2019, A BANNER YEAR!
Without question, 2019 has been a remarkable year for the Witnessing History Education Foundation, Inc. (“WHEF”). The cost of producing documentary films on American history for purposes of broadcast on public and cable television, and then to advance those films into channels where they may be viewed by as large a segment of the American public as possible, is very significant. Too, it requires a sustained effort and tremendous patience.
The WHEF is succeeding in its mission. Hundreds of individuals from every State in the Union have generously made donations to the WHEF over the past year. The Foundation has also attracted a growing number of large donors. In 2019, the T. W. Lewis Foundation, Paradise Valley, Arizona; The National Christian Foundation, Alfaretta, Georgia; The Frances and Beverly Means DuBose Foundation, Atlanta, Georgia; the Bill Gatton Foundation, Bristol, Tennessee; and the Don and Mira Ball Foundation, Lexington, Kentucky, have all made very generous gifts to the WHEF. The principals of two of those foundations, Tom Lewis and Jane Winegardner, are members of the WHEF Board of Directors.
As a result of those gifts, and the contributions of hundreds of individuals, the WHEF completed the ninety-minute film production, “In the Declaration all men are created equal:” Abraham Lincoln in Illinois, 1830 to 1860, in the early fall of 2019. Since then, it has been broadcast by every PBS affiliate in Illinois, receiving rave reviews, and Kentucky Educational Television (“KET”). All will broadcast the film on Lincoln’s birthday in 2020 and well into the future.
The WHEF has as its mission not only producing documentary films on American history, but making those films available, without remuneration, to as many Americans as possible. To that end, WHEF seeks to produce films of such quality that they are recommended to the National Educational Telecommunications Association (“NETA”) so they are made available to every PBS affiliate in North America.
Indeed, Abraham Lincoln in Illinois has been recommended by KET to NETA to be made available to every PBS affiliate in North America. Already, millions of Americans have watched, and will watch long into the future, Abraham Lincoln in Illinois on television. Beyond that, WHEF has nearly completed the script on another ninety-minute film production, “The Shot Heard Round the World:” The Coming of the American Revolution, Colonial America to 1775. It is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2020.
But that is not the limit of the efforts of WHEF. The WHEF has established its own platform on YouTube where all the Witnessing History films, including Abraham Lincoln in Illinois, are available for everyone to watch for free. WHEF has had two films posted on its site since early in 2019; most of the films, however, have been on the site only since October and November 2019. Already, those seven WHEF films have drawn 600,000 views! It is evidence of how popular they are. The comments from more than three thousand subscribers are almost universally very favorable.
WHEF is now engaged in an effort to place its film productions on at least four more live streaming platforms besides YouTube. The mission of WHEF is to get millions of Americans to watch, enjoy, and learn about American history. It is succeeding in that mission.
Beyond all the film production, the WHEF has been producing podcasts on all aspects of American history with noted historians from all across the country. Listen, and even download them from our podcast page. We are always interested in suggestions for future podcasts, so please let us know by email to KMB@USA.NET as to any you may have.
Tours have always been an important outreach effort of the WHEF, and in 2019 it offered a three-day tour on October 31st to November 2nd, entitled “Daniel Boone and the Revolutionary War in Central Kentucky.” It was a huge success. See the full story below and the photographs on our gallery page. We are always interested in suggestions for future tours, so please let us know any you have by emailing us at KMB@USA.NET.