Prior to his scheduled visit to the Magnolia State last week, Bruce Cole, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, sent a column to media outlets detailing the commitment that must be made to rebuilding our cultural institutions and preserving the state’s rich heritage. He was quick to praise the work of the Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC) and the leadership of its executive director and board chair.
“Barbara Carpenter, Willis Lott and the MHC deserve all our gratitude for never veering off course in their mission — to keep this state’s rich stories and traditions accessible to all Mississippians,” he wrote. “Many of these folks have lost their own homes and livelihoods. Yet, they have shown how a small organization with strong-willed, talented people can mount an effective response to help meet the vital needs of communities.”
And, Cole added, “The network news has moved on to newer, fresher stories. But we don’t have that luxury, for this isn’t a problem that’s going away anytime soon. It will keep us occupied for years to come. And it is incumbent on all of us as public servants to see that this cultural rebuilding continues. Too much is at stake.”
The Mississippi business community must play a significant role in assisting non-profit organizations dedicated to our state’s unique history — and telling our stories — as all of us continue to recover and rebuild from Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.