On Tuesday, April 24, 2007, Dr. Robert M. Warner, sixth Archivist of the United States, died after a long battle with cancer.
Dr. Warner served as Archivist of the United States from 1980 through 1985, leading the agency during one of the most important periods in its history: the transformation from a division of the General Services Administration (GSA) to an independent executive agency.
On April 26, 2007, the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment held a hearing to consider the problem of over-classification, and “pseudo-classification,” of government information.
On April 26, 2007, the National Coalition for History, the American Historical Association, and twenty other organizations wrote to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein to express concerns about the possible destruction of records relating to the cases of detainees being held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A recent federal court Protective Order concerning the case records could possibly be interpreted to authorize or direct the destruction of government records that should be permanently preserved, such as the Combatant Status Review Tribunal record and interview notes.
On April 24, 2007, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing on H.R. 1995, the “Tulsa-Greenwood Riot and Accountability Act of 2007.” The bill extends the statute of limitation to allow survivors to seek damages for losses incurred by the hundreds of families who lost homes and businesses in the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921.
On April 19, 2007, National Humanities Alliance (NHA) President John Churchill testified before the House Interior Appropriations’ Subcommittee. NHA’s testimony calls for a $36 million increase for the National Endowment for the Humanities in fiscal year 2008, for total funding of $177 million. NHA also proposed a new program, along the lines of We the People, which would focus on global understanding in the humanities. During the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (D- WA) expressed strong interest in the proposal
This is the first year since 2000 that the House Appropriations’ Subcommittee has held public witness hearings on NEH and other agencies funded under the Interior bill.
Dr. Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, has announced the retirement of John Constance, Director of Congressional Affairs and Communications, after 35 years of Federal service, effective April 28, 2007. Mr. Constance has served as the National Archives liaison to Capitol Hill for 14 years and currently supervises congressional relations, public affairs, communications, and the agency’s web program.
Susan Cooper will become acting director of Congressional Affairs and Communications, and Dr. David McMillen will assume responsibilities as acting congressional liaison within the Congressional Affairs and Communications staff.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently announced the awarding of $16.7 million in grants, or offers of matching funds, to 182 applicants. Fifty-four of the grants are designated as We the People projects designed to increase the teaching and study of American history and culture.
NEH has also announced that the National Council on the Humanities will meet at its Washington headquarters on May 8-9, 2007. Parts of the morning sessions are open both days, but the majority of the meetings are closed to the public since the Council will be considering grant applications.
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) – the grant-making arm of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – is targeted in the President’s proposed FY 2008 budget for zero funding for grants and zero funding for staff to administer the agency and its programs. For FY 2008, the National Coalition for History supports full funding for national grants at $10 million plus an additional $2 million for staffing and other administrative costs. Now is the critical time to contact Congress and make your voice heard on saving the NHPRC!
The National History Center continues its Congressional Briefings Series with its “Historical Perspectives on Climate Change,” 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Friday, April 27, 2007, in Room 385 of the Russell Senate Office Building, in Washington, DC.
The Senate Judiciary Committee this week cleared a Freedom of Information reform bill (S. 849) by voice vote. The bill is similar to one overwhelmingly passed in March by the House of Representatives (H.R. 1309).