The Periwinkle Initiative is a public humanities and education initiative dedicated to preserving cultural heritage associated with enslaved Americans. The Initiative’s core project is the National Burial Database of Enslaved Americans – which will be the first and only national repository to document individual burials and burial grounds of enslaved Americans.
The Periwinkle Initiative derives its name from the periwinkle flower that certain scholars believe was the most common wildflower brought to gravesites of enslaved Americans. This perennial flower has guided researchers to many abandoned burial grounds that would have otherwise gone undetected.
Sandra A. Arnold
Founder & Director
Sandra Arnold is the founder and director of the Periwinkle Initiative, a humanities and education initiative dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage and public memory of enslaved Americans. The Initiative’s core project is the National Burial Database of Enslaved Americans - which will be the first national repository to preserve data on burials and burial grounds of enslaved Americans.
Ms. Arnold is a public historian from rural Tennessee where members of her family were once enslaved. She earned her B.A. in History from Fordham University and is the incoming 2016 Graduate Fellow for the Study of the Public History of Slavery at Brown University, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice and the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities & Cultural Heritage. She has co-produced, and participated in, public programs with the United Nations Remember Slavery Programme, and is currently an institutional partner with the UNESCO Remember Slavery Initiative. Ms. Arnold's additional research and interests include racial reconciliation, photography, and filmmaking.
Vice President, Resnicow & Associates
Elizabeth Chapman is a Vice President at Resnicow + Associates. She has more than 30 years of experience in communications and has worked extensively with non-profit cultural, educational, and arts institutions in strategic planning, program development, and media relations. Through her work at R+A, she has developed communications campaigns for: the Foundation for the National Archives for the opening of the Archives’ museum facility and their celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation; Thirteen/WNET, New York’s public media provider; the 150th anniversary of the historic Woodlawn Cemetery in New York; the Association of Art Museum Directors; the Massachusetts Historical Society; and the launch of the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, during the centennial year of the Nobel Prize. Prior to joining R+A, she served in the communications department of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Before her work at the museum, Ms. Chapman was a publicist at Bantam Doubleday Dell generating coverage for numerous New York Times bestsellers. Ms. Chapman received a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University in 1983.
Project Manager, WNET New York Public Media
Amanda Granger is a producer at WNET Education. She manages outreach initiatives and creates PBS LearningMedia resources connected with WNET’s national broadcasts. She has managed outreach for The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama, Stories of Champions (American Graduate Day) and Shakespeare Uncovered, and has created educational resources for Finding Your Roots and American Masters. Before starting at WNET, she was a professional actress at the Tony Award-winning Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and an English and Social Studies teacher in Houston, Texas. She is also an experienced instructional coach, and has worked with organizations like Teach for America, MATCH Education and The New Teacher Project to help improve teacher practice and student achievement. Ms. Granger graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a B.A. in Global Studies, and has M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Technology, Innovation, and Education.
Founder & CEO, Isotope Films
Chiemi Karasawa is an an award winning NYC based filmmaker who founded Isotope Films in 2007 to develop and produce non-fiction content for all media. Her films have premiered at Sundace, Berlin and Venice Film Festivals, won numerous awards including an Emmy and Oscar nomination (“The Betrayal” 2009), Best Documentary Award (“Billy The Kid”) at SXSW, LAFF, Melbourne, Full Frame, Edinburgh, and Audience Awards at Chicago Int’l Film Festival (“Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me”) and the Hamptons Int’l Film Festival (“Love, Etc.”). All films have been distributed theatrically, and/or on HBO, OWN Network, PBS and on DVD/VOD, through Netflix, iTunes and Amazon. Prior to her work in non-fiction, she worked as a Script Supervisor in feature film, television and commercials for more than 15 years alongside notable directors: Martin Scorsese, Steven Frears, Spike Jonze, Larry Clark, Sam Mendes, M. Night Shamalan, David Fincher, Rebecca Miller and Jim Jarmusch. She has lectured at The New School, SVA and NYU on Documentary Film, and has served on the screening committee for Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund and the Spirit Awards.
Filmmaker & Cinematographer
Academy-Award nominated Director of Photography ELLEN KURAS ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) is one of the outstanding pioneers in cinematography today. An unprecedented three-time recipient of the Sundance Film Festival’s Best Dramatic Cinematography Award, she is well recognized for her cinematography on the visually impressive ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and BLOW, starring Johnny Depp. Kuras was first widely recognized for her black and white cinematography on SWOON, her first feature as a DP, for which she earned many cinematography awards. She directed, shot and produced THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON) her directorial debut and longtime personal project which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2009. THE BETRAYAL was also nominated for a SpiritFilmmaking in 2010.
Second Story is a pioneering interactive media company with studios in Portland, Atlanta, and New York. The firm is known for interactive storytelling in many digital formats for a wide range of brands and cultural institutions. Notable projects from recent years include the National Civil Rights Museum, the Ford Alumni Center at the University of Oregon, the Vault of the Secret Formula exhibit at the World of Coca-Cola, and the media for the Age of Mammals exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. They have designed interactive Web sites and installations for the National Archives, the museum at Gettysburg National Military Park, the Library of Congress, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, National Geographic, Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Grammy Museum.
Education Director, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, Yale University
Thomas Thurston is the Education Director for the Gilder Lehrman Centerr for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University. He holds a B.A. in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MPhl in American Studies from Yale University. Prior to coming to the Gilder Lehrman Center he served as the Project Director of the New Deal Network, an educational website developed by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College, Columbia University. For his work developing the New Deal Network he received the first annual award for "Best Multimedia Resource" from the American Association for History and Computing and a "Best of the Humanities on the Web" citation from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Tom has led week-long NEH workshops for K-12 teachers, has acted as a consulting historian for several Teaching American History programs, and has served as a curriculum developer for WNET's Educational Technologies Department, including the documentary series "The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow" and "Slavery and the Making of America."
Director, The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition
B. Anthony Bogues
Director, Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice
Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary
Time Warner, Inc.
Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History
Senior Field Officer, Preservation Division
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Yvonne L. Moore
Founder, Principal Advisor
National Program Manager
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
National Park Service
Founding Director, Tusculum Institute
Sweet Briar College
Heather A. Williams
Presidential Professor & Professor of Africana Studies
University of Pennsylvania
UNESCO Slavery and Remembrance Initiative
Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Abolition, and Resistance at Yale University
Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice at Brown University
National Park Service
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
James Madison's Montpelier
Andrew Jackson's Hermitage
The National Civil Rights Museum
Sylvester Manor Educational Farm