Gold and blue triangle

NC Humanities Awards Over $240,000 to Support Local History and Storytelling Projects

Logos of Large Grant Recipients

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– North Carolina Humanities is pleased to announce it has awarded a total of $243,594 in Large Grants to fourteen cultural organizations to support their North Carolina-based public humanities projects.

NC Humanities annually provides Large Grants of up to $20,000 to nonprofit organizations that use the humanities (literature, history, philosophy, etc.) to raise questions, encourage conversation, contextualize experiences, and connect people across differences in their local communities.

“We are grateful to be working with such a wide array of grantees who are highlighting unique perspectives and stories,” said NC Humanities Executive Director Sherry Paula Watkins. “From oral history collection and traveling exhibits, to exploring queer, African American, and rural experiences, and supporting PreK – 12th grade student education, these projects will expand North Carolinians engagement with and dialogue about the unique people and cultures of our state. With a number of these grantees previously receiving support from NC Humanities, it is exciting for us to be part of the evolution of their public humanities work and to see first-hand how our investments have impacted local communities’ endeavors to connect and enrich their residents.”

To learn more about NC Humanities’ grants, eligibility, and deadlines, visit

The following organizations received a Large Grant from NC Humanities as of September 2023.

Appalachian State University (Boone)

Connecting Local and Global Rural Cultures

Grant Award: $19,999

In a series of free workshops, seminars, and panel discussions held downtown and in off-campus spaces, humanities experts will help the public consider diverse, rural cultures. The series will include sessions such as “Marc Chagall and Shtetl Life: Interactive Public Seminar on Jewish Diaspora Paintings”, and a “Portraying Indigenous Peoples” workshop for the production of Horn in the West

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (Asheville)

The Farm at Black Mountain College

Grant Award: $20,000

Built from a decade’s worth of original archival research, this exhibition will follow renegade students, faculty, families, farmers, and community partners as they start and sustain a campus farm in the 1930s, build a better farm in the ‘40s, and watch it all collapse in the ‘50s. Through historic materials and oral history recordings, the exhibition will explore contemporary and timeless issues of agriculture, sustainability, and community. An illustrated print publication and additional public programming will be developed in conjunction with the exhibition, thus extending these themes to a wider audience.

Center for Cultural Preservation (Hendersonville)

Oral History Preservation Expansion

Grant Award: $20,000

This grant will help preserve 500+ recorded oral histories by creating a searchable, publicly accessible database. Working with local historians, the Black History Research Group, the Henderson County Genealogical & History Group, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, six documentary shorts on Cherokee, Africa American and Scots-Irish history will also be created to further the stories of resilience and the power of interconnectedness shared by community elders.

Charlotte Museum of History (Charlotte)

Exhibit Exploring the History & Continued Relevance of the National Negro Opera Company

Grant Award: $20,000

This new exhibition will tell the story of the National Negro Opera Company and its founder Mary Cardwell Dawson. It is the story of how a woman from the piedmont of North Carolina carved out a space for herself and a talented group of performers in a world where separate was anything but equal. This exhibit intends to break down perceived barriers surrounding opera as a genre, and to create dialogue around issues of segregation and access in the civil rights era, and opera’s impact on fashion throughout the last 80 years.

Elon University (Elon)

Stories of Alamance County: Spaces of Faith and Spiritual Diversity

Grant Award: $19,700

This project will build bridges of dialogue across racial, religious, geographic, and generational division and will create spaces of understanding, healing, and action. The project will expand upon the oral and written histories from African American community members collected thanks in part to previous NC Humanities funding. Students and community elders will exchange their experiences during site visits to various places of worship, neighborhood walking tours, community book clubs, and more. These activities will result in sharable digital stories that will be shown at public screenings and dialogue events.

Greensboro History Museum (Greensboro)

NC Democracy: History for Teachers and Students

Grant Award: $7,600

Building on themes from the NC Humanities previously funded NC Democracy exhibition, this grant supports a series of teacher workshops and piloting a Traveling Trunks of Democracy program, geared towards 4th and 5th grade students. Trunks will contain hands-on activities, lesson plans, and resources that will give students the tools they need to engage with the political history of North Carolina.

Greenville Museum of Art (Greenville)

The Home I Never Knew: Ni de Aqui, Ni de Alla

Grant Award: $19,535

The impact of representation is powerful and transformative. This exhibition will create a space for Latino/a/x individuals to see aspects of their own lives through the art on display, the contextual stories throughout the exhibition and the catalog, and the public arts and humanities-based programs. Visitors, especially those outside the Latino/a/x community, will be able to connect with the artists’ message and experiences. Re-claiming the idea of “ni de aqui, ni de alla,” or “not from here, nor there,” the exhibit will highlight the range of individual and shared experiences associated with being both “from here” AND “from there,” belonging or not belonging, and feeling mentally, emotionally, or culturally from elsewhere.

Guilford College (Greensboro)

Guilford’s Freedom Trails: An Interactive Learning Experience on the Underground Railroads

Grant Award: $20,000

This project will deepen 9th and 10th grade students’ understanding of the Underground Railroad in Guilford County. A walking tour of the Underground Railroad Trail in Guilford College Woods will be followed by a humanities-based discussion. Led by humanities experts from Guilford College, the tour will provide historical context and multiple perspectives.

Hidden Voices (Cedar Grove)

R to the Power of 3

Grant Award: $13,310

Using ethnography, story-sharing, portraiture, and community conversation circles, this project will explore rural reentry through the lens of reclamation, redemption, and restoration. These programs will help expand and shift the dominant narrative around incarceration and reentry, and will enhance mutual understanding and respect between returnees, family members, faith and civic leaders, and service providers.

Invisible Histories Project (Birmingham, AL)

2024 Queer History South Conference

Grant Award: $20,000

The South is home to the largest population of LGBTQ people (Funders for LGBTQ Issues, 2018). This conference brings together scholars, historians, archivists, educators, and those working to preserve Southern LGBTQ history in both formal and informal ways. Panels, workshops, and other presentations will focus on best practices for archiving, researching, preserving, recording, teaching, and exhibiting Southern LGBTQ history.

ISLA – Immersion for Spanish Language Acquisition (Durham)

Los Sábados

Grant Award: $20,000

This free, weekly educational heritage language and cultural immersion program provides Latine children in PreK through 12th grade with a culturally responsive education that reflects their backgrounds and experiences. ISLA uses a whole-child model that prioritizes the full scope of a child’s developmental needs to ensure that every student reaches their full potential. Programming helps build cross-cultural understanding, improve access to education, and promote Latine representation in leadership. This 2023 funding builds upon previous NC Humanities Large Grant investments.

Johnston County Heritage Center (Smithfield)

Local History in the Classroom

Grant Award: $20,000

Collaborating with history teachers in Johnston County’s Career and Technical Leadership Academy and with public school K-12 social studies specialists, this project will result in online lesson plans that include primary source materials related to Johnston County. Traveling exhibits showcasing local history will also be developed. These materials can be used by teachers and students either at home or in classrooms and will be geared towards 3rd graders who learn about their local community, 4th and 8th graders who study North Carolina history, and high school students who study world and U.S. history.

Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum (Wilmington)

United States Colored Troops (USCT) Lecture and Conversation Series

Grant Award: $19,050

During this conversation series, several scholars will uplift the narratives and experiences of African Americans in the region. Brunswick county native Dr. Sherwin Bryant will explain new research into the lives of enslaved people in the region. Scholar and USCT reenactor Joel Cook will explore the lives of USCT soldiers. Wilmington native Steve Nunez will look at how the militant fight by the USCT informs the fight for social justice today. Lastly, Brunswick county native Tyanna West will look at Gullah Geechee heritage. Each lecture will include time for community dialogue and a customized lesson plan for teachers.

The Mitford Museum (Hudson)

GetLit! Literary Weekend 2024

Grant Award: $19,050

This event will offer readings, discussions, workshops, and more with authors from, living in, or writing about North Carolina. Funding will support the author’s engagement activities and travel. All students and teachers in Caldwell County are welcome to attend GetLit! at no cost.

About North Carolina Humanities: Through public humanities programs and grantmaking, North Carolina Humanities connects North Carolinians with cultural experiences that spur dialogue, deepen human connections, and inspire community. North Carolina Humanities is a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. To learn more, visit

Press Contact: Melanie Moore Richeson, (704) 687-1520,