The Federation of State Humanities Councils (FSHC) with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $34,793 to the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) for “Split Press: Democracy, Race, and Media Outlets in Black and White,” the second LEH project funded under the FSHC’s Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative.
Split Press will use engaging scholarship to explore the relationship between the media and African American/Afro Creole experiences of citizenship and civil rights in Louisiana between the early 19th century and the mid-20th century. Building on the success of “Democracy and Media,” the first LEH project funded as part of the FSHC’s Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative, the LEH will produce a four-part multimedia series and public forum exploring the role of the press as related to the experiences of people of African descent in Louisiana history.
Through articles in the award-winning 64 Parishes magazine and accompanying radio broadcasts/podcasts produced by WWNO New Orleans and WRKF Baton Rouge, this project will examine four watershed moments when journalism and the public sphere played a key role in shaping what it meant to be both of African descent and a participant in a democracy that was not always willing—and was sometimes violently opposed—to recognizing people of color as citizens. The series will culminate in 2021 with a public forum exploring how these historic moments relate to our current polarized media environment.
The project’s goal is to foster a deeper public understanding of the historic—and ongoing—relationship between democracy, the press, and an informed citizenry.