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’s role in the nationwide fight for school integration

When their school district refused to integrate after Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954, a group of Black mothers in Southwest Ohio marched their children to the white school, demanding admission, only to be turned away every day for two years. Their activism resulted in one of the longest sustained protests of the civil rights era—one that began before … Read More

Reading Women’s History Month, in Ohio and beyond

A woman reads a book while surrounded by other books in an aisle of a bookstore

We’re bookworms at Ohio Humanities. In celebration of Women’s History Month, here are some of our favorite books that tell women’s stories, in Ohio and beyond: Stay and Fight by Madeline Ffitch Sisters In Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman When Grandma Gatewood Took A Hike by Michelle Houts … Read More

Ghoulish reads

Our work often invokes serious topics or discussions, so, here are our favorite spooky books–including some set in Ohio and written by authors from or with ties to Ohio–to help you enjoy the haunted humanities in celebration of All Hallows’ Eve! Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt The Haunted History of the Ohio State Reformatory by Sherri Brake House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski The … Read More

A Vibrant Appalachia

Ohio Humanities is a proud supporter of humanities work throughout Ohio’s Appalachian communities, where funds are in high demand and other support is much less common than in larger cities. From a walkable outdoor exhibit in an Athens park that highlights the important role the humanities have played in the region to LatinX storytelling by Southern Ohio Folklife, we are … Read More

“The Prettiest Star” by Carter Sickels, and other queer stories

Review by Rebecca Brown Asmo In The Prettiest Star, Carter Sickels tells the story of Brian, a gay man living in 1980s New York City who, dying from AIDS and no longer able to care for himself, is forced to return to his small hometown in Ohio. Told from the perspectives of Brian himself, his younger sister Jess, and his mother … Read More

Celebrating Asian and Pacific Ohioans’ Stories

From awarding grants to organizations like Midstory to develop a virtual gallery highlighting the experiences of AAPI individuals and communities across Ohio to listening to the fifth episode of Amended, a podcast from our friends at Humanities New York that tells the story of Mabel Lee, a teenaged immigrant from China who led a New York City suffrage parade on horseback … Read More

Honoring Black Stories

by Rebecca Brown Asmo When I joined Ohio Humanities as Executive Director in 2021, I began working with our team to identify untold and under-told stories that would encourage meaningful discourse among Ohioans. I was soon introduced to the story of the Lincoln School Marchers and the important role that Hillsboro, Ohio, played in the movement to desegregate America’s schools … Read More

Cobra: A Life of Baseball and Brotherhood by Dave Parker and Dave Jordan

Review by David Merkowitz As a Cincinnati Reds fan in the 1980s and 1990s, the experience was almost like a fable out of Greek mythology. Once, giants strode the earth, but that was in the time before. Now, our ballplayers were mere humans. In the 1970s, Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine dominated the National League, winning two World Series, making two appearances in … Read More