After-dinner photo with Chef BJ Dennis, visiting artists Tamika Galanis and Anina Major, and UGA and Penn Center staff and supporters.

Angela Dore, Research Coordinator

Angela Dore is the Research Coordinator of “Culture and Community at the Penn Center National Historic Landmark District,” a partnership initiative of Penn Center and the Willson Centerfor Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia, funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College and earned a Master of Arts in Business Design and Arts Leadership from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her interests include art history, cultural and land preservation, and designing multigenerational creative programming and outreach.

Angela Dore

Ed Atkins and Earnestine Atkins, Community Research Partners

Ed Atkins is a third-generation fisherman and owner of Atkins Live Bait and Oysters, whose expertise is in the local maritime practice and culture. Like her brother Ed, Earnestine Atkins is known for being a strong advocate for protecting the traditions, culture, and land of the St. Helena Island natives, who are commonly referred to as Gullah Geechee. The siblings have been leaders in the community for decades.

“The Penn Center is thrilled to welcome Earnestine and Ed Atkins as fellows. They are long-time members of the Penn community who possess deep ecological knowledge and an unwavering commitment to Gullah Geechee culture. Their leadership will greatly enhance the Penn-UGA partnership,” said Robert Adams, executive director of Penn Center.

The role of the community research partners is to help anchor the partnership’s programs in local communities. During their year-long term, Ed and Earnestine Atkins will be engaged to work with the place-based classes, artist residencies, and community conversations that comprise the grant’s major public programs. The project’s first community research partner was Dr. Emory Campbell of Hilton Head Island, SC.

“2024 marks the third year of the partnership’s spring residencies,” said Barbara McCaskill, professor of English, Willson Center associate academic director, and co-principal investigator of the Mellon grant project. “Our paramount goal has been to connect students to community members and experts who share their first-hand perspectives about Gullah history and culture, as well as their lived experiences in coastal Gullah communities like St. Helena Island. Ed and Earnestine Atkins bring to this year’s participants a longtime familiarity with the Island’s coasts and waterways and their inspired commitment to sustaining and respecting these irreplaceable ecosystems.”

The 2024 student research residencies will take place May 15-19 and 21-25 and will be attended by students and faculty from UGA and other regional institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

[Photo: “Ed Atkins walking along the oyster beds, St. Helena Island, SC,” Pete Marovich, 2004-2014. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Pete Marovich]

Ed Atkins walking along the oyster beds, St. Helena Island, SC, Pete Marovich. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Emory Shaw Campbell, Community Research Partner (Emeritus)

The contributions of Emory Shaw Campbell to the cultural and environmental heritage of South Carolina are enormous. A native of Hilton Head Island, SC, Campbell attended Penn School, one of the first schools in the South where formerly enslaved persons and their descendants could receive a formal education. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Savannah State College, and a Master of Science from Tufts University.

In 1980, Campbell became the Executive Director of Penn Center and vigorously embarked on programs to revive the Center’s historical significance and its educational programs and preserve the cultural and environmental assets of the Sea Islands. To help achieve this, he organized the nationally recognized Penn Center Heritage Days Celebration.

Campbell has appeared in many documentaries, news magazines, films and radio and television programs, including “60 Minutes”; “The Today Show”; a PBS special, “Family Across the Sea”; as well as on C-Span’s “Washington Journal.” He has been awarded the Governor’s Award for Historical Preservation (1999), and was inducted into the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame (1999). He was awarded the Carter G. Woodson Award for Civil Rights by the National Education Association in 2006.

In 2010 his essay titled “A Sense of Self and Place: Unmasking My Gullah Cultural Heritage” was published with ten other essays in the book, African American Life in the Georgia Lowcountry by the University of Georgia Press. He received the Environmental Stewardship Award from the SC Aquarium and was awarded honorary Doctors of Humane Letters by Bank Street College, NY in 2008 and by the University of South Carolina, Beaufort in 2012.

Campbell authored the guide book Gullah Cultural Legacies in October 2002 (with second and third editions in 2005 and 2008), and co-authored Gullah Days: Hilton Head Island Before The Bridge, 1861-1956 in 2020.

He retired from Penn Center in December 2002 after twenty-two years. He is currently President of Gullah Heritage Consulting Service, where he conducts institutes on Gullah Cultural heritage and related issues through lectures, short courses and the Gullah Heritage Trail Tours on Hilton Head Island.

Campbell and his wife Emma reside on Hilton Head Island, SC and are the parents of two adult children, Ochieng and Ayoka, and one grandchild, Carver.

Project Steering Committee

  • Dr. Nicholas Allen, Professor in Humanities and Director of the Willson Center for Humanities & Arts, University of Georgia, Athens
  • Dr. Valerie Babb, Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Dr. Barbara McCaskill, Professor of English and Associate Academic Director of the Willson Center for Humanities & Arts, University of Georgia, Athens
  • Mrs. Deloris Pringle, Chair, Penn Center Board of Trustees, St. Helena, SC
  • Dr. Robert Adams, Executive Director, Penn Center, St. Helena, SC


Project Advisory Board

  • Dr. Catherine Adams, Associate Professor, African American Studies, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC
  • Dr. Mona Behl, Associate Director, Georgia Sea Grant, University of Georgia, Athens
  • Mr. Daron-Lee Calhoun II, Race and Social Initiatives Coordinator, and Facilities, Outreach, and Public Programming Coordinator, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, College of Charleston
  • Dr. Corrie Claiborne, Associate Professor, Department of English, Morehouse College, Atlanta
  • Dr. Michelle D. Commander, Deputy Director, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Dr. Emory Campbell, former Director of Penn Center, Hilton Head Island, SC
  • Dr. Vicki Crawford, Professor of Africana Studies and Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, Morehouse College, Atlanta
  • Dr. Elizabeth Engelhardt, Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts & Humanities, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Clint Fluker, Curator of African American Collections, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Dr. Valerie Frazier, Director of the 1967 Legacy Program and Associate Professor of English, College of Charleston
  • Ms. Patrice Green, Curator, African American Collections, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr. Shawnya L. Harris, Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens
  • Dr. Nik Heynen, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, and Co-Director, Cornelia Walker Bailey Program on Land and Agriculture, Sapelo Island
  • Dr. Kathryn M. Silva Hyde, Chair, Department of Humanities, Associate Professor of History, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC
  • Mr. Charles S. Johnson III, Retired VP for External Affairs and General Policy, Tuskegee Institute and Chair, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
  • Mrs. Shana Jones, Associate Public Service Faculty, Carl Vinson Inst. of Government, University of Georgia, Athens
  • Dr. Jaqueline Jones Royster, Retired Dean, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
  • Ms. Georgette Mayo, Processing Archivist, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, College of Charleston
  • Dr. Carolyn Jones Medine, Professor, Department of Religion, and Director and Professor, Institute for African American Studies, University of Georgia, Athens
  • Mrs. Loretta Parham, CEO and Library Director, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta
  • Ms. Chaitra Powell, Curator, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Special Collections Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Lemuel Watson, VP for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, Kinsey Institute, Provost Professor, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Dr. Seretha Williams, Chair, Department of English and World Languages, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, Augusta University, Augusta, GA