AHA-NEH SHARP Grant for African American History in Gaston County

What is the Project?

The Gaston County Museum of Art & History was one of the national recipients of the American Historical Association’s Grants to Sustain and Advance the Work of Historical Organizations Program in 2022-2023 (funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities) for the research of four African American sites relevant to Gaston County history. These four sites are being researched and investigated to be dedicated by the Gaston County Historic Preservation Commission. Knowledge gained will also be added to the interpretation of the Gaston County Museum of Art & History.

The sites we are looking at with this grant are:

  • The two black Hospitals located in Highland Community, Gastonia, NC
  • Lincoln Academy in Kings Mountain, NC
  • First Baptist Church in Dallas, NC
  • The John Biggers Home (also the studio of Jim Biggers) in Gastonia, NC


Who is conducting this research?

Our History Fellow is Lisa R. Withers. Lisa is a historian who values partnering with community members to preserve, examine, and share information about the past. She is experienced in engaging diverse audiences about North Carolina’s 19th and 20th century African American history through exhibit curation, public programs, and interpretive tours. Her professional experiences include working in university archives, historic house museums, historic sites, local history museums, government agencies, and teaching college-level history courses. Lisa holds a BA in African & Afro-American Studies with a History Minor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a MA in History with a Museum Studies Concentration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is currently a doctoral candidate at North Carolina State University.

Who can I contact with my questions?

If you do not already have a contact for this project, the best place to start is with Alicyn Wiedrich. Alicyn is the Curator of the Gaston County Museum and is also the lead on the AHA-NEH SHARP Grant.

How Can I Get Involved?

There are two main ways you can contribute to this project. The first is to share your stories and memories with the museum through audio or written submissions. The second is to donate photos, documents, or other objects to the museum.

Some Guidelines for Submitting:

  • Written memories should be sent in a Word document or PDF
  • Audio memories can be recorded using Voice Memos on your smart phone (or comparable voice recording application
  • Please include your name (as you want it to be recorded) and contact information

By submitting an audio or written memory you grant full authorization to listen to, transcribe, save, and possibly be contacted for a full oral history. Memories will not be shared outside of the museum. Memories will not be added to the permanent collection, but will be used to gather information about our community history. Primarily, memories will be used for research purposes through the AHA-NEH SHARP Grant.

Audio and written memories should be sent to the Collections Manager at