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Participant name: thomas
Organization name: Clemson

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Award Number Grant ProgramAward RecipientProject TitleAward PeriodApproved Award Total
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EH-288094-22Education Programs: Institutes for Higher Education FacultyClemson UniversityReconstructing the Black Archive: South Carolina as Case Study, 1739-189510/1/2022 - 12/31/2023$198,317.00Susanna AshtonRhonddaRobinsonThomasClemson UniversityClemsonSC29634-0001USA2022African American HistoryInstitutes for Higher Education FacultyEducation Programs19831701977970

A three-week residential institute for 26 higher education faculty to study ways of reconstructing Black histories, using South Carolina as a case study. 

Reconstructing the Black Archive: South Carolina as Case Study, 1739-1895, based primarily at two institutions located in Upstate South Carolina, aims to uncover ways to understand and reconstruct notions about early Black lives. We will create a community of inquiry allowing us to collaboratively learn analytical strategies from interdisciplinary fields of the visual arts, community-focused research, historical studies, and a swath of other creative fields. Our approach is one of biographical mediation whereby we will take institutional documents, statistics, and seemingly inhumane archival evidence and demonstrate ways that the broad humanities and values can be recognized. We aim to resurrect the hidden narratives of the Black experience in our work.

GI-269711-20Public Programs: Exhibitions: ImplementationClemson UniversityCall My Name: The Black Experience in the South Carolina Upstate from Enslavement to Desegregation5/1/2020 - 4/30/2026$400,000.00RhonddaRobinsonThomas   Clemson UniversityClemsonSC29634-0001USA2020African American HistoryExhibitions: ImplementationPublic Programs40000004000000

Implementation of a traveling exhibition examining the history of the African Americans who lived and worked the land that became Clemson University.

This project records, represents, and solicits the experiences of six generations of African Americans in a microcosm of American history and racial politics-Clemson, SC. Through this one university campus, built on formerly Cherokee land by settlers from the Ulster Plantations of Ireland, we start with the pre-history of the plantation in British colonial settings to tell an intergenerational story of African American life to the present day. Emerging from six years of work documenting, highlighting, and inviting community reflections (with two prior NEH grants), Call my Name assembles an unprecedented volume of materials on African American life in Upstate, Appalachian South Carolina. With this application, we seek $400,000 for the implementation phase of the Call My Name exhibition, including a 2-year staff person. After the conclusion of its three-state tour, the exhibit will be permanently installed in an off-campus, independent location, the Clemson Area African American Museum.

PY-263730-19Preservation and Access: Common HeritageClemson UniversityCall My Name: Digitizing African American Heritage in the Greater Clemson, South Carolina Community1/1/2019 - 5/31/2021$11,165.00RhonddaRobinsonThomas   Clemson UniversityClemsonSC29634-0001USA2018U.S. HistoryCommon HeritagePreservation and Access11165010745.530

A two-day digitization event to collect materials regarding the under-documented contributions and stories of African Americans at Clemson University and from the surrounding community.  In collaboration with local community partners, the applicant would add digitized items to an existing Call My Name community digitization project created in 2014.  The proposed events would incorporate a community stage featuring music, dance, oral history collection, and presentations.  With donor permission, digital objects would be made publicly available on the web site and the South Carolina Digital Archive.

Through Call my Name, a community outreach project I created in 2014, I have collaborated with three local community partners—the Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural Museum in Seneca, SC, the Clemson Area African American Museum, and the Pendleton Foundation for Black History and Culture—to find, document, and preserve the African-American cultural heritage of Clemson University, which was built by convicts on the former Fort Hill Plantation of proslavery American statesman John C. Calhoun in Upstate South Carolina in the early 1890s, and the towns that developed around the higher education institution. I apply for a Common Heritage grant to support the digitization of African American material history that is collected during a two-day Black History Month event in February 2020 for use on the Call My Name website and the Documenting the Clemson African American Experience collection in the South Carolina Digital Archive, and to offer preservation support to the owners of the material.