Faison awarded fellowship, expands research

Published 5:35 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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Virginia Humanities, the state humanities council, has awarded nine individual fellowships for 2023-24.

Latorial D. Faison

A VH news release noted that four of the new fellows are part of the HBCU Scholars Fellowship Program and are affiliated with Virginia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Among those four fellows is Dr. Latorial D. Faison, a Southampton County native who is a poet, author and educator.

“This is our second cohort of HBCU Fellows,” said Virginia Humanities Director of Community Initiatives Yahusef Medina, who launched the program in 2022. “We are excited about the opportunities arising as a result of the work our scholars are doing and look forward to the continued impact their research will have on the humanities and academia more broadly.”

Faison, an assistant professor in the Virginia State University College of Humanities & Social Sciences, wrote the book titled “The Missed Education of the Negro: An Examination of a Black Segregated Education Experience in VA.”

This research examines the mid-20th century Black segregated education experience in rural Southampton County from 1950-70. Faison holds that graduates of Black schools in the segregated South dispel myths and prove that Black educators defied systemic odds to nurture, cultivate and commission Black achievement and excellence in students of color during one of the darkest eras in history.

Faison is now continuing the research project that she started with “The Missed Education of the Negro.”

“I am seeking to connect with educators, coaches, students, graduates — anybody who experienced the Black Segregated Experience anywhere in VA… ‘entire state of Virginia,’” she said. “I’m looking to cover as many schools as possible. I will be at the Grand Reunion for Riverview (High School) on July 29th the entire time with a photographer/videographer/producer, recording footage, responses, as much as possible for the project. 

“If you have a photo, memory, story, tribute… anything that you feel should be heard and documented about this experience, contact me so that I can get you on the list and lineup,” she added.

She will be working on this research project for the next year and possibly beyond. 

“If I have already interviewed you for my previous project (‘The Missed Education of the Negro’) and you’d like to be included in this project, I simply need permission to use that data as well as your name in the upcoming research,” she said. “An email response of permission is acceptable. You can be interviewed twice. This is a continuation of that (previous) project. You can make a submission and be considered for inclusion in this project as well.”

She encouraged people to share if they have friends/family who attended a Black school outside of their area but inside of Virginia.

“Share it with individuals and organizations who may be interested,” she said. “Dominion Energy made this funding possible through Virginia Humanities, and I’m excited to be one of the nine researchers for this year. You may write an essay, story or poem… or share a recording or get interviewed. I am open to every possible aspect and modality for inclusion in this project. If you are interested in a focus group of several individuals/family members to be held at a local church or library in your area, I am open to small focus group sessions as well.”

Faison can be reached at LFaison@vsu.edu, 804-524-5000 or 757-653-5626.