Crafting a Community-Engaged Approach: Creating Pathways for African Americans in Public History


This project highlights and strengthens African American public history and preservation efforts throughout North Carolina. Museums, historic sites, cultural centers, libraries, and community groups across NC are working tirelessly to preserve and share the state’s rich African American heritage. Since 2017, the NC African American Heritage Commission, along with the UNCG graduate program in Museum Studies and the NCCU graduate program in Public History, have worked to create entry points and pathways for African American students to advance statewide African American heritage work as cultural heritage professionals. Through this project, our team will institutionalize our efforts to help African American students and emerging professionals enter and thrive in the cultural heritage field, and to support grassroots Black history projects. Ultimately, we will:

  • Hold think tanks with Public History and Museums Studies students from across NC
  • Hold skills-based trainings for practitioners and community groups leading Black history projects
  • Develop a strategic plan and an expansive organizational structure for our pathways-building work
  • Host a symposium centered on this work, and aligning work across the state and region
Team Members
  • Torren Gatson, Assistant Professor, Department of History, UNCG
  • Anne Parsons, Director of Public History, Associate Professor, Department of History, UNCG
  • Omar Ali, Dean, International Lloyd Honors College, Professor, African  American and African Diaspora Studies and History, UNCG
  • Angela Thorpe, Director, North Carolina African American Heritage Commission
  • Charles Johnson, Director of Public History, Assistant Professor, Department of History, NCCU
  • Adrienne Nirde, Associate Director, North Carolina African American Heritage Commission
Public Artifacts