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The J.R. Clifford Project is named for West Virginia’s first African American attorney, John Robert Clifford (1848-1933).  Since 2003 the Project has celebrated the courage, idealism, diversity, and sacrifice of the people of West Virginia in their efforts for justice and equality for all.

Over the past ten years, the J.R. Clifford Project has partnered with dozens of local artists and arts groups, public schools, libraries, colleges and universities, businesses, churches, and civic and professional groups to present community-based “Living History” dramatic productions about West Virginia’s civil rights heritage, before audiences now totaling almost ten thousand people.  Outreach to young people is at the core of the J.R. Clifford Project’s mission, and the community arts events that the Project presents are unique, educational, and transformational for their participants, promoting racial dialogue and understanding. 

The Project’s programs are informed by rigorous scholarship, and its graphic materials – like “An African American Tour Map of West Virginia” -- are contributing to cultural tourism in West Virginia.  Nearly 1000 people have been in these programs, most with no prior dramatic or theatrical experience.   More than 20,000 graphic maps, posters, and coloring books have been created and distributed to schools, museums, and visitor centers to spread the Project’s mission.

For 2011-2015, the Project has developed and is presenting a new West Virginia Civil War/Statehood Sesquicentennial “Living History” initiative, titled “A New Home for Liberty – Human Rights, Slavery, and the Creation of West Virginia.”

For more information on the J.R. Clifford Project. Please visit