2020-2022 has been a tumultuous time for cultural heritage institutions across the country, including in North Carolina. Join us for conversations with leading cultural professionals to learn how their institutions navigated our difficult times.
NC Heritage Practitioner 101
Rodney Dawson is originally from High Point, N.C. He received a well-rounded and fulfilling education from Montlieu Elementary, Jamestown Middle, and Southwest High Schools. At each stop, Rodney had teachers that provided care, nurturing, and interest in his well-being and success. Most importantly and along with his mother, they helped developed his desire to serve. Shortly after high school, Rodney entered the U.S. Army and received his first duty assignment in South Korea, followed by the Persian Gulf War, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq.
Upon returning home, Rodney began a career in radio which unexpectedly led to education. All the while, Rodney used his experiences and resources gained from military service to continue his education. Wanting to understand how to best serve students, he then went on to receive an Ed. S in Educational Leadership. At present, Mr. Dawson is pursuing an Educational Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Rodney has worked in education and mass communications for the past 20 years and is always striving to seek better ways to equip and serve our learners to be able compete successfully in our global society. Rodney left the classroom in June of 2018 and today Rodney serves as the Education Curator for the Greensboro History Museum.
Angela Lee is the Executive Director of the Hayti Heritage Center, an historic cultural arts and arts education venue in Durham, NC. The Center serves as a cultural hub for the city’s African American community and provides core programs in visual and performing arts, and offers facility rentals and historic tours. The venue, originally opened as a church in 1891, is listed on the national historic registry.
Lee has served as Executive Director since 2013 and guides the organization in its mission of preserving and advancing the history and culture of historic Hayti and the African American experience through programs that benefit the broader community locally, nationally and globally.
Lee recognizes that the arts are a critical vehicle for social justice and change. Her advocacy and activism extend beyond her work and into the community she serves and the community in which she lives. Her home is Chapel Hill.
Frachele Scott is a native of Oxford, NC. She began studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her B.A. in Political Science in 1999. She moved to Durham to attend law school in 2001. Scott received her Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2004. For just over a decade, she served as manager of two historic site properties with the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. She currently serves as Managing Director of the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice. She serves as attorney, strategic consultant or board member to several institutions and organizations including the Durham County Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC),Oxford United Investors (OUI) and NCCU School of Law's Board of Visitors. Her interests include history, horses, and travel.
Lacey Wilson is the Public Historian at the Albany Institute of Art and History. At the time of recording, she served as Site Manager for the Charlotte Hawkins Brown State Historic Site in Gibsonville, NC where she was honored to continue to tell the story or Dr. Brown and the Palmer Memorial Institute. Lacey holds an M.A. in History with a concentration in Museum Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), where she collaborated on "Etched in Stone? Governor Charles Aycock and the Power of Commemoration," a permanent exhibition and winner of the 2019 Award of Excellence and the 2019 History in Progress Award from the American Association for State and Local History. Prior to the Hawkins Brown site, Lacey worked as a historic interpreter at the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters in Savannah, GA. teaching economics and politics in urban slavery from the 1810s to the 1850s. This work was highlighted in The New York Times and on NPR’s 1A radio show. She is an active member of the National Council of Public History, where she serves on the Advocacy Committee, and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Additionally, she is an active member of the Black Interpreters Guild, promoting black interpreters' work across this country. Her headshot is courtesy of Hunter McRae, an NYT photographer.
Sara Blanchett graduated from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies in 2008, and a Master of Arts in History in 2013. Beginning in the fall of 2022, she will begin her last degree in the Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations doctoral program at UNC Greensboro. She has interned and worked in living history sites, historic sites, art museums, and community museums in North Carolina and Virginia. Sara currently works as the Curator of Education for the High Point Museum. In this role, she provides educational programs of the museum, historical park, and exhibitions for schools and the general public to understand and enjoy.
Bernard George is a retired city planner and historian. A graduate of North Carolina Central University, he has earned membership in the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and gained state and national recognition for his expertise. Bernard's passion for community building and community empowerment, which fuels his active engagement in community affairs, dates to the Civil Rights era and the impact it had on him as a high school and college student. He is an avid historian/preservationist who traces his family's New Bern/Craven County roots back to the late 17th Century. In recognition of his knowledge of state and local African American history, he was among the first persons appointed to serve on the NC African American Heritage Commission. As a member of New Bern's 300th Anniversary Committee, Bernard organized a historic trip to Ghana, West Africa for more than thirty high school students and adults. In addition to serving on several commissions and boards, he has led many city-wide events celebrating African American history and culture. Along with his church and community volunteer work he is a performing artist, historical interpreter, and Civil War re-enactor. The father of four adult children and four grandchildren, Bernard is married to attorney Brenda Carter George.
Dewana Little is a Fourth Generation Native of Asheville NC, a Mother, and a Community Activist. As the full-time Community Relation Officer for Self-Help Credit Union, Dewana also makes time to address the needs of her community as the current Executive Director of YMI Cultural Center, and the Vice Chair of the Reparations Commission for Asheville and Buncombe County. She is the founder of the youth leadership organization, Positive Changes, and serves on the Affordable Housing Advisory Council. " I believe that the preservation of black culture is essential for the truth and reconciliation that is needed to bring balance to this world.