This Proud Home: Grassroots Museums, Historic Preservation, and Social Change in the Rural and Coastal South


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships


Afro-American Studies


"This Proud Home" employs an interdisciplinary methodology drawing from history, ethnography, and landscape studies to examine the development of grassroots museums in historically Black rural, agro-urban, and coastal communities. Identifying the development of Black grassroots museums as a social movement in the broader historical struggle of African descendants for liberation, human rights, social and economic justice, and political power – beyond existing as repositories for information and artifacts – grassroots museums also function as sites of resistance. These museums play critical roles in place-making and place-keeping, serving as catalysts for community development, helping communities shape identities, fostering social cohesion, advocating for social change, and politically empowering residents in changing landscapes. This project investigates and recounts the narratives of museum inception, community mobilization, resource acquisition, curatorial decision-making, and establishing these grassroots museums as viable and sustainable institutions in different social, political, and economic contexts.