Full disclosure: board members of the Oklahoma Humanities Council are expected to contribute financially as well as invest their time and supportive concern. Which is only fair if we’re to seek financial support for OHC from others. Once familiar with the work of the Council, however, the opportunity to help maintain OHC programs is as much a privilege as an obligation, since the humanities are crucial components of a healthy society.
Long before I knew about the Council, I became involved in its Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma program, discussions of diverse books in public libraries and other venues across our state. Sessions are facilitated by visiting scholars, but first and foremost enable readers from all walks to interact with humanities texts and, through that medium, engage with one another. Among the authors we explored in such groups were Maxine Hong Kingston, Ralph Ellison, Mary Chesnut, Michael Herr, Edith Wharton, Henry James, Anne Tyler, and Saul Bellow. In retrospect, this grass-roots experience and others like it, as much as my career as a professor of American literature at the University of Tulsa, sustain my wish to assist the full spectrum of OHC programs and grants (funding projects large and small) that enhance public exposure to the humanities.
While the Council is local and regional in focus, through its linkage with the National Endowment for the Humanities it is part of a national circulatory system of humanities-related energy and interest. Anyone, anywhere, is potentially a beneficiary of the ways the Council helps enrich the intellectual and cultural environment—across boundaries: personal and social, economic and ethnic, political and geographic.
I’ll continue to give to OHC after my service on the board is complete. I hope you’ll join me. To make a secure gift, visit www.okhumanities.org or contact the Council at (405) 235-0280.