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Organization name: University of Connecticut
State: Connecticut
Keywords: gullah (ANY of these words -- matching substrings)
Date range: 2012-2019
Sort order: Award year, descending

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BH-261712-18

University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)
Robert W. Stephens (Project Director: February 2018 to April 2021)
Gullah Voices: Traditions and Transformations

Two one-week workshops for 72 school teachers on Gullah history, culture, and artistic expression.

The University of Connecticut, in collaboration with Penn Center, the Georgia Historical Society and other sites in the Coastal Lowlands, will present two one-week NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops in Savannah, GA on July 8-12 and July 15-19, 2019. The sessions will examine the artistic expressions of the Gullah, direct descendants of slaves who worked the rice plantations on the coastal islands off the shores of South Carolina and Georgia. Their history, stories, beliefs, and creative expressions are critical antecedents to African-American culture and the broader American mosaic, as we know it today. The workshop format will follow the African tradition, where the arts are studied as interrelated living experiences rather than as separate entities. Immersion experiences will take place at Penn Center, St. Helena Island, SC; Sapelo Island, McIntosh County, GA; the Georgia Historical Society and Pin Point Heritage Museum, Savannah, GA.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African American History; Music History and Criticism

Program:
Landmarks of American History and Culture

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$169,833 (approved)
$164,864 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2018 – 12/31/2019


BH-250863-16

University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)
Robert W. Stephens (Project Director: February 2016 to present)
Mary Ellen Junda (Co Project Director: September 2017 to present)
Gullah Voices: Traditions and Transformations

Two one-week workshops for seventy-two schoolteachers on the history and cultural memory of the Gullah people, as expressed through the arts.

The University of Connecticut, in collaboration with Penn Center, the Georgia Historical Society and other sites in the Coastal Lowlands, will present two one-week NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops in Savannah, GA on July 9-14 and July 16-21, 2017. The sessions will examine the artistic expressions of the Gullah, direct descendants of slaves who worked the rice plantations on the coastal islands off the shores of South Carolina and Georgia. Their history, stories, beliefs, and creative expressions are critical antecedents to African-American culture and the broader American mosaic, as we know it today. The workshop format will follow the African tradition, where the arts are studied as interrelated living experiences rather than as separate entities. Immersion experiences will take place at Penn Center, St. Helena Island, SC; Sapelo Island, McIntosh County, GA; the Georgia Historical Society and Pin Point Heritage Museum, Savannah, GA.

Project fields:
African American History; Music History and Criticism

Program:
Landmarks of American History and Culture

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$179,805 (approved)
$179,805 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2016 – 12/31/2017


BH-231258-15

University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)
Robert W. Stephens (Project Director: February 2015 to May 2017)
Mary Ellen Junda (Co Project Director: July 2015 to May 2017)
Gullah Voices: Traditions and Transformations

Two one-week workshops for seventy-two school teachers on the history and cultural memory of the Gullah people through the arts.

The University of Connecticut in collaboration with The Penn Cultural Center in St Helena, South Carolina, requests support from the National Endowment for the Humanities to repeat a Landmarks of American History Workshop, Gullah Voices: Traditions and Transformations. We propose to offer two, one-week workshops for 80 (40 in each workshop) middle and secondary school teachers from across the country to explore the history and cultural memory of the Gullah people through the arts. Gullah Voices will take place July 10-15 and July 17-22, 2016 in Savannah, Georgia, a major urban center of Gullah culture, and will include excursions to Landmark sites throughout the Lowcountry, a geographic and cultural region located along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts that includes the Sea Islands.

Project fields:
African American History; American Studies; Cultural History

Program:
Landmarks of American History and Culture

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$177,917 (approved)
$176,409 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 1/31/2017


BH-50648-14

University of Connecticut (Stamford, CT 06901-2315)
Robert W. Stephens (Project Director: March 2014 to June 2016)
Mary Ellen Junda (Co Project Director: August 2014 to June 2016)
Gullah Voices: Traditions and Transformations

Two one-week workshops for seventy-two school teachers on the history and cultural memory of the Gullah people of Georgia and South Carolina, explored through the arts.

This workshop introduces teachers to the history and rich artistic heritage of the Gullah people, who are direct descendants of slaves who lived on plantations and in farming and fishing communities along the South Carolina and Georgia Sea Islands and coastal lowlands. Their strong community life and geographical isolation enabled the Gullah people to preserve more of the African heritage than other African-American groups in the United States. As a result, the history, stories, beliefs, and creative expressions of the Gullah are critical antecedents to African-American culture and the broader American mosaic, as we know it today. The workshop is based in Savannah, Georgia, to give access to sites of Gullah culture; it incorporates a variety of source types: live performances, sound recordings, written documents, material sites, artifacts, moving and still images, and life-story materials. Each day is organized around cultural themes: Sounds and Traditions: The Sacred World of Black Slaves (Monday); Sounds in Place and Time: The Plantation and the Praise House (Tuesday); Images and Iconography (Wednesday); Stories and Artifacts (Thursday); and Cultural Memories in History: Recollections (Friday). The landmark sites to be visited include Historic Savannah and the Pin Point Heritage Museum; The Georgia Historical Society, a significant archive for primary sources on the Gullah; The Penn Center, a National Historic Landmark on St. Helena Island; and Sapelo Island, a state-protected island located in McIntosh County, Georgia. Directed by Robert Stephens and Mary Ellen Junda (musicologists, University of Connecticut), the workshop features guest presenters Peter Wood (historian, Duke University), Erskine Clarke (historian, Columbia Theological Seminary), Emory Shaw Campbell and Victoria Smalls (historians, Penn Center), Ron Daise (cultural historian, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Commission), Cornelia Bailey (cultural historian and Gullah native), Leroy Campbell (visual artist), and Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters (musicians). Guest lectures explore a wide variety of topics including the story of the African-American religious experiences, the connection between Africa and America, and secular music styles. Participants also attend live performances, workshop demonstrations, and watch the video documentary, The Language You Cry In. Three books have been selected for pre-workshop reading: Lawrence W. Levine's Black Culture and Black Consciousness; Cornelia Bailey's God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man; and Wilbur Cross's Gullah Culture in America. Participants are organized into five-member teams to facilitate interaction and collaboration.

Project fields:
African American History; American Studies; Cultural History

Program:
Landmarks of American History and Culture

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$179,985 (approved)
$179,985 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2014 – 12/31/2015


BH-50522-12

University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)
Robert W. Stephens (Project Director: March 2012 to March 2015)
Mary Ellen Junda (Co Project Director: July 2012 to March 2015)
Gullah Voices: Traditions and Transformations

Two one-week workshops for eighty schoolteachers to explore the history and cultural memory of the Gullah people through the arts.

Two one-week workshops for eighty schoolteachers to explore the history and cultural memory of the Gullah people through the arts. In collaboration with The Penn Center in St. Helena, South Carolina, two music department faculty from the University of Connecticut, Robert Stephens and Mary Ellen Junda, engage teachers in a study of the history and rich artistic heritage of the Gullah people. They observe that the Gullah, also known as Geechee in Georgia, have shaped a distinctive culture within a history of oppression followed by isolation and more recent struggles to preserve their way of life in the face of twentieth-century development. The Gullah people, descended from rice plantation slaves, preserved many common elements of their home culture in Sierra Leone, chief among them music, dance, and oral traditions. Before coming to the workshop, teachers are asked to view the video Family Across the Sea; review materials on Yale University's Gullah website; and listen to examples of Gullah music collected in the 1930s (materials are available on the project website). They are also asked to read God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man by Cornelia Bailey and Black Culture and Black Consciousness by Lawrence Levine. Following a reception on Sunday night featuring a live performance by the Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters, the week begins with historian Cynthia Schmidt discussing West African and American Gullah connections reflected in songs and stories in common, as depicted in the documentary, The Language You Cry In. Historian Erskine Clark (Columbia Theological Seminary) expands upon these comparisons in the domain of religion and religious practices. Mid-week, co-directors Stephens and Junda discuss the historical and cultural contexts of Gullah music and explain Gullah musical styles. Wednesday afternoon at the Georgia Historical Society, teachers examine artifacts, documents, photographs, and other records with a view toward selecting a primary source to feature in the development of their group projects. In addition to the scholarly and archival experts, teachers have opportunities to work with Gullah community members: artist Leroy Campbell; Gullah historians Emory Campbell and Cornelia Bailey; and Mary Moran and her son Wilson, descendants of Amelia Dawley whose recorded song made it possible for scholars to identify precisely the Gullah's African origins. For the day trip to remote Sapelo Island, teachers are accompanied by author and community "griot" Cornelia Bailey, one of the last generation born and educated there. The tour of African-American historical sites in Savannah on Wednesday evening is led by Karen Wortham, who produced the documentary, Journey by Faith: A Story of First African Baptist Church. On the last day, teachers discuss group projects (arranged by grade levels and academic backgrounds) and explore ways to integrate the content of the Landmarks project into their teaching.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Landmarks of American History and Culture

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$191,873 (approved)
$189,604 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2012 – 12/31/2014

Funding details:
Original grant (2012) $179,915
Supplement (2013) $9,689