Elijah Heyward III is a native of Beaufort, South Carolina, and a Hampton University graduate. He is a founder of the Bigger’s Circle, an initiative focused on supporting the Hampton University Museum. Elijah is also a graduate of Yale Divinity School and the recipient of the Yale President’s Public Service fellowship. The fellowship supported the development of the Youth Scholar Academy, a nationwide college access program he founded focused on preparing young men from under-resourced communities to thrive in high school, college, and beyond.
Elijah earned his Ph.D. in American Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill where he curated the show “Beyond Walls: Designs for 20th Century Murals at the Ackland Art Museum” and contributed to a traveling exhibition focused on the work of artist Ronald Lockett. He has published and presented on his various research interests, which include African American history, popular culture, religion, and contemporary Gullah/Geechee culture. His background includes varied experiences in fundraising, arts production and management, and collaborative projects focused on cultural retentions and preservation.
Elijah joined the International African American Museum in August 2018 as the Chief Operating Officer.