How I became a “book bartender”

A stack of books, including Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley, The Fraud by Zadie Smith, The Color Purple by Alice Walker and, on display on top, Erasure by Percival Everett, with an Ohio Humanities bookmark in the foreground

By Rebecca Brown Asmo The first time a teacher assigned a book written by a Black author to me, I was a junior in college. Before that, everything assigned to me was written and taught to me by White people. While I occasionally stumbled upon a book by a Black author in my personal time, it wasn’t until a Women’s … Read More

Ohio’s Native stories

Mound City in Chillicothe, Ohio, part of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks

Celebrating Thanksgiving often means going home, but for many of our Native neighbors, the concept of home is a painful reminder of what was taken from them during campaigns of forced assimilation and removal from their homelands. Nothing we do today can reverse this painful history and its aftermath, but the humanities provide a long overdue opportunity to connect with, understand, … Read More

Ohio Humanities, Daydreamers Press release children’s book

Nonfiction picture book tells the story of a civil rights demonstration through the eyes of a real-life child activist Ohio Humanities and Daydreamers Press announce the release of Step by Step: How the Lincoln School Marchers Blazed a Trail to Justice, a new nonfiction picture book for young readers. Written by New York Times bestselling author Debbie Rigaud and Carlotta … Read More

My North Star

By Rebecca Brown Asmo I have a confession to make. Until 2020, I didn’t really know what the humanities were.   Yes, that’s correct. I’m the leader of our state’s humanities council, the “boots on the ground” in Ohio for the National Endowment for the Humanities and I didn’t really know what the humanities were until three years ago.   I realize … Read More

The Story of Cory

Cleveland’s Cory United Methodist was born a Jewish synagogue and community center. Then, it evolved into a Christian church and became one of the nation’s most noteworthy centers of civil rights activism. Now, led by a passionate young pastor, the landmark that hosted crusaders from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Malcolm X is fighting not for equality but for its life.

If I Am Catholic: David Merkowitz

The number of places of worship nationwide is decreasing, but faith remains. What role does faith play in the modern world? We asked five Ohioans to share what it means in their daily lives. David J. Merkowitz is the Director of Grants and Programs at Ohio Humanities. He has a PhD in History with a focus on the history of … Read More

Humanities at Play: Dr. Carlotta Penn

Dr Carlotta Penn

Carlotta Penn is a creator—an author, a songwriter and a poet. She’s a learner—a thirsty student with a bachelor’s degree in communication, a master’s degree in comparative studies and a doctorate in education. She’s an educator—a longtime teacher who is now a senior director at the Ohio State University, overseeing partnerships and engagement activities in the Office of Equity, Diversity … Read More

Humanities at Play: Dr. Jeremy Taylor

When Northwest Ohio’s Defiance College established an Institute for Career Readiness and Lifelong Learning, it tapped Dr. Jeremy Taylor to lead the institute as dean. Taylor is a tenured history professor who holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in history—and who has compiled an armful of awards in his career across Texas, Arkansas and Ohio. Now, Taylor has helped create … Read More

Humanities at Play: Dr. Clay Johnson

Dr Clay Johnson

American sharpshooter Annie Oakley was born in Darke County, Ohio—a rural spot nestled against the Indiana border along the state’s western edge. Preserving her legacy is, among other things, Clay Johnson’s job. He is the first professionally trained CEO of the Garst Museum, home of the National Annie Oakley Center. The task before him was daunting, including creating and managing … Read More

The Film Fellows

By Taylor Starek Backed by a rich history of uplifting documentary filmmaking—and energized by what’s possible—Ohio Humanities has launched a partnership with Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts to support independent filmmakers.  The three-year film fellowship will help fund as many as five filmmakers-in-residence at the Wex each year who are working on humanities-informed documentary films with a … Read More