Funded Grants

Inalienable Rights: Living History through the Eyes of the Enslaved

This grant supports the project "Inalienable Rights: Living History through the Eyes of the Enslaved." On Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14, 2019, the Polk Memorial Support Fund Inc., in partnership with the Slave Dwelling Project, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and the film project History before Us, will host a series of intensely intimate, immersive and engaging programs focused on the history, experience and heritage of enslaved persons and segregation in the south in the United States and the Carolinas.

Click here for event details and to register.

Planning for 250th Anniversary of Regulator Movement and Battle of Alamance

This grant supports planning activities for the "250th Anniversary of Regulator Movement and Battle of Alamance." May 16, 2021 will be the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Alamance which was the culmination and defeat of the North Carolina Regulator Movement. 

Grits, Greens & Griots: African American Southerners Who Stayed - The North Carolina Story

Sponsored by Sit-In Movement Inc.

This grant supports planning activities for the project "Grits, Greens & Griots (GGG):  African American Southerners Who Stayed." The project focuses on the North Carolina story of the Second Great Migration (1940-1970) and examines the motivations and experiences of African Americans who chose to remain in the South and confront the challenges of Jim Crow, rather than seek sanctuary in other parts of the country. The initiative will capture the oral history of elders, 85 years of age and older, who were born in the South and lived most of their lives in North Carolina. Through narratives and a photo exhibition their stories will be made public.

1619-2019: Recognizing 400 Years of African-American History

This grant supports the "1619-2019: Recognizing 400 Years of African-American History" project which builds off of Congress' 400 Years of African American History Commission Act. The Act recognizes the anniversary of the first African captives brought to the shores of colonial America. Their arrival on these shores, more than 150 years before the United States became a nation, marked the beginning of an African American identity and the centuries’ long struggle for African American freedom and citizenship. Grant funds support free presentations in northeastern North Carolina about regional African American History from three Elizabeth City State University professors.

Archives Aflame: Voices from World War II Pacific Engagement

This grant supports the project a staged reading of veterans’ stories and an Artists’ Talk for the project "Archives Aflame: Voices from World War II Pacific Engagement." The project was born from the experience of Kei Ito and Andrew Paul Keiper is the result of the intersection in the lives two randomly selected college roommates. This project is a multi-media exhibition featuring a large-scale visual and sound installation that probes the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the artists’ intertwined family histories. Ito’s grandfather witnessed the explosion that killed his family, while Keiper’s grandfather was an engineer who contributed to the effort to develop the bomb. Their collaboration grapples with this history while asserting its pertinence to a contemporary audience living in an increasingly unstable political landscape.

The Warp & The Weft

This grant supports discussion guides, lobby exhibit, and audience talk backs for the Asheville Creative Arts performance of The Warp & The Weft. From April 18-28, 2019, Asheville Creative Arts will present 16, 60-minute family-friendly performances of The Warp & The Weft, a world premiere, immersive documentary style theatrical experience that aims to offer a more nuanced view of child labor, and by extension, childhood, in the South.

This multi-media project features large scale projections of Lewis Hine's photos, and interjects into this visual narrative the stories from black and brown children from both historic (including during slavery) and contemporary times (including from contemporary migrant laborers working in agriculture in NC), the piece will also integrate the following in order to create a living portrait of child labor and childhood in the South, through present day oral histories, folktales, primary source materials, and personal narratives.

The Hero in our Cultures: A Journey to Discovery

This grant supports “The Hero in our Cultures: A Journey to Discovery” a program which examines D.S. Niane’s “Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali.” This epic poem is taken from West Africa’s medieval age with its griot, or storyteller, playing a musical instrument as they tell the history of the founder of the kingdom of Mali. This project allows the community to experience world literature and multicultural traditions through a community read, public forum, and discussion.

3rd Biennial Sandhills Children's Literature Symposium: "Cultural Identity in Children's Literature"

Sponsored by Campbell University

This grant supports the “Sandhills Children's Literature Symposium” which addresses the issue of literacy development in rural communities. The Symposium will host an award-winning children’s literature author and illustrator, to teach workshops addressing specific active-learning literacy skills as it relates to their work. This project provides students with access to quality literature and equips educators with effective strategies to teach literacy and improve the literacy skills, cognitive and social growth of children in the Sandhills region.

Princeville, NC: Heritage and a Sense of Place

This grant supports “Princeville, NC: Heritage and a Sense of Place” which addresses the need for heritage preservation and public education for the historic town of Princeville, North Carolina. Originally named Freedom Hill, the town was settled by formerly enslaved Africans freed after the Civil War seeking self-determination and empowerment. Incorporated in 1885 and renamed Princeville, the city remains the oldest incorporated African American town in the United States. The town’s vulnerable ecological location has led to its near destruction from the Tar River floods from Hurricanes Floyd (1999) and Matthew (2016).

ECU in collaboration with the grassroots organization Fighters for Freedom Hill and other community efforts, aim to recover, document, preserve and publicize the historical and present-day story of Princeville. Through oral histories, archeological research, and community workshops, this project creates a moving public exhibit of Princeville, local colleges, public schools, public libraries; and also creates digital a version of the Princeville story.

The Talk

Sponsored by StreetSigns

This grant supports dialogue around “The Talk,” a project that weaves together s scholarly work as a and draws on the voices of ancestors, elders, youths, and intellectuals to engage in the difficult conversations that we must have with children to prepare them to survive and thrive in a racialized America. This piece combines elements of poetry, theatrical dramatization, mediated images, and performance ethnography to analyze the current state of racial affairs in the U.S., and how these affairs collide, penetrate, intercept, and sometimes coalesce with the process of identity formation and transfer for black youth. 

The project seeks to humanize unique aspects of the American and black American experience while challenging audience members and performer to grapple with the tensions that perpetuate existing racial hierarchies and misunderstandings. Following each performance is a talkback featuring a panel of experts including scholars, local law enforcement, educators, and civic leaders. By engaging an audience in storytelling and conversation, "The Talk" aims to both educate and connect the community.