Thursday, March 16, 2017

Althea Sumpter: Recipient of the 2017 Lilian C. Lynch Citation

Each year, the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia presents the Lilian C. Lynch Citation to an African American leader for his or her contributions to African-American cultural education and service. This year, at the annual Black History Month Dinner, the award was given to Althea Sumpter for her work as a professor, artist, Emmy-nominated producer and ethnographer. 

Althea Sumpter at the 2004 Fellowship of Friends
of African Descent gathering. Photo credit: Vanessa Julye
Sumpter, a native of St. Helena Island, South Carolina, uses digital media technology to combine stories of her own Gullah Geechee culture with traditional historical, genealogical and documentary research. She is a founding member of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission and has served as its vice-chair and chair. She holds a doctoral degree (with concentrations in African/African American Studies and New Media Technology) from Clark Atlanta University, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina. Formerly the director of media services and production at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta, Sumpter has also taught at Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University and Clark Atlanta University.

Sumpter with curator Dale Couch
At the awards ceremony, Dale Couch, the museum’s curator of decorative arts and long-time friend of Sumpter, had the privilege of presenting her with the award. In her acceptance speech, Sumpter urged the audience to listen to their elders and record the stories they tell to create continuity between generations and document underrepresented cultures.

The late Ms. Lynch was a charter member of the Athens chapter of The Links, Incorporated and was dedicated to the arts as an advocate for cultural education in the Athens community. The Links, Incorporated, is a national volunteer service organization for African American women that focuses on the arts as one of its five key areas of service.

Previous recipients of the Lynch citation include Natasha Trethewey, Jeanne Cyriaque, Rudolph Byrd and Michael Thurmond.

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