Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Historically Black Talladega College in Alabama received a $100,000 gift from alumnus William R. Harvey, who served as president of Hampton University in Virginia for 44 years before retiring in 2022. Half of the donation will be added to the endowment of the college’s museum, which is named for Dr. Harvey. The remaining part of the gift will be used to establish the Oscar L. Prater Scholarship for students majoring in mathematics.

Historically Black North Carolina Central University received a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to chronicle the stories of Black women who have positively impacted Durham, the state of North Carolina, and the United States. The project is entitled “Purpose, Persistence and Power: Pioneering African American Women and their Fight for Racial Justice in North Carolina and Beyond.” The grant, under the direction of Rachelle Gold, an associate professor of English, will also be used to recruit humanities majors, develop an innovative curriculum, and promote the university’s new digital humanities minor.

The University of Kentucky received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to analyze historic places and properties registered in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to find any gaps in cultural minority representations. In the initial data output for Kentucky, researchers found 5 percent of the state’s more than 3,400 sites were labeled as Black heritage. The most recent census data shows 8.5 percent of Kentuckians are Black or African American, and historical data shows approximately 25 percent of all Kentuckians were Black during the Civil War era. The project will focus on identifying any obstacles and finding ways to streamline the process of becoming registered historical sites.

Dillard University, the historically Black educational institution in New Orleans, has received a $700,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a multi-year project in collaboration with the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture. The grant will help strengthen research on food studies, community programming, and fellowships. “Teaching our students the relationship between food insecurity, food deserts, and culture is critical to improving health,” said Rochell Ford, president of Dillard University.

Historically Black Prairie View A&M University in Texas, along with research partners at Texas A&M University, the University of Houston, and the Michigan Aerospace Corporation, has been awarded grants of nearly $5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help support small-scale, underserved, and limited resources farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers of strawberry, edible soybean, radish, and leafy green commodities will be offered an incentive to take up climate-smart practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester more carbon in the soil while improving soil health and production.

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