Stream Ken Burns’ NEH Lecture
Award-winning documentarian Ken Burns will deliver the 2016 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at 7:30pm Monday, May 9. The lecture is a free, public event and, for those of us who won’t be making the trip to DC, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will stream the lecture online!
The lecture, which is the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities, will be on the subject of race in America, a topic he has illuminated and confronted through his nearly 40 years of directing and producing acclaimed historical documentaries.
The winner of 14 Emmy awards, two Grammy Awards, and a 1991 National Humanities Medalist, Burns was the first filmmaker to match humanities scholars with stunning archival photos and texts to tell compelling American stories that have created a humanities experience for millions of viewers. NEH has awarded grants to Burns in support of 15 films over three decades— from his first film in 1981, Brooklyn Bridge, to the forthcoming Vietnam, which will premiere on PBS in the fall of 2017.
“We are very excited that Ken Burns will be giving the Jefferson Lecture this year. Because we are celebrating our 50th anniversary, we were especially eager to select a person who represents the best qualities of NEH’s deep and diverse portfolio,” said William D. Adams, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in a NEH press release. “His work combines deep humanities research with a rich feeling for American life and culture and unparalleled public reach and appeal. Ken is one of the great public intellectuals and historians of our time, and he is also a terrific speaker. I know that his Jefferson Lecture will be a very special event.”
The press release also included this from Ken Burns: “I am honored to have been selected to deliver the Jefferson Lecture. The NEH has been a partner on many of my films. But more importantly, I have been inspired by the NEH's vision and values and support for countless writers, artists and filmmakers. As such, the NEH as a federal agency is, in my mind, of equal importance to those other public services that we consider most essential.”
“I've long believed that our democracy is strengthened by the humanities. They are critical to our understanding of our country, our politics and our neighbors and ourselves,” he added.
To stream the lecture online, connect to www.neh.gov/live at 7:30pm Monday, May 9. NEH will also be discussing the lecture on social media. The NEH handle is @NEHgov and Ken Burns handle is @KenBurns. NEH is also inviting viewers to share thoughts or photos with the hashtag #JeffLec2016 during the lecture.