The Lowcountry Digital History Initiative (LDHI) is a digital public history platform based in the College of Charleston Libraries that was initiated because the public, including tourism industry workers, did not have access to free, accurate, and centrally located regional history.
In fact, white elites in Charleston, South Carolina (a major US slave port) created fictionalized, white-washed histories, which dominated in the region for over a century. One of the local history initiatives aimed at countering these mythologized histories was LDHI. Almost a decade since its first exhibit, LDHI now provides over two dozen free digital exhibits focused on the region’s underrepresented histories and their connections to the present. The exhibits’ creators work to elevate African Americans’ histories and voices as well as other non-dominant narratives of race, gender, and class. Our panel brings together LDHI team members from different stages of their careers and with different educational backgrounds. We propose to discuss how and why this digital history project has been successful and sustainable. By including current and former History graduate assistants, early career MLIS professionals, and public historians, this panel highlights what each person has brought to and gained from participating in this project. We will discuss how LDHI started and stayed sustainable; its intended and new audiences; the role of grants; the role of social media; its role in promoting community projects and storytelling, and how it helps mold graduate students future work in the humanities both within and beyond academia.
Presenters: Leah Worthington (College of Charleston), Meaghan Cash, Mills Pennebaker (College of Charleston Department of History), Brenna Reilley, Cappy Yarbrough