AWARDS & PRAISE

Significant Grant Awards ( 1998 – 2018)

The major funding source for our work has been the National Endowment for the Humanities ( NEH) an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is the largest funder of humanities programs in the United States. Because institutions throught the nation compete for these grants, it is a prestigious honor to receive them. NEH has generously supported professional development programs, materials and media development, and a broad variety or educational and public projects. The majority of funding has been for the Crafting Freedom Workshops. In addition to the significant NEH grants listed here, small grants and in kind ocntributions and donated services have also been received totalling approximately $1,000,000 since 1998.

1997–1998: Focus Grant

$ 26,598

The Focus Grant was a curriculum infusion project that used the life and work of Thomas Day to teach eight teachers in Durham, NC about 19th century African-American history.

1999–2002: Exploring the World of Thomas Day

$230,000

Exploring the World of Thomas Day is an interactive, multiple award winning CD-ROM for 4-9 grade students developed with an NEH materials grant titled: Thomas Day, Cabinetmaker, and the Free Black Experience of the Upper South. It received an award of excellence from Learning and Technology journal as well as numerous national and international awards for games. It was the first “smart game” NEH funded.

2003-2004: “Crafting Freedom: Thomas Day and Elizabeth Keckly, Black Artisans, Artists and Entrepreneurs in the Making of America”

$300,000

“Crafting Freedom: Thomas Day and Elizabeth Keckly, Black Artisans, Artists and Entrepreneurs in the Making of America” is a grant for an NEH Landmarks workshop offered to 200 teachers, in partnership with the North Carolina Museum of History as sponsor.

2002-2003: “Let It Shine”

$ 225,000

“Let It Shine” was a dissemination grant for the CD-ROM and “Thomas Day Furniture Kit” produced with the prior grant. It resulted in an online course in black history for teachers. Fourteen teams of teachers participated in a two-week workshop.

2004-2005: “Crafting Freedom: Thomas Day and Elizabeth Keckly, Black Artisans, Artists and Entrepreneurs in the Making of America”

$225,000

“Crafting Freedom: Thomas Day and Elizabeth Keckly, Black Artisans, Artists and Entrepreneurs in the Making of America” is a grant for the NEH Landmarks workshop offered to 150 teachers in partnership with the North Carolina Museum of History as sponsor.

2005-2006: “Crafting Freedom: Thomas Day and Elizabeth Keckly, Black Artisans, Artists and Entrepreneurs in the Making of America”

$155,000

“Crafting Freedom: Thomas Day and Elizabeth Keckly, Black Artisans, Artists and Entrepreneurs in the Making of America” is a grant for the professional development workshop offered to 100 teachers, in partnership with the North Carolina Museum of History as sponsor.

2006–2007: “Crafting Freedom: Thomas Day and Elizabeth Keckly, Black Artisans, Artists, and Entrepreneurs in the Making of America”

$96,465

“Crafting Freedom: Thomas Day and Elizabeth Keckly, Black Artisans, Artists and Entrepreneurs in the Making of America” was a two-week NEH Institute for 30 teachers, based in North Carolina with the Apprend Foundation, Inc. as sponsor, the first institute the organization did as an independent not-for-profit entity.

2006–2007: Film Planning Grant

$24,801

The “Film Planning Grant” enabled the development of the Preliminary Treatment, and further research and planning for the film. This was awarded for the documentary-in-progress: “The Thin Edge of Freedom: Thomas Day and the Free Black Experience (1800 – 1860).

2007–2009: “The Crafting Freedom Materials Development Grant”

$194,750

“The Crafting Freedom Materials Development Grant” is a major materials development project, which resulted in online lesson plans on nine little-known African American figures; a website with links; short videos, PDF slide shows, and other resources. This website is used by teachers throughout the country and continues to expand.

2009–2010: Script Development Grant

$65,000

The Script Development Grant enabled the script for The Thin Edge of Freedom: The Life and Times of Thomas Day.

2009–2010: Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant

$25,000

The Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant funded collaboration for planning a mobile technology enabled tour called “Crafting Freedom Along Highway 86: Discovering Hidden History with Mobile Technology.” This was research for a tour through “Thomas Day Country” which spawned another state grant for a mobile tour of the Union Tavern. It was developed in partnership with the Media Laboratory at (CUNY) the City University of New York.

2010–2011: Crafting Freedom: Black Artisans, Entrepreneurs, and Abolitionists in the Upper South (A Landmarks of American History Workshop)

$172,823

This grant enabled 80 teachers to come to North Carolina to study Thomas Day, Elizabeth Keckly, and other little known black figures of the antebellum South. There were twice as many applicants as spots indicating a strong demand for this subject matter.

2011–2012: Crafting Freedom: Black Artisans, Entrepreneurs, and Abolitionists in the Upper South (A Landmarks of American History Workshop)

$172,823

This grant enabled 80 teachers to come to North Carolina to study Thomas Day, Elizabeth Keckly, and other little known black figures of the antebellum South.

2012–2013 Crafting Freedom: Black Artisans, Entrepreneurs and Abolitionists in the Upper South ( A Landmarks of American History Workshop)

$174,000

The grant enabled 80 teachers to come to North Carolina to study Thomas Day, Elizabeth Keckly and a dozen other little known black figures of the antebellum South.

2016–2017 Crafting Freedom: Black Artisans, Entrepreneurs and Abolitionists in the Upper South ( A Landmarks of American History Workshop)

$178,498

The grant enabled 80 teachers to come to North Carolina to study Thomas Day, Elizabeth Keckly and a dozen other little known black figures of the antebellum South.

PRAISE

“This was the most rewarding workshop that I have ever attended. I am a guidance counselor and I learned so much to take back and share with my staff and the inmates that I work with in the prison where I work…”

“This was an amazing journey back in time, made fascinating by the fact that the people we studied were not well-known historical figures, but “regular” people who were impacted by the events of the mid-1800’s, and who themselves made an impact on North Carolina and beyond. I know that I will look for the lesser known contributors in the field in which I teach, so that my kids will be able to ‘discover’ how every person’s contribution is significant.”

“I have been privileged to participate in other NEH Landmark programs, and I thought I gained new ideas and methodologies, but this program changed me–the way I think, and they way I will approach my teaching going forward. I wish I could emphasize how much this workshop has changed many of my thoughts and intentions.”

“This experience opened my eyes to an entirely new realm of the African-American experience during the Civil War era. Being from the South, we were always taught that ‘free blacks’ were those above the Mason-Dixon line. I never realized how influential many free blacks were in the South. I anticipate using many of the life stories of the persons we studied when we get to this historical period. The drive, desires, and ‘craftiness’ of these people show a personal strength that isn’t presented as often as it should be…’

“I teach special education students with cognitive impairments. I will use the information on how the ‘freedom crafters’ without much formal education were able to have businesses and to pursue greater opportunities and even freedom for themselves and family members… the lesson on overcoming stereotypes will be very helpful for my students.”

“This has made a profound impact on my teaching. Without this workshop I would still be speculating and foraging to put pieces in place to teach about this era of history in NC. The plethora of documents, information and slave narratives at my disposal is priceless.”

“Crafting Freedom was an enlightening experience. I am embarrassed at how much I learned! The biographies were inspiring, informative, and all about character. I am the character education point person at my school and the person who coordinates career education. This workshop was all about these two essential parts of my job.”

“The history and contributions of Thomas Day, Elizabeth Keckly, etc. needs to be brought to the light in textbooks and history itself. I really enjoyed the connections the workshop allowed me to make… It was a beautiful experience and I now feel as though I can offer more about history of African Americans in North Carolina to my students, and I am proud to do so.”

“The (Crafting Freedom) Materials website should be required not only by every teacher in North Carolina, but also any teacher who has any teaching dealing with slavery, economics, class structure in society or history. In other words, this workshop can benefit ALL teachers of ALL grades, in ALL areas of study. “

Awards of Recognition

Award of Excellence – (1 of 25) -2003 -“Exploring the World of Thomas Day” (EWTD) – Technology & Learning Magazine.

Exemplary Program Award, “Let It Shine: Disseminating African American History and Culture Across the Curriculum, ” awarded by the Education Division of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) , 2004.

Silver Reel of Excellence “Exploring the World of Thomas Day”, Interactive Multimedia, 2004.