African American Historical Research and Consulting
It all begins here! AAHRC - African American Historical Research and Consulting is here to provide you with the administrative and planning assistance needed to develop African American family histories, oral histories, exhibits, digital humanities projects, grants for nonprofit organizations, virtual tours for historic sites, historic African American landscapes surveys, structure reports, historical markers, National Register survey projects, and historic structure reports. We also provide Acting and Interim Executive Director Services for organizations and museums that represent African American history and culture. Fill out the form below to get started.
BRANDON A. OWENS, SR., PH.D.
FOUNDER, PRESIDENT, AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
With years of experience coordinating African American public history and cultural heritage programs and projects, Dr. Brandon A. Owens, Sr. founded AAHRC – African American Historical Research and Consulting, LLC. He is responsible for the overall leadership and strategic plan of the company.
Dr. Owens has almost a decade of experience in various capacities at libraries, archives, and museums at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) throughout the country. He currently serves as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio. As the first private, black-owned and operated historically black university in the United States, Wilberforce University has a rich and remarkable history of African American education, religious life, and cultural development.
Before joining the Executive Leadership Team at Wilberforce University, Dr. Owens was an associate professor, director of the J. F. Drake Memorial Learning Resources Center, and director of the State Black Archives Research Center & Museum at Alabama A&M University in Normal, Alabama. Prior to Alabama A&M University, Dr. Owens served as acting provost and vice president for academic affairs, associate provost and associate vice president for academic affairs, dean of the John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library, and assistant professor of history at Fisk University, where he implemented several technological advancements to support the strategic mission of the University.
During his tenure at Fisk, Dr. Owens secured over $2.5 million in grants and contracts to support historic preservation of buildings, historical exhibits, digitization, and public access to archival materials. He also played a key role in the successful reaffirmation of its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in December 2022.
Prior to Fisk, Owens served as the access services/cultural heritage manager for the Levi Watkins Learning Center at Alabama State University. In this role, he managed the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture; helped coordinate construction for the $5 million interpretive center on the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail; and assisted in the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of two historic house museums on campus--the home of civil rights leader Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy and the birth-home of world-renowned singer Nat King Cole. In addition, Dr. Owens was director of tourism for Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and Parsonage Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, the only church where Martin Luther King, Jr. pastored, and his home that was bombed by segregationists in retaliation for the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Dr. Owens has served on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Historical Association, the Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission, and the Executive Board of the Tennessee Library Association. He most recently served as a member of the Board of Directors for Nashville’s Metro Historical Commission Foundation, the Nashville City Cemetery Association, and the first African American President-Elect of the Tennessee State Library and Archives Friends.
Dr. Owens holds a B.A. in history from Fisk University, an M.A. in history from Alabama State University, a master's degree in library science (MLS) and a Ph.D. in public history from Middle Tennessee State University.
Scottsboro Boys Civil Rights Museum in Decatur, Alabama
Acting Executive Director Services
AAHRC is pleased to offer professional services as Acting Executive Director for the Scottsboro Boys Civil Rights Museum in Decatur, Alabama. AAHRC was founded with the intent of helping African American organizations and museums demonstrate stability during periods of transition and unexpected interruptions in leadership. We have the experience, knowledge, and skills needed to fill the void and ensure operations continue to run smoothly, and the Scottsboro Boys Civil Rights Museum remains compliant with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and executive orders authorizing historic preservation.
Fisk University Galleries
3D Virtual Tours
From October 6, 2022 to February 12, 2023, Fisk University Galleries presented "African Modernism in America, 1947 - 1967" as the first major traveling exhibition to examine the complex connections between modern African artists and American patrons, artists, and cultural organizations amid the interlocking histories of civil rights, decolonization, and the Cold War. AAHRC captured and preserved the exhibit as a 3D virtual tour before its departure. We are still working with the gallery to add labels, comments, and interactive media but the exhibit is online and available for patrons to visit, browse, and enjoy now!
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and Parsonage Museum
3D Virtual Tours - Valued Client
The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and Parsonage in Montgomery, Alabama, appear as they did when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor from 1954-1960. AAHRC worked with church leaders to create 3D virtual tours for the interpretive center, church, and parsonage. This project allowed the church’s tourism ministry to not only survive, but thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic. AAHRC continues to host, maintain, and update the virtual tour to offer researchers, teachers, and students a self-guided virtual experience of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Interpretive Center, and Parsonage.
Bold 4 Christ Ministries, Original Church of God, & L. M. Swanson's Nursing Home in Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee
Bold 4 Christ Ministries hired AAHRC to write the text, provide the references, and recommend placement of a state historical marker for the Original Church of God or Sanctified Church and L. M. Swanson's Nursing Home in Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee. On behalf of Bold 4 Christ Ministries, AAHRC worked with the current pastor, church members, and the Tennessee Historical Commission to successfully navigate the competitive process and meet the specific requirements and timeframe for state approval of a historical marker. The historical marker dedication ceremony is scheduled for the Gallatin Original Church of God's Homecoming on Sunday, August 27, 2023.
Tennessee State Museum
The Tennessee State Museum received a grant from the Civil War National Heritage Area to develop a new traveling trunk in their hands-on "Tennessee Traveling Trunk" program for 8th grade students with a focus on the history of Black Tennesseans during the Reconstruction period. We were hired as consultants to provide guidance on the proper interpretation and to bring fresh ideas to the forefront on new stories to tell.
Ransom Temple Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Ransom Temple Cumberland Presbyterian Church needed a thorough investigation of its past through primary and secondary sources to present an engaging yet accurate account of the historical phenomenon involved with the evolution and development of the church.
The family of the late Rev. Ralph David and Juanita Abernathy
Genealogical Research and Historical Video Presentation
As a close friend and mentor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Ralph David Abernathy played a key role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the modern civil rights movement.
AAHRC conducted genealogical research for the Abernathy family and created a historical video presentation in honor of Rev. Abernathy for the family's reunion prior to the passing of its matriarch Juanita Abernathy in 2019.
"The value of preserving my family's history is priceless. Thank you AAHRC for researching, recording, preserving, and sharing my family's roots, plus celebrating both my father and mother's legacy!"
- Kwame L. Abernathy, J.D.