Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Jim Webb (D-VA) have introduced the “Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission Act of 2009” (S. 1838) to establish a Commission to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War from 2011-2015. The legislation authorizes $3.5 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to award grants for activities relating to the sesquicentennial.
Consisting of 25 members from government, business and academia, the commission will develop and carry out programs to ensure suitable National observances of the anniversary. The private members will include 5 individuals from the corporate community, 6 historians, 1 individual with expertise in art history or historic preservation, 1 individual with expertise in anthropology, cultural geography or sociology, and a final representative with expertise in political science, law or economics.
Among its duties, the commission is tasked with encouraging interdisciplinary examination of the Civil War, coordinating and facilitating the public distribution of scholarly research publications and interpretations of the Civil War, and providing technical assistance to States, localities and non-profits to assist in their commemorations.
In awarding grants, the NEH is directed to consider established university, museum or academic programs with national scope that sponsor multidisciplinary projects, including those that concentrate on African Americans in the Civil War.