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Humanities Texas

2017 Outstanding Teaching Award

Do you know an outstanding teacher in your school or community? Nominate him or her for one of our 2017 Outstanding Teaching Awards, sponsored by Humanities Texas. In 2017, we will present a total of fifteen awards to exceptional Texas teachers, including the Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award, the Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award, and the Award for Outstanding Early-Career Teaching. Award recipients will each receive $5,000, with an additional $500 for their schools to purchase humanities-based instructional materials.

El Baile: A Story of Conjunto Music in the Rio Grande Valley

Manuel F. Medrano, historian and Humanities Texas board member, explores the influence of accordionist Valerio Longoria and conjunto music in the Rio Grande Valley, painting a vivid picture of community and celebration inspired by the genre. A thirty-minute documentary on Valerio Longoria, For a Quarter a Song, is made available online by the Los del Valle Oral History Project. El ensayo también se encuentra aquí en español

Conquering Polio: A Lecture by David Oshinsky

This is a lecture sponsored by Humanities Texas and published online in July 2016. David Oshinsky’s lecture was funded by the Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Initiative in observance of the one-hundred-year anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize. The lecture was delivered as part of Humanities Texas's 2016 "Post-War America, 1945–1960" teacher institute in Austin. Who could have imagined that Ron Chernow's fine biography of Alexander Hamilton would inspire a blockbuster Broadway musical?

American Prisoners of War: Firsthand Accounts from the Civil War to Vietnam

American Prisoners of War" includes compelling firsthand narratives from World War II POWs Robert Preston Taylor, Rufus W. Smith, and Roy Maxwell Offerle; World War I POW Pat O'Brien; Vietnam War POW Congressman Sam Johnson; and Andersonville prisoner Prescott Tracy, as well as resources on American prisoners of the Korean War and a selection of POW-related film and radio documentaries. Most of the veterans featured are from Texas.

Texas Originals: Etta Moten Barnett

Acclaimed singer and actress Etta Moten Barnett was born in Weimar, Texas, in 1901. By the age of ten, she was singing in the choir of her father’s church. Thirty-three years later, at the invitation of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, she became the first African American woman to sing at the White House. Barnett's career led her to Hollywood, where she appeared in films such as Busby Berkeley's Gold Diggers of 1933 and Flying Down to Rio, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Texas Original: Winifred Sanford

In the 1920s, writer Winifred Sanford's stories of the Texas oil boom captured the anxieties of a state on the verge of modernization. Born in Minnesota, Sanford moved to Wichita Falls in 1920, as her husband sought his fortune in the new oilfields of North Texas. At first, Sanford found the small town stifling. But she soon realized the oil boom made Texas more complex than it had first seemed. Swift change made for great stories. Sanford published her first short story in 1925.

Texas Originals: Karle Wilson Baker

Karle Wilson Baker was Texas's most celebrated poet in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Arkansas in 1878, she moved to Nacogdoches in her early twenties and soon fell under the spell of her adopted state, writing about the role of Texans in the American drama. Her collection of poems Dreamers on Horseback was nominated for the 1931 Pulitzer Prize. Texas Originals is also available on iTunes! Subscribe to the podcast today to download all episodes that have aired to date and to automatically receive future episodes.

Texas Originals - Nettie Lee Benson

Librarian and historian Nettie Lee Benson rose from a bookish South Texas childhood to assemble one of the world’s leading archives for research on Latin America. Born in 1905, Benson grew up on a family farm outside Sinton, not far from Corpus Christi, and earned her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin. In 1925, she took a teaching job in Monterrey. There, as she later explained, she “drank the waters of Mexico,” and her lifelong interest in Latin America blossomed. Benson became director of UT’s Latin American Collection in 1942.

Texas Originals: Scott Joplin

In the early 1880s, a young African American boy in Texarkana named Scott Joplin was trained in the fundamentals of classical music and opera by his German-born teacher. Born near Linden, Joplin was the son of a former slave—and a budding musical talent. By his early twenties, he left home to become an itinerant musician. While living in St. Louis, Joplin encountered a kind of music that juxtaposed a steady, bouncing bass with a syncopated treble: "ragged time," or "ragtime." The music was played in saloons and brothels, and in Joplin's hands, it became high art.

Texas Originals: Julius Bledsoe

The singer who first performed the song "Ol' Man River" is an obscure figure today. Baritone Julius Bledsoe was among the first African Americans to appear on Broadway, but he made few recordings and his fame was soon eclipsed by the great Paul Robeson, who succeeded him in the role of Joe in the classic musical Show Boat. A critic from the New York Morning Telegraph described him as "a singer who can pick the heart right out of your body—if you don't look out."