Centenary announced as partner institution in national multi-year grant addressing legacies of slavery in the United States
SHREVEPORT, LA — The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) has announced Centenary as one of seven Regional Collaboration Partners for a new multi-year initiative, Legacies of American Slavery: Reckoning with the Past. The project, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will engage students, faculty, staff, and community members in research, teaching, and learning activities designed to explore the multiple legacies of slavery in the United States.
Through the project, each Regional Collaboration Partner will create research and learning opportunities for their own campus communities as well as organize community-based events to engage a larger regional and national audience in crucial conversations about race, equity, freedom, political power, and cultural resilience. Legacies of American Slavery is directed by Pulitzer Prize winning historian David W. Blight, Sterling Professor of American History at Yale University and executive director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition (GLC) at Yale’s MacMillan Center.
Principal investigators for the project are Dr. Chris Ciocchetti, professor of philosophy; Dr. Bethany Hansen, assistant professor of biology; Dr. Michael Hicks, assistant professor of education; and Dr. Karen Soul, provost and dean of the College. Patty Roberts, coordinator of grants and faculty endowments at Centenary, provided crucial support for the grant application process.
“This is an exciting opportunity and identifies Centenary as a national leader and hub for research and activities that will impact the more than 700 CIC member colleges, universities, and organizations and also the community in the Shreveport-Bossier region,” said Soul. “Health care providers and patients will be invited to participate in grant activities, and the strong partnerships between Centenary and Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport and the School of Medicine, the Willis-Knighton Health System, and the MLK Health Center and Pharmacy will be central to grant research and activities. We are excited to continue and build on our work with these organizations.”
Centenary will work in partnership with Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, on the topic of “Race, Health, and Medicine.” Centenary’s application for the Legacies of American Slavery initiative explored some of the historical roots of modern racial inequities in access to and quality of health care in Shreveport and the state of Louisiana and set a goal of identifying concrete solutions to address these disparities.
“We believe that we cannot accomplish that goal until we confront and answer the questions surrounding how the legacies of slavery that persist in our communities also persist in the minds and bodies of those living in those communities and affect health and healthcare delivery,” the application states. “Resources developed during this project will make available informational materials and curricular models to help current and future health care professionals consider their patients in a social context and how matters of race influence their care of their patients.”
The CIC has also designated a dozen colleges and universities as Institutional Affiliates for the Legacies of American Slavery project, a diverse list that includes two women’s colleges, five HBCUs, institutions with historical links to slavery, and institutions founded by abolitionists. The Regional Collaboration Partners will begin work this spring directed toward a series of regional conferences to be hosted by the partner institutions during the 2021-2022 academic year.
“I am very grateful to the Centenary faculty who have developed a program that has received this important national recognition,” said Centenary president Dr. Christopher L. Holoman. “Centenary is committed to helping our state and our nation heal the wounds of what has been called ‘America’s original sin.’ Access to health care is one of the critical issues our society faces and since Shreveport is the hub for health care for such a large geographic region, we are excited about the impact this project can have on many people’s lives.”
For more information about the Legacies of American Slavery project, visit cic.edu/LegaciesofSlavery.