How Much U.S. History Do Americans Actually Know? Less Than You Think. The Smithsonian interviewed David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation, about ways to fix this problem.
SMITHSONIAN: You started the Grateful American Foundation in 2014 and the Grateful American Book Prize in 2015. What was your inspiration for these and what do you hope to achieve through the projects?
David Bruce Smith:The Grateful American Book Prize for authors of kid-friendly books based on factual events and people in American history was created partially because I was becoming more aware of the multi-generational historical illiteracy in our country. The prize, and our Grateful American Foundation, also honors my father. He always referred to himself as a “Grateful American.” We are a fortunate family, and because of that, he felt very strongly about “giving back.” During the last 20 years of his life, he devoted himself to education, and nothing excited him more than to see a child excited about learning—particularly history.
So, I have taken his sentiment and converted it to a noun. Hopefully, the prize and the foundation will move kids—and adults—to become more enthusiastic about it via videos, games, and interactive activities.