New relief grants available for North Carolina organizations affected by coronavirus

$628,300 in grants will be made to historical societies, museums, and other humanities-focused groups

CHARLOTTE, NC (May 12, 2020) – The North Carolina Humanities Council is accepting applications for more than $600,000 in emergency grants to support nonprofit cultural organizations in the state experiencing hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. James W. Clark, Jr. to Receive North Carolina Humanities Council’s Highest Honor

CHARLOTTE, NC (April, 23, 2020) – The North Carolina Humanities Council has selected Dr. James W. Clark, Jr. as the recipient of the 2020 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities, the Council’s most prestigious honor.

Watershed Moments: Bringing Attention to North Carolina’s Relationship with the Environment

CHARLOTTE, NC (4/9/2020) – The North Carolina Humanities Council proudly announces its two-year initiative, “Watershed Moments,” designed to explore our varied relationships with the environment, culturally and historically.

To experience how journalism, media and the humanities can help us analyze significant environmental issues, “Watershed Moments” programs will include a Statewide Read of The Water Knife and Dry, an environmental journalism panel, film discussion series, and the statewide tour of the Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways.

Virtual Writing Contest Opens April 1, 2020

CHARLOTTE, NC (March 30, 2020) – The North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide cultural nonprofit, invites original, unpublished entries of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for its 2020 Linda Flowers Literary Award. The award is given to exceptional North Carolina authors whose work celebrates the North Carolina experience and conveys excellence in writing. Submissions will be accepted online from April 1-June 25, 2020 at

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) & Public Safety Concerns


 (Updated: May 5, 2020)

Resources for the Humanities Sector During the Pandemic: As the COVID-19 public health emergency continues to unfold we will update this page with some of the resources we have been made aware that may benefit individuals and organizations in the humanities sector such as museums, libraries, and cultural nonprofits.


These resources were originally shared in our weekly email. To subscribe, click here. 


Charlotte, NC (March 26, 2020)

Dear Friends, 

I begin this note to you with a quote from Helen Keller that I am personally drawing inspiration from during these times, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”  

As we have all been affected by COVID-19 in some way, I write to assure you that the North Carolina Humanities Council stands with you in solidarity and in strength. Through these uncertain times I believe the public humanities has an important role to play in keeping our lives grounded and our spirits up. In a period of social distancing, may the things that make us human keep us connected. May our stories, our cultures and our community help us through this difficult time.

At the North Carolina Humanities Council we have been closely monitoring the situation of COVID-19 and assure you that we remain committed to prioritizing the health and safety of all North Carolinians including our staff, board, partners, grantees and program participants.

In keeping with federal and state guidelines, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person North Carolina Humanities Council events and programs through May 31, 2020.

We know that for most, these programs are an opportunity to come together in physical spaces to learn, exchange ideas and share in new perspectives, but we believe that this decision will best serve the public health of our North Carolina communities. As we begin to adapt to a more virtual space in the coming weeks, we look forward to sharing online humanities resources and virtual program opportunities with you to keep us all connected and learning.

As COVID-19 news is updated daily, sometimes hourly, we will continue to provide updates regarding all Council affairs on our website.

Below, please find our most recent actions taken to protect the health and safety of our program partners.

For now, the Council’s office operations will continue as normal. However, in the interest of keeping our staff safe and to limit and delay infection, our physical office is closed until further notice and staff are working remotely. The best way to contact our staff at this time is by email. All staff information can be found on our website at

You and your families remain in our thoughts.

Stay well,

Sherry Paula Watkins | Executive Director  

Health and Safety Update for Programs

All host sites, scholars and grantees will receive further communication from our organization about how our decision to cancel all in-person programs and events through May 31 will impact them. 

Our decision to cancel in-person programs and events was not made lightly. However, the benefits of swift and preventative measures ordered by Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Orders and the President’s March 16 guidelines to avoid groups of more than 10 people, guided our decision making.

We recognize the difficulties that may result from canceled events. We are committed to working with our program partners one-on-one to address any issues that might arise during this time.

We continue to advocate that our partners and grantees follow recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NC Department of Health and Human Services. If you are planning to attend humanities programs, please check directly with the host site of the event for up-to-date cancelations.

As this is a fluid situation, our approach and policies are subject to change. Thank you for flexibility, cooperation and understanding.


2019 Linda Flowers Literary Award Recipient Announced

CHARLOTTE, NC (December 16, 2019) –On November 9, the North Carolina Humanities Council announced Shirlette Ammons as the recipient of its 2019 Linda Flowers Literary Award for her expert entry from “Labor of Love: A Personal Travelogue of Black Labor.”

New Board Chair Leadership to Usher in New Trustees

Ten New Trustees Join the Board of the North Carolina Humanities Council

North Carolina Humanities Council Awards Over $58,000 to NC Non Profits

CHARLOTTE, NC (September 20, 2019) – The North Carolina Humanities Council has awarded $59,629 in grant funding through its 2019 Large Grant program to three North Carolina nonprofits for community based public humanities programs.

2019 Caldwell Award Event Tickets Now Available

2019 Caldwell Award event tickets are available now! The North Carolina Humanities Council will present Jaki Shelton Green with the 2019 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities on October 2, 2019 in Chapel Hill.

This event is free and open to the public but registration is required.

      Click Here to Register


North Carolina’s Sherry Paula Watkins Looks to Encourage Civility in Conversation

Originally published as "Executive Function with Sherry Paula Watkins" in the Summer 2019 issue of Humanities magazine, a publication of the National Endowment for the Humanities

The humanities have the power to heal.

That’s Sherry Paula Watkins’s message. And, after spending a few minutes with the executive director of the North Carolina Humanities Council (NCHC), you’re persuaded.