Kicking Up the Dust
By Rhonda D. Jones, Ph.D.
Kicking Up the DustOct 15, 2020
Move to What Moves You: Creating Real Value in People, Property, and Places
Michael Verville is a Public Historian who specializes in historic preservation and restoration. A third-generation drywall and plaster tradesman, Michael learned about building and construction from his grandfather and uncles. In this interview, Michael discusses how, after working several years as a manual laborer, he faced a cross-road about his future and strategized how to improve his work-life balance. With the encouragement of his supportive wife Hilary, he rationalized his educational pursuits by first obtaining his graduate equivalency diploma (GED). Motivated by an interest in History, he enrolled in North Carolina Central University to become a k-12 teacher. Michael was an older student and a committed scholar who quickly acclimated to the academy. His academic success led to his participation in the UNC-MURAP (Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program) summer research fellowship. After earning a bachelor’s degree in History, he enrolled in the graduate Public History program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where he honed his craft in preservation. After spending five years of marketing and executing programs for the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, in 2018, Michael and Hilary founded Verville Interiors & Preservation. As the lead craftsman, Michael repairs historic cemetery monuments. Michael’s wanderlust and incurable interest in restoring historic environments have led him to study stone masonry throughout the United States and Stirling, Scotland. When not traveling, he spends his spare time at home in Oxford, North Carolina, with Hilary and their five beagles. Currently, he serves as President of Duke Homestead Education & History Corporation and on the Board of Directors of Historic Eagle Lodge Foundation. He is a proud Freemason, member of Eagle Lodge #19 in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and a former Ambassador of the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford.
Abdoulaye Samaté: Entrepreneur & Global Thought Leader
29-year-old Abdoulaye Samete is a creative, social entrepreneur whose work environmental and business activities impact lives by being a positive change in his community. After making the difficult decision to discontinue his studies in American Literature at Cheikh Anta Diop University he was guided to other avenues to cultivate a more sustainable world. He is the co-founder of PermaSchool, a non-profit ecological organization that plants trees in schools. He also co-founded Teranga Legacy, which promotes academic and cultural exchange programs with students from over 100 American Universities and High Schools with the Council of International Educational Exchange (C.I.E.E). He also owns a fashion brand called Sam_And_Jo, which emphasizes local consumption. Having earned a diploma in business and entrepreneurship at the US embassy Dakar, he had the opportunity to become part of a training session at the American Center Dakar (ACD). That experience led him to his participation in the YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) program, an entrepreneurial leadership training program for young people between the ages of 18 and 35. With more than 60% of the population in Senegal being under the age of 25, the YALI program in sub-Saharan Africa provides in-person and online training, networking, and professional development opportunities.
RJ Ramey: Let's Make History Together
RJ Ramey is the founder & Creative Director of Auut Studio, which produced the digital project MonroeWorkToday.org. Based in San Francisco, California, the studio was started in 2015 to raise the bar on creating digital resources for history teachers and museums. Highlighting the intellectual history of people of color, Auut Studio is unique for embracing creative new methods that inspire and encourage young people to use media to create and critically analyzed their own interpretations of the past. In 2019 RJ launched "PlainTalkHistory.com" a collaborative umbrella among scholars, history teachers, and digital designers. Guided by a Board of Advisors, Auut Studio voluntarily develops or redesigns websites, lesson plans, and other teaching activities that are accessible via tablet or smartphone. RJ is on a mission with #PlainTalkHistory to eliminate the technical barrier that keeps us from designing the curricula materials we've all been waiting for.
Olivia Dorsey Peacock: Digital Nomad & Family Historian At Your Service
A creative technology professional, Olivia Dorsey Peacock’s varied experiences have given her a broad understanding of what’s possible with technology. Having earned BS and MS degrees in Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a minor in African American Studies, Olivia developed a digital community archive for the Marian Cheek Center for Saving and Making History and Culture and "Franklin Memories" a digital archive of historical photos from families in Franklin, North Carolina, which includes her own ancestral line. As a web developer, she specializes in the creation of family history websites and blogs. Her ultimate goal is to minimize obstacles to learning and researching African American [Family] History. Last year, she launched “Digital Black History,” a searchable directory of Black History projects, and “Unlock the Records,” an interactive guide that helps one research African American ancestors. She is also the host of "GenTech," a new YouTube series that shares methods for using technology to help people research, collaborate, and share their family history in new ways. Currently, she is hard at work redesigning "Franklin Memories" and continuing to develop new digital tools to aid in Black History and genealogy research. Learn more about Olivia’s work at OliviaPeacock.com
Fatou Diop: Education is a Passport
A dedicated scholar, who is deeply committed to education and language arts, Fatou Diop is a Master's level 2 student specializing in American literature, Pan Africanism, and Caribbean Studies at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Dakar, Senegal. In the interview, Fatou speaks candidly about Islamaphobia and the challenges of living in a patriarchal society. A masterful polyglot, she works as a study abroad coordinator at the West African Research Center (WARC). In addition to her course work, Fatou covers local stories as a reporter and director at Infoslinetv, an independent television station. Passionate about being a positive role model for her peers, she provides mentoring and serves as an advisor for Queen Sheba Village, a nonprofit human rights organization that empowers women and girls in M'Bour, Senegal. When she's not studying, working, and mentoring, Fatou spends her leisure time learning Spanish, reading literature, and writing poetry,
Pat Harris: Structural Egalitarianism
Marcellaus A. Joiner: Connecting the Dots
Dr. Armondo Collins: My Trope as a Father, Scholar & Digital Humanist
A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Dr. Armondo Collins holds a Ph.D. in English Composition and Rhetoric. With research interests centered on African-American rhetoric and literary studies, he has authored publications about Black masculinity, African American religion, and Black Nationalist rhetoric. Currently serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the African-American and African Diaspora Studies Department at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, he also directs the Digital Media Commons in Jackson library. Adamant about the need to tell one's own story, he recently visited his city to interview his friends and local residents for a mini-doc series that explores the community's response to George Floyd's murder and the history of the over-policing of Black bodies.
Queen Sheba Cisse: Knowing of Africa While Growing Into Myself
Monifa Pendleton: Bon Vivant
Passionate about creating opportunities for others, Monifa Pendleton has a generous nature. A woman of many talents and gifts, she is a global visionary who believes in living her life to the fullest. Her ambition to live an ex-pat life in France and West Africa was inspired by her mother's sense of wanderlust. Confident, poised, and blessed with refinement she has a radiating smile that garners compliments from everyone around her. Whether it's having an eye for fashion, seeking epicurean delights, or mastering the art of travel Monifa recognizes beauty in everything.
Conversations that reflect the power of personal and communal real-world experiences that transports and connects us to art, history, cultural heritage, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and digital technology.