Humanities Council Invests $57,486 in Grants Statewide

Humanities Council Invests $57,486 in Grants Statewide

The North Carolina Humanities Council has awarded $57,486 in grants for projects in the humanities. All funded programs are free and open to the public.  

Projects supported by the North Carolina Humanities Council are vital to its commitment to serve as an advocate for lifelong learning and thoughtful dialogue about all facets of human life. Through grants and public programs, the Humanities Council facilitates the exploration and celebration of the many voices and stories of North Carolina’s cultures and heritage.

Hidden Voices received $10,000 of funding for None of the Above: Power, Privilege and the School to Prison Pipeline (NOTA), an interdisciplinary, multimedia collaboration examining “the intersection of race, poverty, education, and incarceration” in performance and exhibition through words, maps, self-portraits, and experiences. This social issue conjuncture reflected in academic gap, student dismissal, and judicial system statistics has come to be referred to as the “school to prison pipeline.” North Carolina has 216 suspensions per 1,000 students, a rate 56% higher than the national average. Triangle and Triad students, teachers, administrators, school resource officers, parents, attorneys, justice officials, and former inmates have been placed together in a setting to share their stories and experiences generating new understandings to create opportunities and agencies for change in the state’s educational and criminal justice systems. These dialogues have been translated into exhibits, performances, and workshops that have been utilized to broaden perspectives, valuing all stakeholders from educators to inmates with the hope of application in other regions of the state. The sponsors plan to take the project to the rural settings of eastern and western North Carolina in the counties of Halifax, Pitt, Vance, Cleveland, and Burke “to capture additional voices from a larger geographic area.”

Contact: Lynden Harris, lharris@hiddenvoices.org or 919-732-9299

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte received $2,299 of funding for Without Sanctuary: A Conference on Lynching and the American South that will coincide with the last leg of the “Without Sanctuary” exhibit at the Levine Museum of the New South that was generated by the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA from its permanent collection of photographs and other memorabilia. The conference will be held on the campus, at the First United Presbyterian Church, and the Levine Museum of the New South to “maximize the chance for scholars and the larger public to explore the deep questions about American and southern culture, racial and ethnic violence, and the ways in which this brutal part of America’s past reverberates in American history and culture.”

Contact: Dr. Jeffrey B. Leak, jleak@uncc.edu or 704-687-2708

Gaston College received $5,402 of funding for a speaker and film discussion series, Celebrando América Latina, that will cover the Latin American experience in North Carolina and beyond with a special emphasis on culture and labor. It will feature various scholars and filmmakers engaged in the study, presentation, and documentation of Latin American culture. The various film screenings and discussions will take place over a 10 month period primarily on the three campuses of Gaston College with one screening at Lincolnton High School and an outdoor screening at the Buddy Lewis Field, home of the Gastonia Grizzlies baseball team. These films represent a fine synthesis of the cultural context relevant to discussions of the ever-growing Latin American/Hispanic American demographic in both the United States and more specifically North Carolina. Along with the planned Latin American student participation, it is hoped that even larger Latin American contributions to the project would be generated like that of the invitation to the Lincoln County Costa Rican community to get involved.

Contact: Deborah Newman neuman.deborah@gaston.edu or 704-825-6305

WUNC received $6,560 for a pilot initiative of two radio productions using a new format that captures live music and musicians in their cultural and historical context.  The WUNC Pop-Up Music Club will identify key music features in eastern and coastal North Carolina with the guidance of key scholars of the region, arrange for performances and interviews to take place in a relevant public setting, invite audience participants via social media, and document these as aural events for on-air presentation.

Contact: David Brower dbrower@wunc.org or 919-445-9150

The Mount Airy Regional History Museum received $5,000 for Geocatching for History, a project that utilizes GPS (global positioning systems) technology to provide a new way to experience regional history. Participants will use their smartphones to seek out the actual locales and interface with historical sites in the Surry County and adjacent areas that link back to the museum’s website with more in depth content.

Contact: Matt Edwards mjedwards@northcarolinamuseum.org or 336-786-4478

The African-American Cultural Center at North Carolina State University received $4,900 support for a screening of the documentary film Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat by the Door and a panel discussion after the showing by humanities scholars and filmmakers who will “contextualize and critically situate the film.” The documentary examines the early 70’s making and challenges of the film adaptation of Sam Greenlee’s highly acclaimed and controversial novel, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door.” It chronicles the first African American in the FBI who counters the plots against the Black community by his employer through his direct organizing of gangs in urban centers. The film has a major cult following and presents “a very different view of Black life from that presented in the Blaxploitation films that defined the era.”

Contact: Sheila Smith-McKoy ssmckoy@ncsu.edu or 919-515-2444

The James Agee Film Project received $5,152 for the production of a documentary film, Common Ground: People, Place and Food in the American South, which examines food origins and culture of the South. They will trace “the path of Southern foods over the miles of centuries, from the shores of Africa and Europe to the New World.” The film will investigate the humanities themes of “the roots of Southern culture in Africa, Native America, and Europe, the dynamic nature of cultural change in the South, Southern food as a window into contributions and roles of different people in society, and the South as a society united by a common history, land, and food.” Foods to be explored in the film include corn, collard greens, rice, sweet potatoes, okra, and field peas.

Contact: Jamie S. Ross ageefilms@gmail.com or 828-768-0387

The Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro received $5,000 for the development of  “Past the Pipes: Stories of the Terra Cotta Community” a permanent exhibition that examines the African-American history and people of the Pomona Terra Cotta Company community just five miles from downtown Greensboro.  “For nearly one hundred years, the Pomona Terra Cotta Company fabricated clay pipes for sewer systems that literally supported the growth of cities across the South. These complex underground systems were taken for granted, just like the workers who labored in the dust and the heat to build them. The African American laborers lived in a segregated village they called Terra Cotta – a company-owned “town within a town” that was in many ways a world apart from nearby Greensboro. In the face of significant social and economic constraints, these workers and their families formed a tightly knit, self-reliant community. Aging former residents remember their childhoods fondly, but their voices have largely been neglected. [The partners in this project seek] to document, share, celebrate, and reflect upon this vibrant community before it is too late.”

Contact: Dr. Benjamin Filene bpfilene@uncg.edu 336-334-5645