Michelle Lanier

Michelle served as the first executive director of North Carolina’s African American Heritage Commission, which strives to preserve, promote, and protect the state’s African American history, arts, and culture for all people. With roots in North Carolina on both sides of her family, she has familial ties to Historic Stagville, the state’s African American Music Trail, the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum (Palmer Memorial Institute), Black Wall Street, and many of the state’s historically black colleges and universities. She has had the honor of growing the impact of two cultural heritage trails–The African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina and Freedom Roads. Additionally, she has worked in leadership roles with several initiatives funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, including the Gathering Place Project and the Green Books’ Oasis Spaces. Michelle continues to use her background as a folklorist, public historian, documentary educator, oral historian, and cultural preservationist to connect communities to the rich and transformative power of North Carolina’s African American heritage.

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Angela Belcher Epps

Angela Belcher Epps is the author of a novella, Salt in the Sugar Bowl (Main Street Rag, 2013). She has contributed to three anthologies: All

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LeJuane Bowens

LeJuane (El’Ja) Bowens is an award-winning spoken word poet, host, speaker, workshop facilitator, and author. Born in Detroit, Mich and raised in Lima, Ohio El’Ja

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