NEH Awards South Carolina Humanities $50,000 Grant for “United We Stand: Connecting Through Culture” Programming

South Carolina Humanities (SCH) is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in support of the NEH Initiative: “United We Stand: Connecting through Culture.” “The humanities strengthen mutual understanding by providing the context, history, and models of discourse that remind us of our common purpose and shared humanity,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “NEH is proud to dedicate United We Stand funding to our state and jurisdictional partners to support humanities programs focused on fostering cross-cultural understanding, communication, and resilience in communities across the country.”

The South Carolina Humanities project is called “Just Sharing: Building Community through Stories of Our Past.” It is a series of panel discussions in communities across South Carolina from September 2023 through June 2024.  This is a partnership project of South Carolina Humanities with Clemson University and the University of South Carolina led by SCH Consultant Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert. “We hope that this model of storytelling from the past can help strengthen communities and individuals and prevent distrust and hatred by building empathy for each other,” said Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert.

The eleven local communities hosting “Just Sharing” programs are Allendale, Beaufort, Charleston, Clemson, Columbia, Conway, Florence, Lancaster, Laurens, Lyman, and Orangeburg. A historian from Clemson and one from USC will join a local historian in presenting stories from our past.  The moderated panel discussion will include time for audience participation after the historical presentations.   

The confirmed Speakers for the programs from Clemson University and the University of South Carolina include:

Christian K. Anderson, Ph.D., Presenter, is a professor of higher education at the University of South Carolina. His research areas include the history of higher education, comparative higher education, and how colleges and universities are depicted in popular culture. He has written about faculty governance, student protests, college athletics, and Reconstruction era University of South Carolina. Anderson was co-director of an NEH summer institute on Reconstruction in 2021 for teachers from around the country.

Thomas J Brown, Ph.D., Presenter, is a professor of history at the University of South Carolina, where he has taught since 1996. He is the author of Civil War Canon: Sites of Confederate Memory in South Carolina (2015) and Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America (2019), which received the annual book prize of the Society of Military Historians. He has long worked with Historic Columbia in developing the Museum of the Reconstruction Era.

Orville Vernon Burton, Ph.D., Presenter, is Judge Matthew J. Perry Distinguished Chair of History and Professor of Global Black Studies, Sociology and Anthropology, and Computer Science at Clemson University. His current research focuses on American race relations and community. Burton’s co-authored Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court (2021) was deemed “authoritative and highly readable” by The Nation.  In 2022 he received the Southern Historical Association’s John Hope Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bobby Donaldson, Ph.D., Presenter, is a scholar of southern history and African American life and culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including African American intellectual thought, print culture, education, and religion. He serves as Director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina and the lead scholar for the documentary Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters regarding the struggle for civil rights in Columbia.

Jennifer Gunter, Ph.D., Presenter, is a historian at the University of South Carolina and former Director of the Collaborative on Race.  She is a facilitator for the Welcome Table process, a community trust-building process that helps communities heal from societal divisions that have been historically embedded. In 2022 she was recognized as a Racial Healing Practitioner Fellow by the National Compadres Network with support from the Kellogg Foundation.

Brian McGrath, Ph.D., Presenter, is a professor of English at Clemson University where he teaches romanticism, the history of poetry and poetics, and aesthetic, literary, and rhetorical theory. He is the author of Look Round for Poetry: Untimely Romanticisms (2022) and The Poetics of Unremembered Acts: Reading, Lyric, Pedagogy (2013). His current research is on the poetics of hedging (literal hedges and rhetorical acts of hesitation).

Otis Pickett, Ph.D., Presenter, is a historian at Clemson University and chair of the Department of Historic Properties.  His research interest is southern Presbyterianism in the 19th century and its relationships with whites, African Americans and Native Americans based on race, civil status, and property ownership.  He also studies how missionaries to former enslaved persons justified a Lost Cause ideology well into the 20th century.

Rhondda Robinson Thomas, Ph.D., Presenter, is Clemson University’s Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature. She has published the award-winning Call My Name, Clemson: Documenting the Black Experience in an American University Community.  She and community partners are developing a Mellon Foundation funded Black Heritage Trail on campus and in Seneca and Clemson, South Carolina. She serves on the State Board of Review for the National Register of Historic Places.

Alice Taylor-Colbert, Ph.D., Project Director, is an American historian focusing on Southern Culture and Cherokee Studies who is currently a consultant for SC Humanities.  As a leader of humanities projects since 1987, she will guide this SCH partnership project. 

Scheduled programs include:

Monday, September 11, 2023 | 6:00 p.m.
Location: USC Salkehatchie (Atrium), 465 James Brandt Blvd, Allendale, SC 29810
Featuring Dr. Otis Pickett, Dr. Christian Anderson, and Dr. Ramon Jackson

  • Integration of the College of Charleston – Dr. Otis Pickett
  • Reconstruction – Dr. Christian Anderson
  • Civil Rights in Corner of South Carolina – Dr. Ramon Jackson


Thursday, October 5, 2023 | 6:00 p.m.
Location: Middle Tyger Library, 170 Groce Rd #1724, Lyman, SC 29365
Featuring Dr. Christian K. Anderson, Dr. Brian McGrath, and Brad Steinecke

  • Reconstruction – Dr. Christian Anderson
  • Why Do We Ban Books but Protect Free Speech? – Dr. Brian McGrath
  • Local Civil Rights – Brad Steinecke

Saturday, December 2, 2023 | 1:00 p.m.
Location: Horry County Museum, 805 Main Street, Conway, SC 29526
Featuring Christian K. Anderson, PH.D., University of South Carolina; Dr. Orville Vernon Burton, PH.D., Clemson University; and Rev. Cheryl Moore Adamson, Conway, SC Historian

  • “Reconstruction: Its History, Meaning and Legacy”
  • “How Briggs v. Elliott Became Brown v. Board”
  • “The Whittemore Racepath  Historical Society’s Efforts to Save Whittemore Elementary School”

The activities of the programs can continue in the community upon conclusion of the series. For more information, contact Communications Coordinator, Tiye Barnes, To learn more about this series, call 803-771-2477.


About South Carolina Humanities

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c)3 organization is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos, and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.