Funded Grants

Southern Women Writing America between the World Wars

This grant supports a partnership between the Wilma Dykeman Legacy and the Buncombe County Public Libraries, to host a 2018 series of lectures, documentary film screenings, and book club discussions to introduce Ashevillians to four important Southern women writers.

The years from World War I to World War II constituted one of the greatest periods of productivity in American literature. The names and novels of Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner are well known to many, but few Americans know of Lillian Smith, Caroline Miller, and Elizabeth Madox Roberts – although one of them won the Pulitzer Prize and the other two earned international reputations.  Another fourth featured woman author will be, Mildred Haun, wrote a remarkable short story cycle revealing little-known facets of American society and culture.

Each session will be led by a humanities scholar who will lead the public through a discussion of these authors. The lecture will be followed with a book club discussion of the author’s work the following week. 

Pride and Pain: Remembering the Polio Hospital Site

This grant supports the creation of a traveling exhibit and three public programs commemorating and honoring the contested history of the Central Carolina Convalescent Hospital. The first event is on the 70th anniversary of the polio hospital opening; the second, on World Polio Day; and third on International Students Day.

During a polio epidemic Greensboro installed a polio hospital in a former building of the Overseas Replacement Depot, a military installation where troops were stationed before traveling overseas. In 1948, the Piedmont Triad and surrounding communities banded together, funding and completing construction on the hospital in just ninety-five days. The polio hospital was one of the first racially integrated hospitals in the nation. The hospital declined in importance as the threat of polio diminished, and it closed in 1961. Two years later, the city used the site as a makeshift prison for high school and college students fighting segregation, many of whom stayed in the hospital with limited supplies for nearly three weeks.

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly Bicentennial Symposium

This grant supports the Historic Hillsborough Commission's events to mark the 200th anniversary of the 1818 birth of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly, who lived at the Burwell School Historic Site from 1835 - 1842 as an enslaved member of the Burwell household. Their year-long commemoration includes a series of programs which started February 11, 2018 and consists of exhibits, lectures and dramatic representations.

The North Carolina Humanities Council’s grant supports the culminating scholarly event, a symposium held at a local African American church, featuring several of the most distinguished Keckly scholars from across the nation on November 10 and 11. This will be followed by a "pop-up museum" for young historians, led by Keckly's premiere biographer. The event will be opened by Dr. Michelle Lanier, Director of the NC African American Historical Commission, who will read aloud a Governor's Proclamation declaring November 10, 2018 to be Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly Day in NC.

Our Voices Will Be Heard

This grant supports the interdisciplinary public humanities project, "Our Voices Will Be Heard." This project immerses the audience in the world of the Women’s Suffrage, recreating the urgency of the cause and marches and bringing the experience to life through Virtual Reality. The project features an orchestral concert and related community engagement offerings built around the themes of gender equality, racial equality and social justice as fundamental human rights. The centerpiece of the concert is the World Premiere of the first-ever orchestral work incorporating Virtual Reality and a live symphony orchestra. In celebration of the Voting Rights Act, the orchestra will perform the American premiere of Florence Price’s newly discovered "Ethiopia’s Shadow in America." Ms. Price was the first African American composer ever to be performed by a major symphony. This work was discovered in a forgotten collection of papers in an attic in Chicago, and has only been performed once, by an orchestra in the United Kingdom.

Accompanying the concert is a series of community engagement events that further address the themes addressed in the musical program including: panels, Q&As, and an interactive, contextual display of voting rights movements, the culmination of a semester-long project by NC State Graphic Design students will complement the concert. The project is a collaboration with internationally-acclaimed composer Aleksandra Vrebalov, NC State Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Derek Ham, NC State College of Design graduate students and the community members and students of the orchestras.

Jane Austen Summer Program

This grant supports scholarships for 8-10 North Carolina Public School teachers' to attend at the 2018 Annual Jane Austen Summer Program (JASP). The 2018 conference celebrate the bicentennial of the publication of Northanger Abbey. Her first novel to be completed for publication in 1803, Northanger Abbey did not get published until after her death, in 1817. In juxtaposition with Frankenstein, Mary Shelley's highly influential work of 1817, JASP 2018 will explore the Gothic in all its forms and appearances: in literature, architecture, fashion, and trace its influences, particularly on the horror genre in popular culture today.

The conference provides educators with an opportunity to learn about new scholarly research, as well as gaining a general appreciation of English Literature and an understanding of the culture, life and writings of Jane Austen. Each day includes a plenary presentation by noted national scholars; roundtable discussions addressing historical and contextual issues (politics, material culture, music, dance, science, religion) and topics in Comparative Literature; theatrical performances, readings, concerts of period music, art and rare book exhibits, film screenings, and a ball.

June 14-17, 2018

Freight Train Blues II

Sponsored by Music Maker Relief Foundation

This Grassroots grant provided funding for the fourth annual Freight Train Blues concert series, in May/June 2018. The series will include live Blues music performances on four Friday evenings from 6:30pm-8:30pm, and will be offered free to the public at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market. The performances will include educational introductions crafted by Zoe van Buren, M.A., advised by Music Maker’s Founder, Timothy Duffy, M.A., delving into the history of the music presented and the importance of North Carolina’s musical heritage to our culture today.

Freight Train Blues will present senior traditional artists, whose music has been passed down through generations. Attendees will experience traditional music live while learning more about under-recognized Roots musicians of our region. The performance series will increase appreciation of the music of the American South, and make the case for North Carolina’s ongoing significance in the story of American traditional music.

ISLA Immersion for Spanish Language Acquisition

Sponsored by ISLA Immersion for Spanish Language Acquisition

This Grassroots grant provided funding for an interdisciplinary panel discussion for teachers and school administrators designed to reflect on how to interpret and analyze and these findings and incorporate them into curriculum and classroom experiences. The event brings togehter scholars and community leaders to exchange ideas, interpret findings and share perspectives with local educators on how bilingualism, biliteracy and cultural immersion affect children’s’ brain development, academic and social capabilities, and cultural identity.

"Bilingualism and Multicultural Education: Exploring benefits to cognitive, academic social and identity development"
Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 1:00 pm, St. Thomas More School, Chapel Hill

100th Anniversary of WWI, NC Archives Exhibit

Sponsored by Alamance Community College

This Grassroots grant provides funding for a community education day at the Alamance Community College (ACC) on March 29, 2018 with programming around the traveling exhibit "World War I 100th Anniversary" from the North Carolina Archives. ACC partnered with area museums to showcase Alamance County artifacts for the day to provide area a true interactive and immersive museum experience. This exhibit included performances by the ACC Chorus, costumed interpreters, activity tables with cryptography exercises, propaganda poster coloring pages, poppy making and victory gardens. The capstone of the event was a middle school and high school poster contest funded by the Scott Collection.

135th USCT "Living History Weekend"

Sponsored by 135th Usct Research Team Inc.

This Grassroots grant supports the "135th United States Colored Troop Living History Weekend" which is a weekend of celebration and education of an untold story of the “lost troop”, formed in Goldsboro, North Carolina on March 27th, 1865; the 135th United States Colored Troop. All of the events and activities are designed to share this unknown story, the personal stories of the men and to celebrate their part of our history. A two week-long pop-up museum will be set up to encourage area students to learn the history of General Sherman’s March from Atlanta to the Grand Inspection march through Washington, DC that passed through Goldsboro, NC. The "Living History Weekend" begins Friday, April 6th  2018 and will feature a weekend long encampment site situated on the spot where General Sherman established his headquarters during his time in Goldsboro. 

North Carolina: The New American Heartland

“North Carolina: The New American Heartland” is a multi-dimensional initiative enlisting scholars, journalists, educators, artists, musicians, cultural voices, economic forecasters, and policy experts to consider and expand on these questions from their various perspectives. Through a series of regional and statewide initiatives, and highlighted by a two-day gathering at the National Humanities Center on September 27–29, 2017, we will explore the current and emerging identities of North Carolina, assess our opportunities and challenges, and jointly imagine how we might more effectively rally and coordinate the state’s considerable economic, political, cultural and educational resources to ensure a brighter future.