Hinds Community College’s Utica Campus has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to highlight the work of the campus’ founder, William Holtzclaw, a pioneer in African American education.
Black Man’s Burden: William Holtzclaw and the Mississippi HBCU Connection will contribute to a growing body of research and interest in the “Little Tuskegees” as important forerunners of the Civil Rights Era in the Deep South.
William Holtzclaw is the founder of the Utica Normal and Industrial Institute, which later became Utica Junior College, and is now the Utica Campus of Hinds Community College. The campus still has its status as an HBCU (Historically Black College and University).
This two-year research program is designed to equip faculty and student-scholars to explore themes in Holtzclaw’s writing in humanities courses, combined with the development of a Summer Teachers’ Institute and teaching resource kit that will be used by other institutions to extend the work beyond the institution.
The work will be focused on the critical study of Holtzclaw’s 1915 autobiography as an important marker of African American education in the Deep South. One outcome of the project will be to publish a digitally typeset edition of Black Man’s Burden, with critical notes, to support student study both at the high school and college level through our summer teacher’s institute and humanities course.
The co-directors of the project are Jean Greene, head librarian and Holtzclaw Collection Archivist, and Dan Fuller, English instructor on the Utica Campus, who is also the 2015-2016 Mississippi Humanities Teacher Award recipient for Hinds.
“Students have struggled with the text of the book,” Greene said. “The timeline is not linear so students have difficulty keeping the process of the creation of the school in context. An annotated version of this book will help students and faculty understand who Holtzclaw was and why his founding of this school is important in the Mississippi Black Experience.”
Fuller said he is eager to connect students with the work.
“I am thrilled that the NEH has recognized the importance of Dr. Holtzclaw’s legacy here in Mississippi. His story of perseverance in the face of adversity is one that deserves a wider audience. As an instructor, I’m excited about the opportunities to engage our students directly in this research.”
This project builds on the work the William H. Holtzclaw Library spearheaded with the Utica Institute Traveling Exhibit and the Utica Normal and Industrial Institute collection at the Mississippi Digital Library.
The project, like all NEH awards, has gone through four levels of review to reach the award stage.
Level 1: Knowledgeable persons independent of the agency read each application and advise the agency about its merits.
Level 2: NEH’s staff synthesizes the results of the outside review and prepares a slate of recommendations for the National Council on the Humanities.
Level 3: The National Council meets in Washington, DC, to advise the Endowment’s chairman on applications and matters of policy.
Level 4: The chairman considers the advice he or she has received and makes the final funding decisions. All levels of the review process prior to the chairman’s decision are advisory.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.
As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with more than 170 academic, career and technical programs. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolled nearly 12,000 credit students in fall 2014. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC