This segment of VFOA seeks to collect, compile, and disseminate narratives from this diverse and growing region. One branch focuses on gathering and disseminating stories of local African-American life in order to provide insight into the experiences of this ethnic group in Tennessee. In addition to providing new insights into how living under segregation shaped individuals' childhood dreams, educational experiences, and sense of self and community, the project explores subsequent effects of those experiences on the lives of African Americans as they went on to pursue dreams, raise families, and understand themselves in relation to their increasingly multi-national and multi-cultural community and region. The other branch centers on collecting narratives of Caribbean, Latin American, and African immigrants to the region, providing a basis for educational materials, programs, and policies that advance inter-ethnic understanding and education.
We have begun conducting interviews in the region, in addition to helping local community organizations with the planning and enacting of programs. Our priority has been and will continue to be building relationships with local partners, identifying mutual interests, and undertaking collaborative strategic planning and program development based on those interests. If you are interested in having us work with your community, organization, or school, feel free to contact us. This work is being supported, in part, by grants from the Vanderbilt International Office, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Humanities Tennessee, the Department of English, and the College of Arts and Science Dean's Office.