The following is a mock National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Proposal for my final project.

This project seeks to promote historical interest, debate, and discussion among the public through textualist ideas behind Supreme Court Cases as a precursor for an exhibit on the Radical Republicans and the Fourteenth Amendment during Reconstruction from 1863 to 1868. This project has three main objectives:

  • Provide substantial historical background for visitors to ensure everyone has sufficient historical knowledge and interest to want to keep going through the exhibit.
  • Apply their knowledge to current events such as Supreme Court cases to promote further interest in history and other similar subjects to produce well-rounded citizens as well as promote an interest in history, politics, literature, and art.
  • Convey a historical interpretation of Reconstruction to an audience who have not studied the subject extensively.

History Content: This digital exhibit will explore the history behind Reconstruction to the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment through Congressional legislation and prominent members such as Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens. A second section will be concerned with Supreme Court decisions and how the Fourteenth Amendment is used today within the United States. Reconstruction historiography emerged after the Civil War through the Dunning School of Reconstruction which was later reinterpreted by W. E. B. DuBois with his work “Black Reconstruction” which placed greater emphasis on Radical Republicans and their efforts to support Freedmen. Twentieth-century historians such as Eric Foner have highlighted and expanded upon the Radical Republicans’ egalitarian views as their motives for ensuring equal rights for Freedmen.

This exhibit will answer historical questions such as, “was Reconstruction a failure?” and “how did SCOTUS justices interpret the Equal Protection Clause’s language since it was created? The exhibit will utilize Supreme Court Cases such as Brown v. Board of Education and Bush v. Gore to highlight different ways that Justices have applied the Equal Protection Clause. It will subsequently include Congressional meeting minutes, speeches, proclamations, and letters that convey important members of Congress’ ideas and motives behind the Equal Protection Clause such as John Bingham, Thaddeus Stevens, and Charles Sumner.

Digital Technologies: The website will utilize Omeka Classic as well as subsequent plugins to showcase historical documents to the public as well as provide ample background information. Users will be able to search for a specific file by name, date, and author in order to pick specific sources to read about how the Equal Protection Clause has influenced Supreme Court legislation.

Target Audience: The target audience can be general such as anyone with an interest in Reconstruction history. Nevertheless, it can also be as specific as college-age students or adults who have developed an interest in the humanities such as art or literature and seek to increase their knowledge of history. The exhibit will assume that visitors do not have a vast knowledge of the history of Reconstruction and have not taken a history class in many years. This exhibit is meant to be an extensive resource for visitors to learn more about Reconstruction history as well as develop an interest in other areas of history and culture to willfully seek out historic sites, museums, archives, libraries, and to travel to new places and learn about new perspectives, ideas, and values throughout the United States and World History. Visitors will develop an appreciation for historical figures, events, and locations as they learn more about how the past impacts the present and future events. This website will become a tool of discovery for both academic and non-academic scholars to discuss Reconstruction and how ideas and the meaning of words change over time to reflect current interpretations.

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