VFH Grants – Make The Ground Talk

Grants  •  News

<p>Video still from Make the Ground Talk early video.>

Video still from Make the Ground Talk early video.>

Bound volumes of documents, Amelia County Circuit Court Clerk's office. Photo by Erin Hollaway Palmer.
Bound volumes of documents, Amelia County Circuit Court Clerk’s office. Photo by Erin Hollaway Palmer/Make the Ground Talk.

In June 2013 the VFH Board of Directors awarded 11 grants including $5,000 to support pre-production costs for a one-hour documentary film, Make The Ground Talk.

The documentary uncovers the histories of African American communities in Tidewater Virginia that were uprooted in the years following WWI, through the federal government’s exercise of eminent domain.

Make The Ground Talk will show what remains of places like Uniontown, Acretown, Hampton’s “Slabtown,” and Magruder—cemeteries, eroded foundations of homes, photos, and documents—as well as living communities such as Highland Park, Lackey, and Grove where the displaced resettled.

The most important elements of this legacy, however, are the intangible ones: the experiences of the people who lived in these once thriving communities, and their memories.

To gather these stories, project directors Brian Palmer and wife Erin Hollaway Palmer are traveling across the Tidewater region conducting interviews and combing though court records, gathering as much information as they can about these displaced communities.

VFH is proud to support their efforts as well as those of all our grantees. Since 1974, we have awarded more than 3,000 grants to museums, public libraries, local historical societies, colleges and universities, and other organizations in every region of Virginia—and occasionally beyond.

VFH grants explore the histories, traditions, and communities that make up the Commonwealth, as well as books, films, many forms of cultural expression, and the issues and questions that are at the core of the human experience.

VFH Open Grants are awarded in two cycles each year—in December and June. Discretionary Grant proposals are accepted year-round. Prospective applicants should see our applications guidelines; the VFH staff is also available to provide assistance and advice.

In June, 2013 grants were awarded to the following organizations:

Amherst Glebe Arts Response, Inc. (AGAR) ($5,000)
First Person Accounts of Twentieth Century Amherst County Schools
A community oral history project focusing on the experience of segregated education in Amherst County and the impact of desegregation on the lives of teachers, students and parents.

Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia ($7,500)
Leigh Street Armory
Production of a traveling exhibit exploring the history of Richmond’s Leigh Street Armory, described as “one of the most iconic buildings in Virginia’s African American history”, and now the home of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center.

The College of William and Mary ($4,700)
Community Conversations as Transformational Learning Experiences
A series of community conversations and dialogues exploring African and African American resistance to slavery and the process of reconciliation and inter-racial healing.

The Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest ($6,000)
Facing the Past, Freeing the Future: Slavery’s Legacy, Freedom’s Promise
A two-day symposium on the legacy of racial slavery in Virginia and the United States and how museums, historic sites and other public institutions can use the interpretation of slavery to advance a public dialogue on race and racism.

Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society ($3,000)
To Kill A Mockingbird and Southern Culture
A one-day symposium focusing on the novel To Kill A Mockingbird and the its meaning in light of the history of racial segregation on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Fractured Atlas ($5,000)
Make the Ground Talk: Bringing to Life the Vanished Black Communities of Tidewater Virginia
Research and script development for a one-hour documentary film on the histories of African American communities in Tidewater Virginia that were uprooted in the years following WWI, through the federal government’s exercise of eminent domain.

George Mason University ($2,500)
Fifty Years of Reston Past and Future Reston: Educators, Learners, and the Community Coming Together
Development of a web portal to facilitate use of an existing community archive history of Reston, Virginia.

Lonesome Pine Arts and Crafts ($1,500)
Mountain Clans Reunion
A series of public dialogues and related programs exploring the history of the central Appalachian region in conjunction with the 50th anniversary performances of “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine.”

Middlesex County Museum and Historical Society ($5,000)
Clerk’s Office Educational Component
Research leading to the development of an exhibit using local court cases and other primary documents from Middlesex County to explore broader issues in local and Virginia history.

Norfolk State University ($5,000)
1619:  The Making of America
A two-day conference — the second in an annual series leading up to 2019 — exploring the meaning of the events of 1619 and “The Making of America.”

Paul D. Camp Community College  ($7,500)
Working for Peanuts, Oral Interviews
A series of oral history interviews with key individuals involved in peanut farming and marketing in Virginia’s Western Tidewater region, leading to the development of a community archive and documentary film on the same subject.

VFH Grants

VFH accepts proposals from nonprofit organizations seeking funding to develop public humanities programs for audiences in Virginia. Open Grant program deadlines are April 15th and October 15th.