Scruggs accepted into fellowship program

By Page H. Gifford

Horace Scruggs, a local educator, musician, conductor, composer, and documentary filmmaker, received a fellowships through the African American Fellows Program as part of the Voices Remembered initiative at Preservation Virginia.  Scruggs was among five Fellows selected on June 10.

During the summer, the Fellows will work with Preservation Virginia staff, learn from mentors, and continue research projects in their communities. The goal is to increase the number of trained community preservationists helping save African American historic sites in Virginia. Scruggs and his other Fellows will network with historic preservation groups and professionals, experience learning by visiting historic sites, and identify pathways to historic preservation careers. Through a grant from the Mellon Foundation, each participant will receive a $10,000 fellowship to help support their research. Final research presentations will occur at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia on August 15.

“We received an incredible response for the second year of the fellowship, with over 40 applications representing preservation projects throughout Virginia and the nation,” said Dr. Winn Bryan, community outreach manager, who leads this initiative at Preservation Virginia. “Although this was a difficult decision once again, the five participants in the second cohort were chosen because of the importance of their research and their commitment to preservation projects that will benefit their communities.”

“We are thrilled with the response to this program and the potential impact of expanding the understanding and research related to African American historic sites and history in Virginia,” said Elizabeth S. Kostelny, Preservation Virginia CEO. “We are grateful for the support of the Mellon Foundation, which has allowed us to increase the number of fellows from three in the initial year to five this year.”

Only two percent of the 95,000 entries on the National Register of Historic Places focus on the Black experience and contributions throughout history. “We must cultivate as many of those interested in telling the fuller Virginia story as possible,” said  Bryan. “We decided to create a group that we refer to as The Collective, comprised of all applicants and those individuals who also want to be involved more in preserving the African American story in Virginia and learn about preservation best practices. The Collective will allow everyone to participate.”

Scruggs, with over 35 years as a music educator, has a Bachelor of music education with a concentration in voice from Longwood University and a Master’s in music education with a choral conducting concentration from Shenandoah Conservatory. He also holds a Certificate in Music Production from Berklee College of Music. He has been an adjunct faculty member at Piedmont Virginia Community College, where he conducted the PVCC Chorus and taught classes in music appreciation and on the history of jazz. As a choral composer and arranger, Scruggs’s publications focus on authentic renditions of African American music. He has also taught classes for the University of Virginia’s Osher Life-Long Institute. Scruggs lectures and concerts, provide in-depth presentations on the history of African American music and cultural history.

Still an active musician, Scruggs turned to another art form after retirement in 2020, He turned to photography and filmmaking and began producing documentary films about African American history and culture. He has produced documentaries for Virginia Humanities, James Monroe’s Highland, the Fluvanna Historical Society, and the Fluvanna Arts Council. His films include “Resilience, Recovery, and Rebirth: Sustaining Hope in Trying Times” (2021), “Reconstructed: The Rebuilding of African-American Communities Through Faith and Education” (2022) “Reclaiming the River” (2022), “Traveling Our Ancestors’ Journey: A Descendants’ Reunion” (2023).

To share the history and culture of African Americans, Scruggs will utilize his Fellowship to locate historic sites in Fluvanna County and engage the community’s descendants in discovering their history.

“I will be locating, documenting, and finding the history behind historical sites in Fluvanna County, particularly sites that are related to the impact of African Americans. I’m focusing on those areas along the James and Rivanna rivers, including the historically African-American communities,” he said. “This includes plantations, churches, cemeteries, stores, and schools. Our Old Stone Jail, Historic Courthouse, and the locks and dams are also included as it was enslaved Africans that built these structures. I will also be creating a short documentary film that includes the stories behind these sites and structures. In addition, I hope to engage the broader African-American community so that our history is not lost.”

Those interested in history, particularly those of their ancestors and their contributions to American culture are important in presenting a realistic view of another time in which these people had their experiences, what those experiences mean, and how they shaped the generations that came after them.

 “I’m very honored by being selected for this as it allows me to work with filmmakers and historians at the state level,” said Scruggs. “I hope to learn ways of preserving history so that we may do it more effectively here in the communities that make up Fluvanna County.”

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138