African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Fellows

Since 2018, the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has supported cohorts of scholars, graduate students, creatives, and professionals whose work centers the preservation of Black history and culture in the United States. Throughout the year, fellows develop and implement innovative approaches to preservation through a combination of individual projects and integration into various Action Fund programs. In the past, fellows’ work has ranged from the production of documentary photography exhibitions, work supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities, book projects, and preservation work at Action Fund-supported sites.

We would like to thank the following funders for their support of the Action Fund Fellows Program in 2024:

  • The Ford Foundation
  • The Getty Foundation
  • The Lilly Endowment Inc.

Past funders include: The Jessie Ball duPont Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Knight Foundation

2024 Action Fund Fellows

Dr. Charles Davis II
Conserving Black Modernism Fellow

Dr. Charles Davis II is an associate professor of architectural history and criticism at the University of Texas at Austin's School of Architecture. He is the author of several works including Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style, and he is a co-editor of Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from Enlightenment to the Present.

Bowie Verschuuren

Davóne Tines
Arts & Culture Fellow

Davóne Tines is a critically acclaimed operatic bass-baritone whose work blends opera, spirituals, gospel, and other genres to convey personal stories of perseverance and human connection.

Shayla Martin
Editorial Fellow

Shayla Martin is an award-winning travel and culture journalist based in Washington, D.C. Find her work in outlets including The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Coastal Living, Hemispheres, Veranda Magazine, and more. She is also the founder of The Road We Trod, a bi-weekly newsletter exploring travel destinations through the Black gaze.

Dr. Martha Bouyer
Preserving Black Churches Fellow

Dr. Martha Boyer is an award-winning educator, administrator, grant writer, and curriculum developer whose passion for teaching has taken her around the world. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Historic Bethel Baptist Church Community Restoration Fund and as an Associate Minister and Director of Discipleship at Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Ted Debro

Theodore (Ted) Debro, Jr.
Preserving Black Churches Fellow

Ted Debro is the retired Deputy Director of the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity (JCCEO), in Birmingham, Alabama where he oversaw more than 15 federal, state, and local grants and programs to benefit low-income communities. Since retirement, Ted has continued his passion for his church by overseeing the restoration and strategic planning for 16th Street Baptist Church.

Jack Pyburn, FAIA
Preserving Black Churches Fellow

Jack Pyburn is an historic preservation architect based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has been involved in the preservation of important African American buildings and sites, particularly those associated with the Civil Rights movement, since 1971.

Past Action Fund Fellows

Cameryn Blackmore

Dr. Cameryn Blackmore
AACHAF HBCU Cultural Stewardship Initiative (2021)

Dr. Cameryn Blackmore is a scholar and practitioner from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, dedicated to invoking change within the policymaking arena. Her broad research interests provide an intersection between Public Policy and American Politics, specifically as these fields impact racial and ethnic citizen groups. As a former public administrator for the state of Louisiana, her professional experiences guide her inquiry into providing creative and equitable solutions to both bureaucratic and political institutions to increase responsiveness to marginalized groups in the United States.

As a graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge with her Master of Public Administration, she is dedicated to preserving the historical significance of HBCUs. Dr. Blackmore, a political scientist by training, is interested in illustrating the importance of providing an adequate education for marginalized students. She prides herself on being a citizen committed to activism and empowering the Black community, as well as a scholar committed to her scholarship reaching beyond the ivory tower. Through the AACHAF experience, she hopes to highlight HBCUs' significance and increase resources to educate the Black community.

Dr. Blackmore completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science from the University of Alabama. Prior to her doctoral studies, she obtained her Master of Public Administration from Southern University in Baton Rouge. She also received her Bachelors in Political Science from Southeastern Louisiana University.

Jenna Dublin-Boc

Jenna Dublin-Boc
AACHAF Fellow (2019/2020)

Jenna Dublin-Boc is an assistant visiting professor in Pratt Institute's GCPE Historic Preservation program. She is currently a PhD candidate of Urban Planning at Columbia University GSAPP. Her research examines how community-based organizations of underrepresented groups in New York City utilize city zoning and its associated participatory venues to influence local land use politics. Jenna holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cooper Union and Master's degrees in Urban Planning and Historic Preservation from the University of Maryland.

Previously, Jenna has worked in various professional capacities in historic preservation planning including work as a research consultant with the National Trust for Historic Preservation Research and Policy Lab, International Council on Monuments and Sites IEP participant in Delhi (India), and as a landmarks preservationist with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Cheyney McKnight
Elyse Ketura Butler

Cheyney McKnight
AACHAF Historic Sites Fellow (2021)

Cheyney McKnight is the founder and owner of Not Your Momma’s History. She acts as an interpreter advocate for interpreters of color at historical sites up and down the East Coast, providing them with much needed on-call support. She uses her clothing and primary sources to make connections between past and present events through performance art pieces.

Allison Nkwocha

Allison Nkwocha
Sojourner Truth Memorial Project Fellow (2021)

Allison Nkwocha is a graduate student of landscape architecture and historic preservation at University of Pennsylvania. Her academic interests lie at the intersection of memory, equity, and public space, which she has begun to hone professionally in her work with Monument Lab. She comes to design and preservation from a background in architectural salvage, historic restoration, and community design-build projects.

Hannah Price
AACHAF Fellow (2021)

Raised in Fort Collins, Colorado, Hannah Price (b. 1986) is a photographic artist and filmmaker primarily interested in documenting relationships, race politics, and misperception. Price is internationally known for her project City of Brotherly Love (2009-2012), a series of photographs of the men who catcalled her on the streets of Philadelphia. In 2014, Price graduated from Yale School of Art MFA Photography program, receiving the Richard Benson Prize for excellence in photography.

Over the past ten years, Price’s photos have been displayed in several cities across the United States with a few residing in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Most recently, Price is a Magnum Photos Nominee.

Ms. Price lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.

Brianna Rhodes
AACHAF/Editorial Fellow (2019/2020)

Brianna Rhodes is a journalist and entrepreneur who writes about various topics, including Black culture, diversity and inclusion, race, and social justice. The founder of a freelance creative agency, Brianna Rhodes Writes, she has worked on hundreds of stories throughout her career, reaching Americans across the country, shaping how they view brands, their community, and their culture. She has been published in Blavity, Inc., theGrio, The AFRO-American Newspaper, and the Washington Informer Bridge Newspaper.

Brianna is a native of Kinston, North Carolina. She received her Master of Journalism degree from The University of Maryland, College Park in 2017. She also graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Psychology in 2015.

Yoruba Richen

Yoruba Richen
AACHAF Fellow (2021)

Yoruba Richen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured on PBS, MSNBC, FX, New York Times Op Doc, Frontline, The Atlantic and Field of Vision. Her recent films are the Emmy nominated How It Feels to Be Free and the Peabody- and Emmy-nominated The Sit In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show.

Her film The New York Times Presents: The Killing of Breonna Taylor won an NAACP Image Award and is streaming on HULU. Her film The Green Book: Guide to Freedom was broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel and was also nominated for an Emmy.

Her films The New Black and Promised Land won multiple festival awards before airing on PBS's Independent Lens and P.O.V. Yoruba won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and is a Sundance Producers Fellow. She is a recipient of the Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award and a Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellow. Yoruba is the founding director of the Documentary Program at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

Monique Robinson
AACHAF HBCU Cultural Stewardship Initiative (2021); Sojourner Truth Memorial Fellow (2022)

Monique Robinson is a graduate student in architecture and historic preservation at the University of Pennsylvania. In the Summer of 2021 she was an intern with the National Trust's HBCU Cultural Heritage Stewardship Initiative. In 2022, she was a Sojourner Truth Memorial Fellow and assisted with commemorative placemaking research.

Daniela Tai

Daniela Tai
AACHAF Fellow (2018)

Equal parts artist, dreamer, and rationalist, Daniela Tai seeks to bridge matters concerning preservation, social justice, and urban renewal through the lens of design. While pursuing a dual master’s degree in Architecture and Historic Preservation, Daniela was appointed the first Fellow for the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, cementing her passion for preserving cultural assets and amplifying unrecognized stories. As a practicing designer in Washington, D.C., Daniela now works at Quinn Evans, primarily working on heritage and civic projects that navigate the interplay between quality of place and character of community.

Photo of Candacy Taylor

Candacy Taylor
Green Book Scholar (2019/2020)

Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer, and cultural documentarian working on a multidisciplinary project based on the Green Book. She is the author of the bestselling book Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America (Abrams Books). Taylor is also the curator and content specialist for the exhibition, The Negro Motorist Green Book, which is being toured by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) from 2020 to 2024. Taylor was a fellow at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University under the direction of Henry Louis Gates Jr., and her work has been featured in over 100 media outlets.

Orilonise Yarborough

Orilonise Yarborough
AACHAF Editorial Fellow (2021)

Orilonise D. Yarborough is a historian, facilitator, creative and gummi candy aficionado, based in Durham, North Carolina. Orilonise is a Master's student at North Carolina Central University, where she focuses on public and oral history practice. She has collaborated on history projects with institutions such as the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum Art Lab and Makers Lab DC. Currently, she is completing her master's thesis on the Black Pride movement in the United States. When she's not writing, you can find her baking something delicious, watching a horror movie, or plotting on her next craft project.

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