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UNH Filmmaker Receives Grant for Social Change Documentary

Release Date:
3/29/2012 10:27 PM

NEH Awards $75,000 Grant to UNH Peabody-Award Winning Professor for Documentary on Social Change

University of New Haven: Richard Wormser, Features Richard Wormser 

March 29, 2012

WEST HAVEN, CONN. --- The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $75,000 grant to Richard Wormser, a Peabody-award winning television producer and practitioner in residence at the University of New Haven, to develop a script for a 90-minute television documentary that will focus on the struggle for social change in the United States between 1930 and 1960.

Wormser, who has written, produced and directed more than 40 films for public television, foundations and educational institutions, also last week received a $7,000 grant from the California Humanities Council for the program.

The documentary will examine the creation of labor unions, the struggle for civil rights for African Americans, the development of a working class popular culture, and the protests against the rise of fascism in Europe during the 1930s. The movements flourished during the Great Depression, Wormser says, but ended with the Cold War and with the rise of a post-war consumer culture that was eagerly embraced by Americans weary of the deprivations caused by the Depression and the Second World War. 

Wormser’s four-part national television series on the Public Broadcasting System, “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow: The African-American Struggle for Freedom 1865-1954,” won eight national awards including the Peabody (see photo) and three Emmy nominations.

His projects have received grants from the NEH, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

The author of 13 books dealing with American history and society, Wormser teaches an honor course in forensics and courses in the sociology and communications departments at UNH.

He received his master’s degree from Fordham University and studied at the Sorbonne in France for one year for his Ph.D. before becoming a journalist and subsequently a documentary filmmaker. Wormser also teaches sociology at Fordham University.

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. UNH enrolls approximately 6,400, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and University College, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.