VIDEO: Penn Center Community Conversations, Spring 2022

Penn CenterCulture and Community at the Penn Center held two community conversations this spring, the program’s first public events since launching in 2021. Both conversations were part of the Global Georgia Initiative public events series of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. Video of the events is below.


Heirs’ Property: Land, Culture, and Community

• April 11, 2022

This online conversation explores the ways in which family land preserves culture, provides sustainability, and connects us to history and each other.

Panelists include Beaufort, S.C. City Councilman Mitch Mitchell; Tracy McCurty, director of the Black Belt Justice Center; Willie Heyward, regional counsel for Heirs’ Property Law Firm; Odetta MacLeish-White, Director of Georgia Initiatives at the Center for Community Progress; and moderator Rosalind Bentley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.



Sacred Spaces: The Penn Center, Belief and Belonging

• April 30, 2022

This conversation explores the spaces where creative power, cultural heritage memories, and practices treated with reverence exist.

Panelists include artist and storyteller Natalie Daise; Griffin Lotson, manager of the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters; and artist and activist Charmaine Minniefield. Dr. Valerie Babb, Andrew Mellon Professor of the Humanities in the departments of African American Studies and English at Emory University, moderates the discussion.

Dr. Melissa L. Cooper, associate professor of history at Rutgers University-Newark and author of Making Gullah: A History of Sapelo Islanders, Race, and the American Imagination, was unable to attend in person and provides her remarks in a separate video.

The panel discussion was followed by Charmaine Minniefield’s on-site projected installation, “The Praise House Project: Remembrance as Resistance, Preserving Black Narratives.”

In-person conversation at Penn Center:

Remarks by Dr. Melissa L. Cooper:

Citations for videos and images:

1. President hunts from ox cart in dixie wilds–outtakes. (Fox Movietone News Story 1-644.) Fox Movietone News Collection. Moving Image Research Collections. University of South Carolina.

2. Sandy Island–Huntington–home movies. (Huntington 14.) Anna and Archer Huntington Home Movies. Moving Image Research Collections. University of South Carolina.

3. Hunting photos: University of Georgia Marine Institute Library

*Photos of Penn Center classes from