Consulting Producer Valerie Cunningham is an historic preservationist, founder of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail and coordinator of their Sankofa Tours. She is also a co-founder of the NH Women’s Heritage Trail and is an independent researcher, writer and lecturer. Her research formed the basis of the book she coauthored, Black Portsmouth: Three Centuries of African-American Heritage. Cunningham has received many local and national awards, including a Restore America Hero award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She was named 2015 Citizen of the Year by the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce and, in June 2015, was recognized at the New Hampshire Humanities Council’s 40 over 40 Gala, which honored notable writers, filmmakers, teachers, volunteers, civic leaders, philanthropists, and scholars who have vastly enriched human understanding and whose original works and passion for excellence have put NH on the cultural map.
Consulting Producer JerriAnne Boggis came to America from her birthplace in Jamaica for an education and settled in Milford. Formerly the Director of Diversity Education and Community outreach at the University of New Hampshire, Boggis founded and led the Harriet Wilson Project in Milford. Chair of the NH Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights, she is also the current Director for the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail and the Executive Director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire. Boggis was the recipient of the 2015 Martin Luther King Award, presented by the Martin Luther King Coalition a New Hampshire resident whose community work brings the spirit of Dr. King to life. In June 2015, she was recognized at the New Hampshire Humanities Council’s 40 over 40 Gala, which honored notable writers, filmmakers, teachers, volunteers, civic leaders, philanthropists, and scholars who have vastly enriched human understanding and whose original works and passion for excellence have put NH on the cultural map. She has also been named the recipient of the 2017 Seacoast NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award.
Nancy Vawter, Atlantic Media Productions, Producer of this project, received her B.A. in Telecommunications from the University of Georgia, Grady School of Journalism. After working for many years at New Hampshire Public Television and WBUR Public Radio and helping to found a marketing and media production company, she became a principal officer with Atlantic Media and eventually a co-owner. Together with Brian Vawter, she has been nominated for an Emmy, won 14 Telly Awards, 2 Videographer Awards, and other local awards.
Brian Vawter, Atlantic Media Productions, Director and Editor of this project, received his B.A. in Film Production from San Francisco State University; he has over 30 years of experience in the television and film production industry. He has won an Emmy and been nominated for two, and with Nancy, has won 14 Telly Awards, 2 Videographer Awards, and other local awards.
The project director is Burt Feintuch, Director of the Center for the Humanities and Professor of Folklore and English at the University of New Hampshire. Feintuch has published widely on traditional music, cultural conservation, and other topics in traditional and vernacular culture. He is a past editor of the Journal of American Folklore. Appointed by the Librarian of Congress, he serves on the National Recording Preservation Board. Coeditor of the Encyclopedia of New England, Feintuch’s latest book is Talking New Orleans Music, with the photographer Gary Samson. Feintuch has received grants and fellowships from various sources, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the United States Department of Justice, the United States Department of State, and the American Council of Learned Societies.
David Watters, Director of the University of New Hampshire Center for New England Culture and UNH Professor of English has been a consultant on the production of the documentary. He brings years of experience advising the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail and the Harriet Wilson Project. Professor Watters’ research is focused on the literature, history, and material culture of New England. He is the coeditor of The Encyclopedia of New England (2005) and has written books and articles on New England authors. He has been the lead humanist for several radio series, including the nationally syndicated American Library Association's StoryLines America: New England and Granite State Stories featured on New Hampshire Public Radio. His deep interest in preserving New Hampshire's history, culture, arts, and environment has led to service for eight years as a trustee of the New Hampshire Historical Society and a member of the board of directors of the New Hampshire Humanities Council. Dr. Watters has held a number of positions in the public service arena and is serving his second term as the state senator from District 4.
Katie Umans, the project administrator, is Assistant Director of the Center for the Humanities. She serves as the liaison between the Center, Atlantic Media, the consulting producers, and other project participants. She has also served as the grant writer for the project, raising funds for the production and post-production phases of the film from The New Hampshire Humanities Council, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation and reporting out to funders attached to the project at earlier phases. She oversaw the hiring and the work of the two UNH student researchers who have catalogued still images for the film. Katie has a B.A. in English from Connecticut College and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from the University of Michigan. She worked at the UNH Foundation for several years and then in the Office of the President before joining the Center.