Dear friends of Black Lunch Table,
The Board of Directors of The Black Lunch Table is pleased to announce that Eola Lewis Dance has been appointed Executive Director of the organization. She will fully assume stewardship of the organization on October 8, 2022. The process of searching for BLT’s next leader has been an incredible journey, and we are so grateful that we found in Eola a candidate whose depth of experience and vision for the future is insightful, inspiring, and aligned with the mission of BLT.
As Executive Director, Eola will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of BLT, maintaining strong relationships with our community partners and supporters, and for working with the Board of Directors to set the long-term direction for the organization through our strategic planning process. In choosing Eola for this role, the Board was especially impressed with her deep knowledge of the organization, exceptional successes throughout her career, and strong support from the BLT staff.
BLT founders, board and staff began the search process in January, beginning with an assessment of organizational strengths, identifying which qualities we were looking for in a new E.D., and meeting with our key stakeholders. Thank you to all who provided such valuable input along the way. We’d also like to thank the external committee members who reviewed applications and participated in the two rounds of interviews that ultimately led to this moment. Finally, we extend deep gratitude to the founders and former ED’s Heather Hart + jina valentine for their visionary project building and look forward to welcoming them to the board.
Please join the Board in congratulating Eola Dance on her new role and wishing her the best as she leads Black Lunch Table into the future.
Black Lunch Table Board of Directors
Eola Lewis Dance, has worked at the intersection of history, art and culture for 21 years having served most recently as the first African American woman named Superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument and Director of Resource Stewardship and Science at Jamestown and Yorktown; three key sites in telling the history of the making of America. Eola is an interdisciplinary public historian, serving as an interpretive ranger, site manager, program manager and division chief at sites and programs such as Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, National Capital Parks-East, and the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.
Additionally, Eola’s experience includes Regional Ethnographer for the National Capital Region of the National Park Service; where her work was essential in identifying communities and traditions of significance nationally and globally through ethnographic studies, community engagement, and tribal consultation. Eola is a graduate of Southern University A & M College with a BA in History in 2001, Savannah College of Art and Design in 2015 with an MA in Historic Preservation, and is a National Park Service Environmental Concepts Fellow earning a certificate from George Washington University in 2017.
She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and is currently a doctoral candidate at Howard University studying public history and the African Diaspora with emphasis on the evolution of race, identity and law in Colonial America. In her free time you’ll find Eola painting, running, doing yoga and enjoying nature; often in the company of her three sons Alan, Eli, and Emeir.
Black Lunch Table’s (BLT) primary aim is the production of discursive sites, wherein artists and local community members engage in dialogue on a variety of critical issues. BLT mobilizes a democratic rewriting of contemporary cultural history by animating discourse around and among the people living it. First staged in 2005 at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture artist residency, the project has grown by way of contributions from and collaborations with artists, digital humanities researchers, and Wikipedians. BLT currently includes two roundtable series’, an online oral history archive, and a Wikipedia initiative. Much like its creation of physical spaces that foster community and generate critical dialogue, BLT creates a digital space for art, Black studies and social justice issues.