SC Humanities Awards More Than $50,000 in Major Grants

The South Carolina Humanities Board of Directors awarded more than $50,000 in Major Grants to 8 cultural organizations after a September 27, 2019 Board Meeting in Columbia.

The awards were selected through a competitive application and review process and are made possible by SC Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Matching community support for the 8 awarded projects totaled: $299,673.

A list of awarded grants is provided below:

Sponsoring Organization: Center for Civil Rights History and Research, University of South Carolina
Project Title: Justice for All: South Carolina and the American Civil Rights Movement (Traveling Exhibit)
Project Director: Bobby Donaldson
Awarded: $8,000; Cost-share: $60,496
The Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina will create a traveling exhibit based on the archival exhibit “Justice for All: South Carolina and the American Civil Rights Movement” that was on display at the Hollings Special Collections Library from February – August 2019. The traveling exhibit will include interpretive panels; video, audio, and interactive elements; reproductions and images of items in University collections; artifacts; and supplemental K-12 teaching resources. They anticipate the exhibit to travel for two years, reaching at least eight local museums and public libraries around the state.

Sponsoring Organization: Spartanburg Philharmonic
Project Title: Discovering the Banjo
Project Director: Dr. Peter B. Kay
Awarded: $7,000; Cost-share: $116,360
The Spartanburg Philharmonic will present a series of outreach programs, including film screenings and a teaching artist residency, to accompany two performances by noted banjo performers Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn that are part of their regular season and their Bluegrass Spartanburg program. Throughout the month of January 2020, the Spartanburg Philharmonic will partner with the Spartanburg County Public Library and the Carolina Music Museum in Greenville to present two free public screenings of the film “Throw Down Your Heart,” a feature-length documentary that shares Fleck’s journey through Africa to trace the banjo’s origins. The screenings will include introductions by humanities scholars and moderated discussions. Additionally, there will be two outreach programs to students: a teaching artist residency at Cleveland Academy of Leadership in Spartanburg and an essay contest and mini masterclass for students with the Young Appalachian Musicians (YAM) program in Pickens County. The two public performances are scheduled for January 31 and February 1, 2020.

Sponsoring Organization: Costal Carolina University
Project Title:
 Gullah Geechee Community Day
Project Director: Alli Crandell
Awarded: $8,000 Cost-share: $8,400
Coastal Carolina University in partnership with the City of Conway will present Gullah Geechee Community Day on March 7, 2020. The cultural heritage event will include free programs across the city such as presentations, vendors, and cultural performances. There will be several programming themes: Healthy and Historic Cooking Demonstrations, Property Rights and Activism Programming, History and Culture Project Presentations, and a History Harvest to gather local community stories and artifacts. The Gullah Geechee Community Day has been scheduled to coincide with the last day of the second annual International Gullah Geechee and African Diaspora conference at Coastal. The goal of the project is to foster a dialogue between community members, organizations, and initiatives as to how to preserve and perpetuate Gullah Geechee culture and communities in the region.

Sponsoring Organization: Blythewood Historical Society and Museum
Project Title: Exhibits, Phase II
Project Director: Staci Richey
Awarded: $4,000; Cost-share: $4,000
The Blythewood Historical Society and Museum will implement the second phase of a major overhaul of the museum. They will create exhibits covering topics of Blythewood history, such as commerce, education, religion, medicine, transportation, and agriculture. They expect the new exhibits to be installed by May 2020, and they will host a grand reopening at that time. The exhibits will consist of panels, displays, and possibly some interactive components, like a touch screen.

Sponsoring Organization: The ETV Endowment of South Carolina
Project Title: Gullah Roots: Back to Sierra Leone
Project Director: Betsy Newman
Awarded: $8,000 Cost-share: $83,537
South Carolina Educational Television will create a multi-platform project titled Gullah Roots: Back to Sierra Leone that will include a 30-minute broadcast program, an interactive website, and a collection of assets for teachers and students. Gullah Roots: Back to Sierra Leone will follow thirty members of the South Carolina Gullah community as they travel to Sierra Leone on a cultural heritage journey. The trip to Sierra Leone will take place in December 2019 – January 2020, and three project personnel from SCETV will travel with the members of the SC Gullah community to film their interactions and experiences. The half-hour documentary will be scheduled for broadcast on SCETV in 2020 and will be offered nationally to PBS stations through APT or NETA.

Sponsoring Organization: Clemson Humanities Hub
Project Title: Preservation Across the Disciplines, 2019-2020 Clemson Humanities Hub
Project Director: Lee Morrissey
Awarded: $6,000; Cost-share: $12,097
The Clemson Humanities Hub will present a series of programs during the 2019-2020 academic year that focus on the theme “Preservation” from a variety of angles, including cultural preservation, textual preservation, biological preservation, preservation of history and the arts, and more. Speakers will include authors John Lane, Drew Lanham, Matthew Desmond (Pulitzer Prize Winner), Nikky Finney, and Christina Sharpe; Joy Bevins, Curator of the International African American Museum in Charleston; David Houston, former Curatorial Director of the Chrystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas; possibly Russel Townsend of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee; and possibly Gordon Hunter, editor of the American Literary Review. Events in the series will take place both on campus and around Pickens County through strategic partnerships with groups like Keowee Key and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Sponsoring Organization: SC Archives and History Foundation
Project Title: “To preserve us from utter ruine”: The Revolution of 1719
Project Director: Patrick McCawley
Awarded: $5,370; Cost-share: $6,782.50
The SC Department of Archives will present an original exhibit titled “To preserve us from utter ruine”: The Revolution of 1719 from December 2019 through December 2020. December 2019 is the 300th anniversary of this little-known revolution that overthrew proprietary rule and made South Carolina a British royal colony. The exhibit will include manuscript acts of the period, period maps, pamphlets, and documents of the revolutionary convention to tell the story of this revolution and its impact on the state in an accessible way. They will also launch a virtual exhibit in February 2020, and a grand opening featuring the humanities scholar will take place in December.

Sponsoring Organization: Penn Center, Inc.
Project Title: Penn Center’s Heritage Days Celebration and Symposium: Reaching Back and Looking Forward: Black Judges and Lawyers Fighting for Civil Rights and Social Justice
Project Director: Victoria Smalls
Awarded: $5,000
Cost-share: $8,000
Penn Center will host its 37th Heritage Days Celebration on November 7 – 9, 2019. On Friday, November 8, they will present a special educational symposium titled “Reaching Back and Looking Forward: Black Judges and Lawyers Fighting for Civil Rights and Social Justice.” The symposium will include three one-hour panel sessions about how black judges and lawyers brought about change in civil rights and social justice for African Americans. Topics for the sessions include the impact of three HBCU law schools; the contributions of various individuals who changed the landscape; and some of the most challenging issues of today that organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center address. Potential featured speakers include Danielle Holley-Walker, Judge Elaine Mercia O’Neal, Brian Hicks, Maureen Costello, Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Judge Joseph McDomick; Ernest “Chip” Finney; and I.S. Leevy Johnson. There is a registration fee of $25/person for the symposium.

For more information about any of these grant-supported projects, please contact T.J. Wallace at 803-771-2477.