AACRC Managing Team

Chair - Ms. Lois B. Wilkins

Lois B. Wilkins was Fundraising chair (2019) and Chair (2020) of the Advisory Board for the African American Cultural Resource Center (AACRC). Ms. Wilkins is the Friends of the Betty J. Johnson Library board representative on the Sarasota County Library affiliation. Ms. Wilkins received a Bachelor of Music Education (K-12) from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL with a concentration in Cello and piano. Ms. Wilkins received an Executive Master of Business Administration from DeVos School of Management at Northwood University, Midland (MI) campus with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. Ms. Wilkins is founder, CEO/President of Bright Wilkins Investment Alliance, BWIA, LLC (Real Estate) and BWIA-Michigan, Inc a 501c3 community outreach company. As an active member of the Manasota branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH); A longtime Active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; and Chair of the International Trends and Services facet in Bradenton/Sarasota (Fl) chapter of The Links, Incorporated, Ms. Wilkins enjoys implementing educational programs in the community where she calls home. Ms. Wilkins, and her spouse David G. Wilkins, Sr. relocated to Sarasota, Fl in 2018 from Freeland, Michigan. The Wilkins’ are parents of four adults, and grandparents of one granddaughter.

Co-Chair - Bernice Giscombe

Mrs. Giscombe is originally from New York. She attended NYU undergraduate school, specializing in Finance. She also attended NYU Wagner Graduate School. She was a commercial real estate specialist at Citibank for 40 yrs. during which she became Vice President, Senior Credit Officer. For many years she participated in Citibank’s college Mentor program. She also served for 10 yrs. on the New Castle Zoning Board. She actively served as a docent at the Hudson River Museum. She volunteered for Westchester Residential Opportunities, assisting homeowners with foreclosure prevention.

Bernice and her husband Gary are active supporters of West Coast Black Theater Troup and are members of “Light of the World International Church”. She and her husband have a son, (Bryant) a daughter (Garian), and a grandson Tristan’ She is a member of Friends of the John Jermain Library in Sag Harbor, New York. She enjoys collecting and studying African American art. She is an avid reader and is actively involved in photography.

Collection Manager- Rosalyn Howard, Ph.D.

 Rosalyn Howard, Ph.D. is a cultural anthropologist and ethnohistorian. She retired as Associate Professor and Director of North American Indian Studies in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida (UCF). She maintains a Courtesy Appointment at UCF and conducts independent research on several projects.

Dr. Howard has many years of experience in research, consulting, and undergraduate/graduate classroom and online teaching. Dr. Howard’s research focuses on the African Diaspora and interrelationships formed by African and Indigenous peoples with an emphasis on Black Seminoles.

She has conducted research studies in the following countries: Bahamas, Bermuda, Botswana, China, Florida, Ghana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Senegal, South Africa, and Swaziland.

Dr. Howard has published her research in books, journal articles and book chapters. Her books are:

  • Black Seminoles in the Bahamas, a community study of Black Seminole descendants in Red Bays, Andros Island, Bahamas;

  • Recollection and Reconnection: Voices of the St. David’s Islanders and their Native American Relatives, a study of a mixed-ethnicity Native American-African-European population in Bermuda; and

  • Newtown Alive: Courage, Dignity and Determination, a study of an African American enclave in Sarasota, Florida. Co-authored with Vickie Oldham.

Link to Angola documentary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOHh0Pxh2xI

 

Since its inception in 2004, Dr. Howard has been a member of the multidisciplinary team research project entitled “Looking for Angola” that compiled archaeological, cultural, and archival evidence of the early 19th century Florida maroon community named Angola. Its location in Bradenton, Florida was confirmed by artifacts discovered during the archaeological excavation of a site at Manatee Springs. Angola has a direct connection to the Bahamian Black Seminole descendant community that she studies in Red Bays, Andros Island. Angola was officially designated by the National Parks Service as a site on the Underground Railroad ‘Network to Freedom’ Program. Dr. Howard volunteers at the New College Archaeology Lab, examining and cleaning artifacts collected at the Angola site.

Administrative Assistant - Elaine Gambill

Elaine Gambill has been with the AACRC for 6 years as an Administrative Assistant.

She has a BA from Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida, in Human Development with a minor in Art.

She received her Masters Degree from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, in Liberal Studies with certification in Women Studies.

Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Rita Dove are just a few of her female creative mentors.

She was deeply influenced as a high school student by the words and deeds of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin. 

She was the personal assistant to Lovette W. Harper for 3 years before coming to the

AACRC.