Mellon Foundation and National Archives to Support Expansion of Cultural Diversity in American History
Press Release · Thursday, January 21, 2021

Washington, DC

With generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Archives will offer new grants aimed at expanding cultural diversity in American history. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) will manage the new grants program, funded at $2.35 million, for digital historical records projects.

“Thanks to our continued partnership with The Mellon Foundation, we will be able to share and amplify the voices of previously marginalized groups,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “These are important voices in American history and deserve to be heard. This has been an extraordinary time of dialogue and debate on the complicated issues of representation, opportunity, race, and rights. While there have been historic strides on many fronts, projects like this NHPRC/Mellon grant program will help as we continue to strive for a more perfect union." 

The goals of this new program, titled Start-Up Grants for Collaborative Digital Editions in African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American History, include: 

  • Reaching out to minority researchers, especially those currently studying history and ethnic studies, and providing specialized training and support in documentary editing;
  • Encouraging and supporting innovative and collaborative re-thinking of American History— how it is conceived, whose voices it centers, and for what purposes;
  • Promoting planning and development of digital projects rooted in African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American history and ethnic studies; and, 
  • Bridging longstanding institutional inequities by promoting resource sharing and capacity building at all levels.

Grants will be awarded to collaborative teams with an emphasis on those at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges, and/or other Indigenous and Native American tribal scholars and community members, and members of the Asian American community. Priority will be given to start-up projects on historical topics that often fall outside the purview of mainstream history and humanities textbooks. The initial call for proposals deadline is June 9, 2021. Additional application information, including details and eligibility, is available online

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) of the National Archives supports projects that promote access to America's historical records to encourage understanding of our democracy, history, and culture. The 15-member Commission includes representatives from all three branches of the Federal government as well as the leading archival and historical professional associations. Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero is its Chairman, and Christopher Eck is the Executive Director. Since it was established in 1934 with the National Archives, the NHPRC has recommended 5,000 grants for preserving, publishing, and providing access to the nation’s historical documents. 

For press information, contact NHPRC Communications Director Keith Donohue at  


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This page was last reviewed on January 21, 2021.
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