New CCU initiative aims to put spotlight on stories of diversity and inclusion

Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 7:43 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Several Coastal Carolina University students are immersing themselves in American history, one landmark at a time.

It’s part of a new initiative at Coastal Carolina University known as The Edwards College Center for Inclusive Excellence.

The goal is to engage student fellows and faculty in research on projects focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. The process involves traveling to places that embody the year’s theme, “Narratives of Democracy,” as well as telling stories about culture in America.

Part of the research process includes visiting places outside of the Grand Strand, such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Wendy Weinhold, Associate Professor of Journalism at CCU and a faculty fellow for The Center for Inclusive Excellence, says the initiative allows students and faculty to learn about Black history. It also allows students to explore similar themes in their hometowns and also shows Myrtle Beach is home to its own chapter of Black history.

An important landmark in that history is Charlie’s Place on Carver Street, known for providing a space for African American artists like Little Richard and Billie Holiday to perform during segregation.

“When people think of Myrtle Beach, typically they think of a Ferris wheel or the COVID pandemic,” Weinhold said. “That’s the way we’re represented. I really wanted the first research project the students do, to focus on a narrative that really challenges that idea - and that’s Charlie’s Place.”

Weinhold says there are about a dozen student fellows in The Center for Inclusive Excellence, all nominated by faculty members.

Dyneira Brown and Amanda Fiucci are two of those students - who both said their experience has been enriching, adding they hope to do more bring more focus to stories that they say need to be told.

“Charlie’s Place, I never realized this was here,” said Brown. “[It] opened my eyes to the perspective. What else is here that I don’t know, and why aren’t we emphasizing more of Black culture?”

“It’s annoyed me for years that history has not been told correctly,” Fiucci added. “There are so many strong women, indigenous people, Black people, who have been left out of history or their stories have been altered and we need those stories to be correctly told.”

Nearly a century after its founding, Charlie’s Place now serves as a community meeting place in Myrtle Beach.

“We want the community to know this is their space and they can utilize it to make their community better,” said Alfreda Funnye, Neighborhood Service Coordinator with the City of Myrtle Beach.

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