Projects - Coastal Carolina University
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Projects and Research

The Joyner Institute is an active partner on several grant projects and community-driven initiatives.

Current Grant Projects

Alongside The Athenaeum Press, the Joyner Institute is heavily involved in the multiple major grant projects that collaborate with the local community to help tell the stories of the African Diaspora. 

The Gullah Geechee Digital Project (2018-2022)

Funded by the National Historical Publications & Records Commission and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Gullah Geechee Digital Project is a major digitization initiative in collaboration with the South Carolina Historical Society, Library of Congress America Folklife Center, and the Association for Cultural Equity. The GGDP will digitize more than 6,900 historic records from plantation journals to contemporary oral histories to showcase the diversity and commonalities between Gullah Geechee communities along South Carolina. The project aims to weave together several sites and their stories, from Reconstruction, Civil Rights, and land preservation in five communities: Saint Helena Island, Johns Island, Murrells Inlet, Sandy Island, and Plantersville.

The final project will include a digital archive, immersive historical stories, curricular materials, and a guide to heritage sites around South Carolina.

Grant Team

Principal Investigators

Eric Crawford, Director of the Joyner Institute and Professor of Music

Alli Crandell, Director of the Athenaeum Press and Digital Initiatives


Faculty Advisors

Scott Mann, Production Manager of The Athenaeum Press and Professor of Graphic Design

Susan Bergeron, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Geography

Tim Fischer, Assistant Professor of Music


Grant Assistants

Zenobia Harper

Patricia Mallett

Sara Daise (2019-2020)


Sandy Island School Preservation (2017-2021)

Funded by the National Park Service's African American Civil Rights Grant, the Sandy Island School preservation project is a bricks-and-mortar rehabilitation of the 1932 Sandy Island School in Georgetown County, South Carolina. The project was started after The Athenaeum Press and Joyner Institue director Dr. Eric Crawford published a biography of the Sandy Island Community in 2017. This project has forged a partnership between Coastal Carolina University, Georgetown County, Brookgreen Gardens, and the Sandy Island Community to preserve and expand the history of one of the few extant black rural schools in Georgetown County.

As part of the project, the Sandy Island School has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is pending a listing as a Civil Rights historic site. The school served as an elementary school between 1932 and 1965, and it is the fifth documented Citizenship School in South Carolina.

Grant Team

Principal Investigator: Eric Crawford

Project Coordinator: Alli Crandell

Faculty: David Palmer

Brookgreen Gardens Representative: Robin Salmon

Georgetown County Representative: Ray Funnye

Sandy Island Community Representative: Charles Pyatt


Past Projects

Gullah Geechee Community Day (2020)

Funded by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, SC Humanities, the Horry County Higher Education Commission, the Bunnelle Foundation, and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, the Gullah Geechee Community Day brought together over 600 individuals and more than 10,000 digital participants in a cultural celebration that took over downtown Conway, South Carolina. As the final day of the second International Gullah Geechee and African Diaspora Conference, school choirs, artists and artisans, and food vendors provided insight into the long reach of the African Diaspora. 

International Gullah Geechee and African Diaspora Conference (2019-2020)

The first dedicated conference to Gullah Geechee cultural studies and the many manifestations of the African Diaspora, Coastal Carolina University hosted this event. Major funders include the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, SC Humanities, and the LW Paul Foundation.

Learn More

Explore other related initiatives and Joyner Institue programs.