Humanities Texas has received a $50,000 grant from The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston to support the expansion of its professional development workshops for English language arts teachers.

In the past nine years Humanities Texas has conducted ninety-one professional development programs for Texas teachers. Initially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities' We the People initiative—which was established to encourage and enhance the study of American history—these programs have most often targeted social studies teachers and addressed topics in the state’s U.S. and Texas history curricula. Beginning in 2011, Humanities Texas has conducted popular annual workshops on Shakespeare and American Writing on the Civil War for English Language Arts (ELA) teachers.

With the support of The Brown Foundation, Inc., Humanities Texas will expand its work with ELA teachers in 2014 by offering a one-day workshop on the Harlem Renaissance, a literary period commonly taught in Texas schools and one for which teachers have repeatedly requested support. Teachers will have the opportunity to study the works of W. E. B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Richard Wright, exploring how those authors shaped their work with specific purposes and audiences in mind.

Then in the summer of 2014 Humanities Texas will host a three-and-a-half day institute focusing on seminal works of American literature. Teachers will have the opportunity to study writings by authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Hurston.

At each of these programs, educational specialists and master teachers will help teachers develop assignments that advance students' ability to communicate effectively in multiple genres and contexts. Both programs will accommodate approximately fifty teachers, but teachers throughout the state and nation will benefit from the programs through the instructional materials and videos of faculty presentations that Humanities Texas will make available on its website.

Humanities Texas will continue to offer professional development programs for the state’s social studies teachers. Forthcoming programs will cover critical events in twentieth-century Texas and U.S. history.

The purpose of The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston is to distribute funds for public charitable purposes, principally for support, encouragement, and assistance to education, the arts, and community service. The Foundation was founded in July 1951 by Herman and Margarett Root Brown and George R. and Alice Pratt Brown. Since its inception it has awarded more than $1.34 billion in grants through the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. Of these funds, approximately 80% were awarded within the State of Texas with special emphasis on the City of Houston.

For more information about The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, visit

Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin, leads a discussion on approaches to teaching Shakespearean drama at a Humanities Texas workshop in 2012.
Daina Ramey Berry, associate professor of history at The University of Texas at Austin, gives a presentation on the life and achievements of Frederick Douglass during the "American Writing on the Civil War" workshop in February 2013.
James N. Loehlin shows teachers how to use performance-based strategies for teaching Shakespeare at a Humanities Texas workshop in 2012.
John P. Rumrich, Arthur J. Thaman and Wilhelmina Dore' Thaman Endowed Professor in English at The University of Texas at Austin, analyzes pivotal passages from Shakespeare's tragedies with teachers at a Humanities Texas workshop on teaching Shakespeare in September 2012.