Penn Center Conversations

Penn Center

Culture and Community at the Penn Center will hold two community conversations each spring. Each conversation will bring together academic and community experts and local stakeholders to discuss issues of relevance to the Sea Islands region: Its culture, its environments, and its people.


2022 Penn Center Conversations

Penn Heirs' PropertyHeirs’ Property: Land, Culture, and Community

• Monday, April 11, 2022

Virtual event

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

Panelists include Emory Campbell, Culture and Community at Penn Center community research partner; Odetta MacLeish-White, Director of Georgia Initiatives at the Center for Community Progress; Beaufort, S.C. City Councilman Mitch Mitchell; attorney Cherese Handy; and moderator Rosalind Bentley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Video of the conversation:


Penn Sacred SpacesSacred Spaces: The Penn Center, Belief and Belonging

• Saturday, 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