In response to the church tragedy in Charleston, S.C., and through the support of Google, the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture; the Coastal Community Foundation’s Lowcountry Unity Fund; and the International African American Museum are working together to cultivate discussions about race.
Google will award a grant to the Avery Research Center in the amount of $125,000. The College of Charleston Foundation will establish an education initiative on race and social justice in response to the recent events in Charleston. Through a collaboration that includes the Avery Research Center, the African American Studies Program, the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative, and multiple community partners, the education initiative will facilitate a dialogue on race, justice, and reconciliation in Charleston and surrounding communities.
“For 150 years Avery has been dedicated to African American education and documenting the black experience,” College Dean of Libraries John White said. “This award will allow the faculty and staff at the Center to play a critical role in promoting a more complete understanding of our shared past. It is our sincere hope that we can foster a discussion on important issues of race and reconciliation in our communities.”
Google, which has a data center located at the Mt. Holly Commerce Park in Berkeley County, S.C., has committed $375,000 in the hope that these resources will serve as a springboard for community conversations.
“The African American Studies Program at CofC is uniquely situated here in the Lowcountry,” Program Director Conseula Francis said. “So much of African American history and culture has roots here and those roots reach out across the country and around the globe. Talking seriously and openly about race and social justice here in Charleston can go a long way in facilitating these conversations elsewhere.”
Google’s grant will support the building of the International African American Museum in Charleston as well as the following nonprofit organizations:
Coastal Community Foundation of SC’s Lowcountry Unity Fund – $75,000. The purpose of the fund is to promote long-term solutions that address systemic issues contributing to racism and economic inequality in African-American communities. The Foundation will work with other grant recipients on the speaking series and other related activities.
The International African American Museum (IAAM) – $175,000 The International African American Museum, set to break ground in 2017, will communicate the largely overlooked history of African Americans in the Lowcountry, South Carolina, and explain how this population impacted the nation. The IAAM aims to re-center South Carolina’s place in global history, speaking to its pivotal roles during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. Funds will be used to support the construction and operation of the museum.