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Participant name: thomas
Organization name: Clemson
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GI-269711-20

Clemson University (Clemson, SC 29634-0001)
Rhondda Robinson Thomas (Project Director: August 2019 to present)
Call My Name: The Black Experience in the South Carolina Upstate from Enslavement to Desegregation

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.

Project fields:
African American History; Public History

Program:
Exhibitions: Implementation

Division:
Public Programs

Totals:
$400,000 (approved)
$400,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2020 – 4/30/2023


PY-263730-19

Clemson University (Clemson, SC 29634-0001)
Rhondda Robinson Thomas (Project Director: May 2018 to November 2021)
Call My Name: Digitizing African American Heritage in the Greater Clemson, South Carolina Community

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.

Project fields:
American Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Common Heritage

Division:
Preservation and Access

Totals:
$11,165 (approved)
$10,746 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 5/31/2021