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Turning Points in History Grant


The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University is delighted to announce the recipients of our 2021-22 Turning Points in History Grant Program. These 6 outstanding projects explore the theme of “Turning Points in History” from diverse perspectives and will produce a range of outcomes that advance history in the public interest.

The Columbus Museum Logo

This project seeks to trace the history of civil rights activism in the Chattahoochee River Valley of Georgia and Alabama. A team led by Rebecca Bush (Curator of History, The Columbus Museum) and doctoral student Mickell J. Carter (Department of History, Auburn University) will conduct up to ten interviews with current and former residents of the Chattahoochee River Valley who played a role in the Civil Rights Movements between the 1950s and the 1970s. These interviews will be the core source of a documentary that will explore the relationship between past and present civil rights activism in the region. The team will work with K-12 educators to make the documentary accessible to middle school children and create four lesson plans based on Georgia educational core standards. The Museum will also mount an exhibition related to the history of local civil rights activism.

Science History Institute Logo

The “Knowing Water,” project led by Dr. Jesse Smith, Research Curator and Exhibition Developer at the Science History Institute (Philadelphia), seeks to expand our understanding of “turning points” in environmental history and the changing relationships between scientific knowledge, environmental materiality, and political power since the mid-20th century. The project traces early efforts to address pollution, soil erosion, and other environmental challenges that transcended state boundaries in the Northeast. Funds will be used to produce a digital “storymap” to accompany the Institute’s exhibition Downstream, which explores more than 200 years of water analysis and water protection in the United States.  

Still from the Many Moon documentary

“Many Moons” is a hybrid documentary/fiction film led by social documentarian Chisato Uyeki Hughes in partnership with the Humboldt Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity (HAPI). The film examines the rounding up and banishing of the Chinese community living in Eureka in 1885 in which over 300 people - over 10 percent of Eureka’s population at the time - were forced out of Chinatown and the surrounding areas and put on two steamships to San Francisco after mounting Anti-Chinese sentiment in the county. The expulsion was a turning point in the history of the West as a new form of ethnic cleansing, representative of the beginnings of anti-Asian sentiment in the settlement of the U.S. The mythology of the so-called “last Chinaman of Humboldt”– Charlie Moon– serves as the impetus to explore evidence of other Chinese arrivants who may have survived despite the constant threat of violence during 60 years of enforced exclusion– many of whom found refuge with local Yurok, Hoopa, and Karuk tribes. Many Moons weaves together a story of presence and absence, oscillating between the search for ‘other Charlie Moons’ as current Chinese residents of Humboldt recover their predecessors. Funds will be used for post-production work on the film. Funds will be used for post-production work on the film.

Native Circles Podcast logo

Natives Circles is a podcast produced by historian Dr. Farina King (Bilagáanaa Diné) and writer Sarah Newcomb (Tsimshian). The podcast focuses on Native American and Indigenous histories from Indigenous voices and lived experiences. Funds will be used to create podcasts that explore turning points in Native American and Indigenous history.

Philadelpiha Necrographies logo

“Philadelphia Necrographies” is a project led by art historian Dr. Hilary Whitham Sánchez (Villanova University) that will trace the history of museum practices in Philadelphia as they relate to the collection of African art and materials at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Penn Museum since the 1930s. Funds will be used to support archival research and the production of a report that will be shared with the public and museum professionals at a time when museums around the world are attempting to decolonize their collections and reckon with the legacies of their colonials pasts. Students in Dr. Sánchez’s course on Arts of Africa will conduct original research on the collections and contribute to the final report.

Human Rights Coalition logo

The “Prison Abolition Archive” is a collaborative project between local archivists, including Simon Ragovin (Drexel University) and Beaudry Allen (Villanova University) and activists  Reggie West (Human Rights Coalition), Jackson Kusiack (Human Rights Coalition) and B. Preston Lyle (Human Rights Coalition). The Human Rights Coalition (HRC) is a grassroots organization comprised of currently and formerly incarcerated people, their families, and supporters committed to ending the mass incarceration epidemic. Funds will be used to create the "Prison Abolition Archive" (PAA) to document and preserve the administrative records, surveys, legal documents, 10,000+ letters from incarcerated people, and other archival materials collected by HRC over the last 20 years.


The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest
St. Augustine Center, Room 410
Villanova University
Villanova, PA 19085

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