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Mass Humanities Announces $244,391 in Grants

Funds support 31 Massachusetts organizations around the state.

Mass Humanities is excited to announce that it has awarded $244,391 in support of 31 humanities projects in communities across the state. Seventeen of these grants support projects concerning Massachusetts Voting Rights history and the 19th Amendment centennial. From panel discussions to original theatre performances, oral histories, and traveling exhibitions, funded grants in 2020 will instigate dialogue centered on voter’s rights and inclusivity.  


  • $3,610 to Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester for public programming centered around “Our Souls Are by Nature Equal to Yours – The Life and Legacy of Judith Sargent Murray.” Funding will support three free public lectures events and one book discussion for an exhibit on the 18th-century writer and advocate for women’s equality, Judith Sargent Murray.
  • $7,521 to the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Tsongas Industrial History Center for “Every Voice Counts: Equipping Educators to Teach Civics”, a series of six online teacher professional development workshops highlighting local communities’ struggles for political representation.
  • $8,360 to the Reading Public Library for “The Vote: Exploring Voting Rights in America”. The library will explore voting rights in America through multiple community events, lectures and performances, facilitated discussions and book groups, documentary screenings, hands-on projects and performances. Events will highlight the experiences of African Americans, recent immigrants, and residents of U.S. territories.
  • $3,000 to North Shore Juneteenth Association in Lynn for “Why Vote? Hat and Heels High Tea”, a lecture and discussion event with Civil Rights activist and author Rodney Hurst and legal scholar David Harris at the Lynn Museum.
  • $3,500 to North Shore Community Development Coalition in Salem for “Why Your Vote Matters Forum” for a discussion of voting rights focusing on the experiences of past and present immigrant communities.

Metrowest Boston

  • $7,550 to the Robert Treat Paine Historical Trust in Waltham for “Partners in Protest: Massachusetts Working Women and their Struggle for the Vote”. Humanities scholars will help create a classroom resource kit for 8th grade Waltham civics classes on suffrage and labor movements in their city.
  • $14,878 to Primary Source in Watertown for “Our Rights & Nothing Less: Struggles to Secure the Vote in the United States”, a professional development series for K-12 social studies teachers on debates over voting rights, including lessons that highlight Massachusetts stories.
  • $14,983 to Tempest Productions in Brookline for “Soapbox Suffragists: Votes for Women and the Fight for Voting Rights 1900-2020 and Beyond”. Funding will create living history performances and discussions rooted in the words of suffragists, civil rights activists and contemporary advocates. Events will take place in New Bedford, Pittsfield, and Roxbury.


  • $12,030 to the Brockton Public Library for “The Vote: A Divided Movement that Brings Us Together”, for a free series on the history of voting rights including panel discussions, a traveling exhibit, workshops, and an outdoor installation highlighting Brockton residents involved in the suffrage movement.
  • $14,997 to the YWCA Southeastern MA for “Lighting the Way from Suffrage to Civic Engagement”, for two panel discussions on voting rights and a youth-artist showcase inspired by the history of New Bedford women.
  • $3,500 to New Bedford Whaling Museum “20 Ripples. Through a Wampanoag Lens” for two events interpreting Indigenous history, culture, and environmental perspectives connected to the art exhibit “Ripples.”
  • $3,500 to Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford for “Southcoast Seven”, to connect a play about women from around the world to women from New Bedford. Students from Bristol Community College will develop a public presentation on 7 local women who have made a significant contribution to the world around them.


  • $15,000 to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston for “Expanding Democracy: The 19th Amendment and Voting Rights Today”, a special half-day conference featuring three forums on the history and current relevance of the suffrage movement.
  • $15,000 to BCN Productions in Boston for the distribution of “Borderland- The Life and Times of Blanche Ames-Ames”, a documentary film about the Massachusetts suffrage activist, with curriculum guide development and scholar-led screenings planned.
  • $7,500 to 826 Boston, Roxbury, for a “Young Author’s Book Project: A Student’s Perspective on Grove Hall, Dorchester.” This funding will support student editors and professional designers to publish and showcase student writing about the Grove Hall neighborhood of Dorchester.
  • $9,900 to Roxbury’s Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) “Neighborhood Voices: DNI Community Land Trust”. This funding will support training, collection, sharing and archiving of oral histories from 1st families who moved 25 years ago on to the largest community land trust in Boston.
  • $14,195 to Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center’s Pao Arts Center for “Homeward Bound: Global Intimacies in Converging Chinatowns”, community programming and an exhibit highlighting stories of migration, displacement, and resilience in Chinatowns around the world.
  • $3,500 to Cathedral of St. Paul in Boston for “Words from the Street: Readings and Conversation with the Black Seed Writers” for writing workshops with those who are homeless, transitional, and recently-housed, culminating in publication of their works in The Pilgrim magazine and four public reading and discussion programs.
  • $1,757 to Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences for “Theater for Adult Immigrant ESL Students” to fund a theater class for ESL students in which they will learn about Americans’ experience of the home front during WWII, perform a play on that topic for other ESL students, and then engage in small and large group discussion after the performance, developing their language skills and their knowledge of history.
  • $3,500 to Boston Review for “Women’s Right to Be Elected”, a panel discussion on the political theories and practical differences between the right to vote and the right to be elected, comparing the US with countries where more women hold elected office.
  • $3,500 to Company One, Boston for “Our American Stories”, 3 panel discussions led by accomplished women of color, following 3 different plays in Company One’s 2020 season, all connected by the theme of American stories. Two of the panels follow performances where the ticket cost is “pay as you can.” 
  • $3,450 to Arts Connect International, Boston for “Arts Equity Summit”, a 4-hour panel and discussion event focused on problematizing the creation of monuments to memorialize historical events.
  • $3,000 to YWCA Cambridge for “Voting Rights, Women’s Suffrage and Fannie Lou Hamer”, two discussions with Billie Jean Young, creator of a one woman show on labor and civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer.
  • $3,000 to Jaara Inc., Boston for “Evolution of Black Dance Across the Americas”, for a panel discussion on the history of Black dance forms, kicking-off the Black Dance Festival.

Cape & Cape Islands

  • $2,500 to the Falmouth Historical Society for “Gaining the Vote: The Road to Women’s Suffrage”, lectures with historians and authors on the history of women’s political participation.

Western Massachusetts

  • $15,000 to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield for “The Right to Vote: The Fight for Women’s Suffrage 1848-1920 University Day”, a day-long program for multigenerational audiences, featuring panels, performances, and an exhibit on women’s suffrage.
  • $15,000 to the Bhutanese Society of Western Mass Inc., Springfield, for “The Untold History of Bhutanese Americans in Western Mass: A Community Oral History Project.” Funding supports oral history gathering and cross-generational dialogue among Bhutanese refugees in greater Springfield.
  • $14,500 to OneHolyoke Development Corporation, Holyoke, for “The Diary of Anne Frank 2020 Project”, to bring a traveling exhibit on the Diary of Anne Frank to Holyoke High School. The program provides community discussions, professional development for teachers and opportunities for students to become exhibit guides.
  • $10,000 to WAM Theatre, Lee, for “Roe Reproductive Justice Education and Dialogue Across Difference Training”. Funding supports preparation by cast and staff to lead facilitated post-performance dialogues on the contested issue of reproductive justice.
  • $3,500 to Springfield Museums forOh, the Thinks You Can See! Exploring Ideas and Images at the Springfield Museums”, discussions with kids and caretakers of Dr. Seuss’ book Oh, the Thinks You Can Think, led by a graphic facilitator who translates children’s ideas into pictures at the Museum’s Dr. Seuss Birthday Party.
  • $3,500 to Forbes Library, Northampton for “The Right to Vote: Past, Present, Future”, four panel/discussion events on four aspects of voting: women’s suffrage, civil rights movement, current barriers to voting, and teen voting.

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