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MEET DANITA MASON-HOGANS, MA

BIOGRAPHY

Danita Mason-Hogans, MA is an award-winning civil rights historian, educator, speaker, writer  and activist. Danita is a native of Chapel Hill, NC from seven generations on both sides of her family. The daughter of Dave Mason of the Chapel Hill Nine, who began the first sit-in of Chapel Hill’s civil rights’ movement, igniting decade of protests against segregation.

 

Danita's acclaimed TEDx Talk "Why the Way We Tell Stories is A Social Justice Issue" was featured on TED where she describes the Critical Oral History methodology, which she uses for her podcast RE/Collecting Chapel Hill.

 

Working with community partners, school systems, universities, activists and historians she collaborates and consults to document local and national history from the “inside out” and from the “bottom up.”

​Danita was a featured guest on PBS with award-winning filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris to discuss their work to capture Black narrative voices in stories about African Americans, and featured in the documentary I'm Smart Too, and UNC School of Medicine's 'Do No Harm' film.  Danita works with veteran Civil Rights activists from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee  (SNCC) to document their experiences and transform them into K-12 Civil Rights components. 

Danita's advocacy initiatives include leading as an organizer for the One Person One Vote Conference. Her work for reparative, no-cost education program and cost-free college tuition for the descendants of the enslaved laborers at UNC garnered publicity on both ABC and NBC .  Danita is the founder of the nonprofit Bridging the Gap to continue and advance education initiatives in the Chapel Hill community. She formerly served as a Program Manager at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies for the Critical Oral Histories Component where she worked with civil rights veterans and today's activists to document movement history.

 

Appointed by Chapel Hill, North Carolina Mayor Pam Hemminger, Danita provided leadership to the Chapel Hill Historic Rights Commemorations Task Force. Danita serves on the University of North Carolina's Commission on History, Race, and a Way Forward to explore, engage and teach the University’s history with race and provide recommendations to the Chancellor regarding archives, history, curation, curriculum development, teaching, engagement, ethics and reckoning.

 

Danita is the recipient of the Chapel Hill's 2020 Home Town Hero Award and she is currently working on a book collaboration project on voting rights written with Tim Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till, and has produced three documentaries on women and the local civil rights movement.

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AS FEATURED IN

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SNCC TESTIMONIES

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The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was the only national civil rights organization led by young people. SNCC activists became full time organizers working with community leaders to build local grassroots organizations in the Deep South.

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"The energy and invaluable work Danita put into our efforts of  the SNCC Legacy Project efforts over the years to fashion effective ways of telling the stories of SNCC and the civil rights movement helped us recognize that we were doing more than recounting history. We learned from her and she brings a special sensitivity that is especially needed in developing the site focused in local history that she proposes."

 ~Charlie Cobb, Journalist, Professor at Brown University, and activist with SNCC

 

"When we organized the program for our 3-week NEH teacher institute at Duke, we knew we needed Danita’s involvement as an important local movement historian.  The 30 teachers from around the country had a basic grounding in Civil Rights history, but knew little about the youth movement in Chapel Hill.  Danita organized a session for the institute that allowed the teachers to hear directly from members of the Chapel Hill 9.  Most importantly, she had an intimate knowledge of their stories and could, therefore, pose questions that would reveal the uniqueness of the group and that emphasized that they were only high school students when they became active in the Movement.  The teachers were deeply effected, both by the riveting stories told by the Chapel Hill 9 and by Danita’s warm and knowledgeable contextualization.  Her session was one of the high points of our 3-week institute... and one the teachers continued to refer to throughout the institute."

~Judy Richardson, Co-Director, NEH Institute: “Teaching the Civil Rights Movement: Grassroots Perspectives”

 

"The work of telling the stories and documenting the rich history of the Black community in North Carolina is critical to the development and success of that community. Danita Mason-Hogans' unique contribution to the history is that she allows the history makers to tell their stories from the inside out and from the bottom up. What is now need is for the stories that Ms. Mason-Hogan collects to have a place to live."

~ Courtland Cox , Civil Rights Educator, Activist and former SNCC Program Coordinator

 

​"In a span of hours, I learned so much about North Carolina history in the presence of Danita Mason-Hogans.  The work she did with the SNCC Legacy Project, the Center for Documentary Studies, and Duke University’s Rubenstein Libraries was invaluable.  Her commitment as a community-focused historian, collecting oral histories and preserving them, brings the spirit of the communities she touches into the work and transforms these events from transactional activities to deeper, more meaningful collaborations for all involved."

~Jennifer Lawson, Producer, Activist and former SNCC Staff

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