Georgia athletes as she ponders what makes an athlete great. This is part six in a series of sports stories in association with Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, a traveling Smithsonian exhibition sponsored by Georgia Humanities.

By Allison Hutton

Last summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro captured the public’s attention and imagination with stories like those of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, the “final five,” who easily clinched the all-around gold medal. Gymnastics is a sport dominated by the young, which makes the years of intense training required to reach the sport’s upper echelon all the more remarkable. The countless hours spent learning and practicing have something to do with Olympic achievement, but athletes’ stories often reveal a moment early in an athlete’s career when he or she is at the right place at the right time and a coach or expert identifies an innate talent. A child prodigy is born.

Sharing and saving family stories

This week, VAISHALI and AISHVARYA PRAHALAD encourage families to share their stories with each other through GrandStories, a book created to make that process a fun and easy one.

By Vaishali and Aishvarya Prahalad

Our parents once sent us to the library to check out books on Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. Instead, we came home with an epiphany.

We wondered, “Why should only famous people have their own biographies?” We personally know more about Taylor Swift and Albert Einstein than our grandfather. We realized that there should be an easy way for ordinary, everyday heroes to easily compose their own biographies, so we wrote down a list of questions and interviewed our grandparents who live in India. It was amazing how much we learned about them.

Traditions of health, wellness, and athletics develop Spelman students’ minds, bodies, and souls

This summer we shared the story of Marian Armstrong-Perkins and the young athletes she coached to Olympic victory in the 1950s and 60s. These women are part of a longer tradition of African American women’s participation in organized athletics in Atlanta. This week, HOLLY SMITH, of Spelman College, introduces Spelman’s rich history of athletics and wellness programs, spanning a century and beyond.

As with many archival treasures, the discovery of the photo happened serendipitously. Anika, a Spelman Archives student assistant, was sorting loose materials when she came across an image of 13 Spelmanites posing with a basketball. Each young woman was identified on the front of the image, and it was noted they were attending a sports rally in 1915. Kassandra Ware, the archives assistant, posted the image on the archives Facebook page, and we subsequently received a record number of “likes.”

The common roots of philanthropy and democracy

“Philanthropy” is a familiar word in the English language. It has roots in ancient Greek and means “love of mankind.”

Philanthropy is not quite the same thing as the more traditional “charity,” which is a commandment of all the world’s great religions to care for the poor and disadvantaged.

Philanthropy, as the ancient Greeks understood it, was “love of humanity.” It was not a duty to the less fortunate as charity is. It was for the benefit of the public as a whole — all the people.