Hartsville-based group gets grant to support ‘Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic’

The Hartsville-based WeGOJA Foundation, formerly the South Carolina African- American Heritage Foundation, has been awarded funding from South Carolina Humanities to support its project, “Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic.” The goal of the project is to give African-Americans statewide the opportunity to share stories, images and other materials to build a collective memory of how they lived, connected, loved, found hope and survived COVID-19, a major health crisis. The funding will allow the WeGOJA Foundation to complete the documentation, develop exhibits and public programs for the project. More details about the exhibits and public programs will be made available as they are developed. The mission of South Carolina Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. This not-for-profit organization presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. The WeGOJA Foundation supports the efforts of the South Carolina African-American Heritage Commission to identify and promote the preservation of African-American Heritage in South Carolina. For more information contact executive director Jannie Harriot at 843-332-3589 or wegojaexecdir@wegoja.org. The WeGOJA Foundation also has been awarded funding from South Carolina Department of Archives and History to support its “Historic Green Book Survey and Virtual Tour” project. The goal of the project is to conduct a detailed survey of extant buildings that once housed businesses listed in the Negro Motorists’ Green Book, a travel guide that provided African American travelers information about businesses that accommodated black customers to avoid the embarrassments, difficulties, and dangers caused by southern Jim Crow laws and de facto segregation in other sections of the country. The Foundation will use the funds to research, document, photograph, and catalog extant Green Book sites in six South Carolina counties — Richland, Charleston, Chesterfield, Greenville, Florence and Marion — an important step to preserve these historic spaces. Also, a user-friendly web platform for educators and diverse audiences will feature a revised edition of the SCAAHC’s publication “A Teacher’s Guide to African- American Historic Places in South Carolina” with lesson plans related to extant Green Book sites and a digital publication, “The Historic Green Book Tour,” will be developed.

Author: Rachel Howell

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