Take a look at every way the Alabama Humanities Foundation helped our state this year + what’s in store for 2020!


The Alabama Humanities Foundation award scholarships to five educators.
The 2019 recipients of Jenice Riley Scholarships: Amber Broadhead, Kim Hinds, Victoria Adams, Deborah Southall and Misty Turner. Photo via Alabama Humanities Foundation.

With Alabama’s Bicentennial landing in 2019, it got me thinking about all the amazing ways Birmingham—and Alabama as a whole—grew over the past 200 years. It’s hard to find someone who invests in our state like the Alabama Humanities Foundation. The organization is touching people in every county—including yours!

Don’t believe me? Buckle up and see for yourself at all the good they’ve done for Alabama this year alone!

Six programs shaped countless people’s lives.

Students participate in Alabama History Day.
Have you ever seen children so excited to learn about history? That’s just one feat accomplished by the Alabama Humanities Foundation on Alabama History Day. Photo via the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

The following programs by the Alabama Humanities Foundation help the teachers who educate your children provide deeper insight into subjects that directly impact us and bring our community together.

 1. Prime Time

Prime Time bonded families together through reading and emphasized the importance of libraries. It also gave resources to parents to help with homework and obtain their GED.

In 2019, the program registered 325 families. In addition, it also distributed over 3,500 books. That’s a lot of positivity for our state’s families!

Who is Prime Time partnering with in 2020?

  • Athens-Limestone Public Library—Athens, AL
  • Auburn Public Library—Auburn, AL
  • Avondale Elementary School—Birmingham, AL
  • Birmingham Public Library/ 5 Points West—Birmingham, AL
  • Birmingham Public Library, Inglenook Branch—Birmingham, AL
  • Coosada Elementary School—Millbrook, AL
  • Florence-Limestone Public Library—Florence, AL
  • JCCEO Head Start Program—Birmingham, AL
  • Tuscaloosa Public Library Weaver Bolden Branch—Tuscaloosa, AL

2. SUPER Teacher Workshops

This year featured 8 workshops that boosted 150 educators’ confidence by allowing them to explore multidisciplinary approaches to the humanities at zero cost.

What else did it include this year?

  •  700 professional development credit hours affecting the instruction of humanities-based subjects
  •  20 school systems
  • 20 counties
  • Over 7,000 students

3. Alabama History Day

Alabama History Day showed students the magic behind history. It gave them the tools to use their creativity to become writers, filmmakers, web designers and more so they could create contemporary expressions of history. 

 What we can expect to continue in 2020:

  • Increased participation—more students and more schools!
  • Alabama History Day (AHD) training and curriculum assistance during free summer workshops in Montgomery, Huntsville, Birmingham, Livingston, and Mobile.

4. Road Scholars

This initiative by the Alabama Humanities Foundation opens up the eyes of our community to different ideas and points of view. Public presentations were given on a variety of humanities topics such as Civil Rights and women’s studies.

5. Literature and the Veteran Experience

This program gives veterans a chance to gather to read and discuss texts that relate to the military experience. A humanities scholar—who is also a veteran—leads the group.

Its new partnership with the Alabama Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped was very successful. In 2020, we can expect to see the partnership serve that special population of veterans in the Montgomery area.  

2019 Literature and Veteran’s programs: 

  • Montgomery, AL Public Library – serving 15 vets
  • Center Library, Fort Rucker – served 5 vets

6. Humanities and Healthcare

The program used the power of literature and other humanities to allow healthcare providers to better connect with their patients.

Two sites provided this program in 2019:

  • Mobile, AL—AIDS Alabama South – served 8 participants
  • Birmingham, Al – AIDS Outreach – served 10 participants

The money raised by the Alabama Humanities Foundation brought positive change to our community.

The Literature and the Veteran's Experience by The Alabama Humanities Foundation.
The Literature and the Veteran’s Experience program creates opportunities for veterans to give voice to and reflect upon issues of particular interest or concern. Photo via the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

Without funding, many of the great organizations that benefit so many wouldn’t exist. The Alabama Humanities Foundation ensures communities across the state have access to things like education.

  •  Alabama educators received  $5,000 in scholarship money so they could continue teaching and guiding students in their studies.
  • Over $167,000 was provided to local organizations in communities across Alabama to support humanities-based projects and programs.

Who doesn’t want to see our state grow in education and literacy programs?You can help the Alabama Humanities Foundation serve Birmingham by donating here.

Two amazing events promoted the importance of the humanities.

Anabranch/Alabama Book Festival

At the heart of the Alabama Humanities Foundation is a desire to facilitate discussion that will enact positive physical change within our communities.  AHF collaborated with stakeholders of the Alabama Book Festival to create Anabranch.

This year provided 4 SUPER institutes and an amazing opening night reception at the Capri Theatre in Montgomery. The three-day event featured Alabama natives Imani Perry and Andre Holland. They’ve built their successful careers on the humanities and led discussions about how the humanities affected their lives.

Alabama Colloquium

Talk about the power of words, at this year’s colloquium Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered said: “In essence, it is our stories that make us human.” The event features accomplished Alabama natives (think Pulitzer-prize winners and NASA engineers) to reflect on how the humanities have positively shaped their lives.

The stories told by the speakers reflect on the past, but also point a bright light toward the future. They facilitate a discussion for how we can continue building a better Birmingham, and state, for current and future generations.

One exhibit was nationally recognized.

Making Alabama: A Bicentennial Exhibit presented by The Alabama Humanities Foundation
The exhibit made its way around 67 counties and featured artifacts, storyboards, storytellers, festivals, vintage and antique photographs. Photo via makingalabama.org.

Celebrating 200 years of our state, the Alabama Humanities Foundation led Making Alabama: A Bicentennial Exhibit. 2019 was the second year the exhibit traveled our state. 

By the end of 2019, the exhibit visited all 67 counties and hosted over 200,000 visitors.

Our state had a great year thanks to the Alabama Humanities Foundation. You can thank the organization for all its amazing work by donating here.

The Alabama Humanities Foundation is doing so many cool things for our state and city! Don’t miss out on any of it, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

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AlabamaHumanities Take a look at every way the Alabama Humanities Foundation helped our state this year + what's in store for 2020!

Irene Richardson
Irene Richardson
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