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FSU Constitution Day Project Awarded State Minigrant Impact
Fairmont State News

FSU Constitution Day Project Awarded State Minigrant

Jul 24, 2014

The West Virginia Humanities Council has awarded Fairmont State University and five other nonprofit organizations minigrants in support of educational programming.

FSU’s award for $1,500 will support “We the People: The United States Constitution and Slavery,” a two-day event featuring a symposium and historical portrayals. Admission will be free and open to the public.

“This year marks the 10th anniversary of our celebration of Constitution Day on campus.  With the support of this minigrant, we will expand our Constitution Day activities with a focus on engaging the community at large as we look at the Constitution from a minority perspective, particularly regarding significant events and debates leading up to the 13th Amendment,” said Dr. Deanna Shields, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

On Wednesday, Sept. 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Wallman Hall, a symposium followed by a question and answer session is planned. Ilene Evans will present as Harriet Tubman and Charles Pace will present as Frederick Douglass. On Thursday, Sept. 18, at 9:30 a.m. will be the lecture “Harriet Tubman: We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident,” and at 11 a.m. will be the lecture “Frederick Douglass: In Service of a Reconstructed Humanity.”

After receiving her B.A. from Trinity College in Deerfield, Ill., Ilene Evans completed her master’s degree at East Tennessee State University in the Department of Education with an emphasis in storytelling. She received the Foundation of Freedom Award from Wheeling Jesuit University for her portrayal of Harriet Tubman. She is a Chautauqua scholar and artistic director of Voices from the Earth, an educational touring theatre company that uses history, historical portrayal, cultural preservation, storytelling and theatre to promote social justice. Evans has done extensive research as a Chautauqua scholar in Ohio, West Virginia and Oklahoma, developing presentations of historical women who have contributed to the wealth and welfare of West Virginia and our broader community. Such presentations include Memphis Tennessee Garrison, Carrie Williams, Coralie Franklin Cook and Bessie Coleman. Her specialty topics are the Underground Railroad, Civil War, black women’s suffragists and African American cultural arts history. In 2009, she was selected by the United States Embassy to tour Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Colombia to share her work in the history and culture of African Americans through historical portrayal, literature and music.

Charles Everett Pace has a B.A. in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and  an M.A. in American Studies: History and Anthropology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. As well as being a program advisor at the Texas Union, University of Texas at Austin, Pace has taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Purdue University and most recently at Centre College in Kentucky. His research area is the anthropology of performance, experience and visual communications. He has performed and conducted workshops in hundreds of cities across the United States, as well as, in London. Pace has also conducted performance-based public diplomacy work for the United States Information Agency in dozens of cities in nine countries across east, west and southern Africa.

The following organizations also received minigrants: West Virginia Archaeological Society, “Test Excavations at Fort Blair,” Putnam County; West Virginia University Research Corporation, “Wayne County 4-H Heritage Quilt Trail,” Monongalia County; Alpine Heritage Preservation, “Historic Theater Consultation for Cottrill’s Opera House,” Tucker County; Harpers Ferry Historical Association, “Thunder in the Valley: Sheridan’s 1864 Valley Campaign,” Jefferson County; and Marshall County Historical Society, “Adopt an Artifact Kickoff Event: Cleaning Mona Lisa by Lee Sandstead,” Marshall County.

The minigrants, which are for $1,500 or less, are offered four times per year through the West Virginia Humanities Council, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information about the grants program, contact Amy Saunders Postalwait at (304) 346-8500 or e-mail The next minigrant deadline is Oct. 1. Grant guidelines and applications are available at

For details about FSU’s grant-funded project and for information on academic programs in the College of Liberal Arts, click here.

College of Liberal ArtsConstitution DayDeanna ShieldsWest Virginia Humanities CouncilIlene EvansCharles Everett Pace