The Oxford American, a nonprofit arts organization primarily known for the Oxford American magazine, received a grant of $350,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Oxford American is published in partnership with the University of Central Arkansas.
The grant will fund a series of feature-length reported segments to air within Points South, a podcast hosted by OA executive editor Sara A. Lewis that launched in September 2019. The primary focus of each segment is to explore “the complexity and vitality of the American South, which requires meaningful interrogation of the region’s history, values and cultural and political landscapes as they have evolved over time.”
“This grant is a vote of confidence for the Oxford American’s mission,” Lewis said. “As the OA, like so many arts organizations, adapts to these uncertain times, we are grateful for the NEH’s support, which enables us to tell more important, underreported stories of and about the South.”
Grants from the NEH are highly competitive and involve a peer-review process “to ensure that the projects represent the highest level of humanities quality and public engagement.”
“As the fine staff at the Oxford American launches the Points South podcast, it is thrilling to know this important new chapter of their publication will be supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities,” said William R. Ferris, Senior Associate Director Emeritus of the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-Chapel Hill and a former chairman of the NEH, who will be a humanities consultant on this project. “The podcast will deliver the region’s humanities resources to the OA’s fans around the globe with technology that is increasingly important in our lives.”
The advisor for the project will be Kidada E. Williams, an internationally recognized expert on African Americans’ lived experiences of racist violence and associate professor of history at Wayne State University. “Today, we need expertly researched African American and American history that is comprehensive, publicly accessible, and impactful,” she said.
The executive producer will be Joe Biewen, audio program director at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies and host of the podcast Scene on Radio. “Given its rich and renowned history of exploring the South and its complexities on the page, OA is well-positioned to tell equally illuminating stories in sound,” he said. “I’m delighted and honored to be part of the Points South team.”