Hoover Institution Research Fellow Shelby Steele was one of seven distinguished Americans and one historical society awarded the 2004 National Humanities Medal for their contributions to the humanities on November 17 by President George W. Bush.
At a White House ceremony, the President presented National Humanities Medals to Hoover's Shelby Steele, as well as Marva Collins, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Hilton Kramer, Madeleine L'Engle, Harvey Mansfield, John Searle, and the United States Capitol Historical Society.
The National Humanities Medal, first awarded in 1989 as the Charles Frankel Prize, honors individuals and organizations whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand America's access to important humanities resources.
Shelby Steele was cited "for his learned examinations of race relations and cultural issues, which reveal a profound commitment to freedom and belief in the bright future of our Nation." Steele specializes in the study of race relations, multiculturalism, and affirmative action.
Steele's most recent book is A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America. In A Dream Deferred, Steele argues that too much of what has been done since the Great Society in the name of black rights has far more to do with the moral redemption or self-satisfaction of white people than with any real improvement in the lives of black Americans. Steele received the National Book Critic's Circle Award in 1990 in the general nonfiction category for his book The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America. He has written widely on race in American society and the consequences of contemporary social programs on race relations.
He has written extensively for major publications, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and he is a contributing editor at Harper's magazine. Steele also is a member of the National Association of Scholars, the national board of the American Academy for Liberal Education, and the University Accreditation Association. He holds a Ph.D. degree in English from the University of Utah, an M.A. degree in sociology from Southern Illinois University, and a B.A. degree in political science from Coe College, Cedar Rapids Iowa.
The full news release may be viewed at http://www.neh.gov/news/archive/20041117.html