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NC Humanities Awards Over $50,000 in Grants to 16 Cultural Organizations

NC Humanities Awards Over $50,000 in Grants to 16 Cultural Organizations

North Carolina Humanities has awarded a total of $53,867 in Community Engagement Grants to sixteen cultural organizations to support their North Carolina-based public humanities projects. Read on for more details.

This is the second and final round of Community Engagement Grants awarded by NC Humanities in 2023. This year, NC Humanities awarded over $344,000 in grants to 40+ organizations. This much-needed cultural funding from NC Humanities is helping North Carolinians in community settings around the state to explore stories of marginalized people, to learn about different perspectives through reading and discussing literature, to connect history with current events, and more.

NC Humanities is now accepting applications for 2024 Grants. NC Humanities has updated grant category names, increased funding amounts, and adjusted application deadlines to better reflect what each grant funds and to allow more flexibility for applicants. In 2024, NC Humanities will provide Project Planning Grants (up to $2,000), Small Project Grants (up to $5,000) and Large Project Grants (up to $20,000) to nonprofit organizations that use the humanities (literature, history, philosophy, etc.) to raise questions, encourage conversation, contextualize experiences, and build bridges across cultural differences. More information can be found at

The following organizations received a Community Engagement Grant from NC Humanities as of October 2023:

  • Arts Davidson County (Lexington)
    • Lexington Book Festival 2024
    • Grant Award: $3,465
    • In March 2024, this newly established festival will provide Davidson County readers the chance to interact with diverse North Carolina authors who write for readers of all ages and expertise. The Festival will also work with local schools to arrange in-school visits and workshops with Festival authors.
  • Carolina Theatre of Durham (Durham)
    • Confronting Change: Exhibit and Programming
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • Carolina Theatre of Durham played a central role in Civil Rights protests of the late 1950s as it remained one of the last segregated public facilities in Durham. The “Confronting Change” exhibit shares stories of the efforts to desegregate the theater. To commemorate the exhibit’s 10th anniversary in April 2024, the theater will host public events featuring key community members who will explore topics and themes from the exhibit and their meaning in today’s social and cultural context.
  • Center for Racial Equity in Education (Charlotte)
    • Jeanes Arts & Education Initiative
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • Although the North Carolina State Constitution established public education for all students as a right in 1868, deliberate underfunding of Black schools and racial disenfranchisement made it nearly impossible for African Americans to exercise that right. In 1907, Pennsylvania Quaker Anna T. Jeanes bequeathed $1 million to support Black education in the South. Her gift supported 36 Black women educators in North Carolina–more than in any other state–who served rural African American communities from 1907 to 1968. These “Jeanes Teachers” could be thought of as community organizers who not only oversaw instruction, but also raised funds for education, rallied parents, and provided crucial social services. Through interactive digital content, learning modules, historical exhibitions, physical art, and dramatic performances, this commemorative project will honor the legacies of the “Jeanes Teachers” by telling their inspiring histories and preserving their imprint on North Carolina’s educational heritage.
  • Comité de Fiestas Patrias y Tradiciones de Charlotte (Cornelius)
    • Candles Day
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • This grant will support a Charlotte-based festival featuring traditional decorations, music, and cultural displays where Latin American community members will share personal stories and memories about this holiday to foster connections and empathy. The Day of the Candles celebrates love, peace, unity, and a wonderful spirit of light based on Colombian tradition. It is celebrated on December 7th in Colombia and other Latin American countries, particularly to kick off Christmas.
  • Cultivator (Murfreesboro)
    • Roanoke-Chowan Literary Festival
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • The Roanoke-Chowan Literary Festival will be held in March 2024 and will shine a spotlight on writers with roots and connections in Northeastern, NC. The Festival is named in commemoration of the Roanoke-Chowan Group that was active in Northeastern, NC from the late 1940s through the late 1970s. The Festival will invite high school students from surrounding counties to attend and present their writings as a way to inspire young authors into the writing profession.
  • Destination Cleveland County (Shelby)
    • Born of the Broad River: The Life and Career of Earl Scruggs 1924-1945 in his Own Words Exhibit
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • This original exhibit will unite the narrative of Earl Scruggs and Cleveland County history together in a new engaging way for audiences. The exhibit will investigate the period of Earl’s life from birth until twenty-one, making use of never-before-seen source material in the crafting of its narrative including over 17,000 words of Earl’s own remembrances. The exhibit will be on view at the Earl Scruggs Center.
  • East Carolina University (Greenville)
    • Engaging Communities with Indigenous North Carolina Literature
    • Grant Award: $3,496
    • This project will highlight and promote the historic 2023 issue of the North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR), the first issue (in 32 years of publication) to feature Native American literature of North Carolina. This funding will support a reading and conversation event at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, in Cherokee, NC, featuring NCLR contributors Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) novelist, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, EBCI poet, Dr. Mary Leauna Christenson, and others.
  • Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) (Elizabeth City)
    • Claiming Freedom in Northeastern North Carolina
    • Grant Award: $2,886
    • ECSU has embraced a responsibility for documenting, interpreting, researching, and telling the stories of African American communities of northeastern North Carolina. This funding will support several on-campus events where scholars will engage with students and the public to encourage an understanding and appreciation for the stories of African American freedom claimers and seekers in the area, as well as for the humanities-based methods and works that help us understand those stories.
  • Friends of The City of Raleigh Museum (Raleigh)
    • Timely Connections Lecture Series
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • Building on previous NC Humanities investments, this grant will support the museum’s “Timely Connections” lectures and symposiums that provide educational and accessible programming and feature guest speakers who share their knowledge and expertise. In 2024, “Timely Connections” will feature bi-monthly lecturers between February and May, along with two symposiums – the seventh annual African American History Symposium and a Civil War symposium.
  • High Point University (High Point)
    • High Point Medieval and Early Modern Physic Garden
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • Medicinal plants have been used by people of all classes across time to alleviate suffering, treat illness, and even punish transgressions. This project will create living history programs to foster a deeper understanding of medieval medical and horticultural history. An existing greenhouse on High Point University’s (HPU) campus will house this living laboratory for students, community members, and plant aficionados to explore one thousand years of plant-based medical practice in a model medieval, medicinal garden. The plants will be cared for by HPU students who will also conduct public tours of the garden and lead workshops about the plants.
  • Levine Museum of the New South (Charlotte)
    • Community Conversations
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • By bringing diverse communities together, this program series will spark conversations on the root causes of issues such as homelessness, incarceration, and civil rights. A moderator and humanities expert will give a brief overview of a topic, then encourage group dialogue that empowers participants to take action and promote positive change. The first of four programs will take place in December 2023 at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library – West Blvd. branch and will focus on preserving neighborhood stories and history.
  • Person County Museum of History (Roxboro)
    • Community Voices: Person County Oral History Project
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • This grant will support the collection of oral histories from county residents with an emphasis on stories from veterans and those who possess deep knowledge of the community. These interviews will be transcribed and made available to the public through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.
  • Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium (Gastonia)
    • 2024 Summer Teachers Institute
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • This grant will support a Summer Teachers Institute that will empower classroom educators to implement cross-curricular, place-based education for their students based on the works of Henry David Thoreau. Teachers will explore Thoreau’s experiential nature-based educational philosophy, visit local learning resources, and examine the museum’s wide array of nature-based and place-based programming, all while building collaborative community connections and participating in meaningful and fun excursions.
  • The Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History (Chapel Hill)
    • Community Cinema 2024
    • Grant Award: $2,520
    • This grant will support a public showing of and conversation about “A Journey Towards Integration”, a documentary created by Judith Van Wyk in the late 1990s about the desegregation of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in the 1960s. Nineteen original Betacam recordings of the film along, with raw footage that has never been seen before, will also be digitized by the Jackson Center and later shared during two summer teachers institutes in which educators will develop lesson plans centered on the materials.
  • Triad Cultural Arts (Winston-Salem)
    • Community Engagement Visioning Sessions
    • Grant Award: $3,000
    • Shotgun House Legacy Site is a collection of homes that are situated in Happy Hill, Winston-Salem’s first planned African American community. An exhibit team comprising of college students and faculty from Winston-Salem State University, graphic designers, historians, and others, will design a collaborative, visitor-centered site interpretation plan that invites visitors to become active participants in the site’s narrative.
  • Western Carolina University (Cullowhee)
    • The Cowee 19: Intersections of Memory and Landscape
    • Grant Award: $3,500
    • In 1882, nineteen Black convict laborers died while constructing the Cowee Railroad Tunnel in Jackson County. Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center will create an exhibit and free public programming about the Cowee Tunnel disaster that also addresses America’s history of systemic racism in the criminal justice system. Nineteenth century maps of North Carolina augmented by genealogical research will show the statewide nature of the convict labor system, thus uncovering a more personal history.

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

NC Humanities Press Contact: Melanie Moore Richeson; (704) 687-1520;