Part 2: An archival excavation

Click here for part one of this post.

In my last blog, I described my discovering a 1970s project about the Creek Indians in our 1980 “catalog of projects.” In those days, AHF was called the Alabama Committee on Humanities and Public Policy. Almost all the projects we supported focused on the relationship of history, literature, philosophy and other humanities disciplines to contemporary issues facing the public or policymakers in Alabama or the nation as a whole. Even the Creek Indians proposed to produce a film, “[which] will examine the effects of archeological laws on the values of a culture, and will explore various issues such as ownership of historic artifacts and treatment of historic sites.”

To look through the catalog is to remind oneself how many policy issues remain alive today—and to reflect on others that perhaps have been resolved or somehow disappeared from public consciousness:

  • “Sane Drug Use in a Mad Society”
  • Literacy as a Human Problem”
  • “Our Money and Our Health”
  • “The Individual, the Community and the Mentally Retarded: Rights and Responsibilities”
  • “Salt II: An Historical and Strategic Perspective”
  • “Retirement: Problem or Promise”
  • “Dying Persons and the Hospice Movement: Values & Issues in the Helping Professions”

There are many others, but my favorites are:

  • “Horsepower: An Electric Fable”
    The project was actually a two-hour play about energy consumption and its impact on the environment. It sounds like lame material for a theatrical production, but the catalog evaluation was quite positive, with the issues “dramatically and humanistically addressed.”
  • “Détente in Soviet America”
    Wow! “Soviet America!?” I hope this was a typo in the catalog. This ambitious project was to include a live statewide television program, a panel discussion, and Q&A from the studio audience. But there’s no indication that the program was ever produced. When I think about the healthcare town hall meetings this August, and the many town hall attendees who claimed President Obama is a socialist or communist, I shudder to think how a statewide TV audience today would react to a program that included “Soviet” and “America” in the same title.
  • Written by: Bob S.