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 Bowie State University in Maryland received a $150,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to support micro-history projects focused on documenting the lived experiences of the African American community of Tolson’s Chapel in Sharpsburg, Maryland. Sharpsburg was the site of the Battle of Antietam, which was the Civil War’s deadliest one-day battle. In 1866, a chapel was constructed on land donated by an African American couple which would go on to serve as one the earliest schools for former slaves. The two-year grant will fund hiring 10 local community fellows to help research public records and interview members of the Tolson’s Chapel community, as well as the creation of a digital archive and art exhibit. The research will be under the director of Karen Cook-Bell, the Wilson H. Elkins Endowed Professor of history at the university. She is the author of Running from Bondage: Enslaved Women and Their Remarkable Fight for Freedom in Revolutionary America (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Spelman College, the historically Black educational institution in Atlanta, received a $104,000 grant from the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation. The funds will enhance the foundation’s scholarship program at the college to support six students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievements, leadership potential, and a commitment to community service.

Historically Black Fayetteville State University received a two-year, $600,000 grant from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust to support and expand performing and fine arts education at the university. The grant will support scholarships for students studying music, dance, theater, and visual arts, or those studying to teach these subjects in K-12 schools. The grant also will provide funds for instrument repair, acquisition, and rental for student use, as well as community outreach programs at local public schools.

Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, has been awarded a $288,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how gender, race/ethnicity, and other aspects of social identity affect the work lives of faculty in STEM disciplines. The atmosphere on campus will be studied and gauged by a survey that will be sent out to all faculty. In addition, the researchers will analyze institutional data, evaluate policies and practices and interview faculty.

Historically Black Kentucky State University received nearly $600,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study nitrogen management in soybean production to improve seed quality for producers. Previous studies suggest that low protein concentration may be tied to nitrogen levels, so this project will use High Throughput Aerial Phenotyping to evaluate what levels and timings of late-season nitrogen fertilizer application are most effective on soybean yield and seed composition.

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