Our People

Project Team

Dr. James Palmer
As Vice President of PVAMU, Dr. Palmer wrote the cover letter of support that accompanied our proposal to the Summerlee Foundation. He also helped us secure the support of campus officials and offered additional financial assistance to enhance student engagement in the project.

Yvonne C. Bryant
As director of Campus Planning & Space Management at PVAMU, Ms. Bryant helped pull the Antiquities Permit from the Texas Historical Commission and signed the letter of transfer for held-in-trust collections, which we submitted to the Center for Archaeological Studies and Texas State University. To view these documents, please click HERE

Dr. Gary Smith
As the president of the Summerlee Foundation, Dr. Smith has provided much needed guidance in terms of grant administration and reporting. He taught graduate courses in Museum Studies for more than a decade at Baylor University, and we hope to draw on his vast experience as a public historian as we develop the Public History program at PVAMU.

Dr. Melanye Price
As director of the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race & Justice, Dr. Price offered to coordinate maintenance of the site and help us with the removal of debris for the second stage of the project. Dr. Price also coordinated meetings with the Descendants Committee and the community.

Dr. Marco Robinson
As assistant director of the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race & Justice, Dr. Robinson secured the participation of former PVAMU mayor Frank Jackson, coordinated meetings with the descendants of Jared Ellison Kirby, and assisted with the crucial participation of undergraduates in the project.

Kristy Bradford
As coordinator of the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race & Justice, Ms. Bradford provided crucial assistance with grant administration.

Phyllis Earles
As the University Archivist at PVAMU and the official steward of institutional history, Ms. Earles has provided crucial contextual information about the cemetery, and she helped to develop our relationship with the Summerlee Foundation.

Kimberly Karol
As the director of stewardship and development communications at PVAMU, Ms. Karol initiated contact with the Summerlee Foundation and laid a strong foundation for our relationship with the private foundation.

Bea Emanuel-Sims
As the Major Gift Officer at PVAMU, Ms. Emanuel-Sims helped to curate the grant proposal to the Summerlee Foundation in the fall of 2021.

Lisa Stafford
As community liaison and Special Collections Librarian at PVAMU, Ms. Stafford has provided critical insight into responsible professional practice and helped coordinate meetings with the community. Her contributions have been both insightful and courageous since the beginning.

Pamela Morgan
As the descendant of Milo Wilson, Ms. Morgan provided critical insight into the ongoing need for perpetual maintenance at the cemetery.

Frank Jackson
As the former mayor of Prairie View and original member of the Wyatt Chapel Historical Marker committee in 1989, Mr. Jackson provided critical insight into local history and the need for perpetual maintenance at the cemetery.

Pamela Shepard
As a member of the Waller County Historical Commission as well as dedicated supporter of Family Search, Ms. Shepard has donated numerous hours to tracking down descendants and compiling them in a list for the project.

Cindy Schild
As a member of the Waller County Historical Commission as well as dedicated supporter of Family Search, Ms. Schild is the slightly less animated counterpart of Pamela Shepard, but together they form a powerful research team in Waller County.

Project Leaders

Dr. Nesta Anderson
As Principal Investigator on this project, co-founder of Legacy Cultural Resources, LLC, and the former leader of PaleoWest’s Austin, Texas, office, Dr. Anderson brings almost 30 years of cultural resource management experience to her clients. She previously served as a Program Manager for Pape-Dawson Engineers and Atkins in Texas. Using her extensive private and public sector network, Nesta recently started one of the leading cultural and heritage resources firms in Texas. Click HERE for more information.

Dr. Melanie Nichols
As Co-Principal Investigator on this project, Dr. Nichols is the co-founder of Legacy Cultural Resources, LLC. She visited the site with Dr. Nesta Anderson In February 2022 to determine the scope of work on the project.

Dr. DeWayne Moore
As Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Moore is an Assistant Professor of U.S. and Public History at PVAMU. He holds a master’s degree in historic preservation and archival administration from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as a digital media strategist at the Center for Popular Music, the Albert Gore Sr. Archives, and the James Walker Library. He earned his Ph.D. in African American history at the University of Mississippi, where he worked as an archival research specialist for the Blues Archive and the Burns Belfry African American History Museum. He has published peer-reviewed articles in the Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal, The Public Historian, and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Southern Cultures journal, and he has organized undergraduate and community-engaged research projects as the executive director of the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund, a historical consulting firm that erects memorials for blues artists and maintains abandoned cemeteries in the US South. Click HERE for more information.

Azzurra Cox
As Co-Principal Investigator, Azzurra Cox comes to landscape architecture by way of her love of cities and her commitment to public space. She infuses her interest in social theory and the humanities into her landscape design work, and she believes in the power of landscape to shape and reflect collective social narratives. Cox brings a range of experiences in the worlds of design activism, publishing, and curation to her work, and she was named the 2016 National Olmsted Scholar by the Landscape Architecture Foundation for her research on African American cultural landscapes in St. Louis. Azzurra holds an MLA from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a BA in Social Studies from Harvard College. Azzurra is an Associate at Seattle-based GGN and serves as Urban Design Commissioner on the Seattle Design Commission, reviewing all city capital-improvement projects. Click HERE for more information.

Dr. Chet Walker
As the ground penetrating radar specialist, Dr. Walker brings over 20 years of experience in the field of archaeology and has been involved with projects in North, South, and Central America, the Pacific, and Europe. He has authored or co-authored publications and/or technical reports on research in eight countries and 21 states, and he has worked for academic institutions and private cultural resource firms. In the spring of 2006, Dr. Walker founded Archaeo-Geophysical Associates, LLC, an archaeological consulting firm specializing in geophysical prospection, he has collected geophysical data on over 145 archaeological sites totaling 1,539 Acres of Gradiometer, 115 Acres of Ground-Penetrating Radar, and 484 Acres of Electromagnetic Induction Meter.

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