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Gabrielle Foreman (center) with students Eileen Moscoso (left), Clay Colmon and Alyssa Ashley work on the interdisciplinary public humanities project.
The Colored Conventions Project (CCP),
hosted at the University of Delaware, has been awarded a highly coveted
grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Office of
CCP is an interdisciplinary public humanities project that brings
decades of early African American organizing for legal, educational and
labor justice to digital life at ColoredConventions.org.
This $75,000 grant will support CCP as it expands its collaborative
model, creating digital exhibits with scholars, national teaching
partners and repositories across the country to display the
extraordinary history of black conventions attended by thousands of
African Americans from 1830 through the 1890s.
“The University of Delaware is delighted to host a national project
used by so many Americans and citizens of the world,” UD Provost
Domenico Grasso said. “We are equally proud that it engages students and
scholars from varied fields of study fusing teaching, learning,
research and scholarship for such wide audiences.”
The NEH provides awards to outstanding proposals examined by
independent reviewers drawn from across the nation. In its last five
competitions, the Digital Humanities Start-up Grants program has funded
only 14 percent of the applicants.
“This prestigious award opens up exciting new possibilities for the
Colored Conventions Project,” said faculty director P. Gabrielle
Foreman, the Ned B. Allen Professor of English and professor of history
and black American studies at UD. “It will allow us to work collectively
to link the buried history of black-led organizing to ongoing struggles
for access and justice while adding to the diversity of those who
create public histories in digital spaces.”
CCP identifies and transcribes hundreds of proceedings from the
Colored Convention movement, making these rare documents available in
one place for the first time.
The UD Library has been CCP’s key partner. Scholars, library
professionals and students use the site regularly. More than 1,000
university students from across the country have engaged in original
research based on the CCP’s curriculum, and students in Ohio and
California are creating exhibits that will soon be featured on the
The Colored Conventions Project is proud that the broader public has
been active in the project’s growth, Foreman said. Members of the
African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, which hosted the first
convention in 1830, have transcribed hundreds of pages to make them
fully searchable. One-of-a-kind and previously unknown proceedings
arrive from curators and independent researchers in the United States
“The College of Arts and Sciences is pleased that the NEH has chosen
to recognize this important project,” George Watson, dean of the
college, said. “Thanks to Prof. Foreman’s leadership, the Colored
Conventions Project is a wonderful example of the transformative
scholarship that can occur when students, staff, faculty and an engaged
public work together to tell an important story.”
NEH Chairman William D. Adams has said that the organization
“provides support for projects across America that preserve our
heritage, promote scholarly discoveries and make the best of America’s
humanities ideas available to all.”
The CCP’s goal, Foreman said, is to include a wide and diverse group
in preserving and critically engaging our buried histories -- and to
recover a movement for racial, economic and educational justice that
resonates in our own time.
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