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Hands to Heritage

Basket weaving is one of the oldest West African art forms practiced in the United States today, brought to the American South through the slave trade and handed down through families ever since.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported Hands to Heritage, an initiative bringing together master basket weavers from South Carolina and master basket weavers from our initiatives in Rwanda. Over a series of workshops, the weavers convened to exchange history, culture, and techniques passed down over generations. Together, they collaboratively wove baskets representing ongoing peace and reconciliation.

Today, these baskets are permanently exhibited at the Charleston International Airport and the Charleston Visitor Center. The original baskets were presented to the Central Rwanda government as a symbol of Charleston, South Carolina beginning its process of peace and reconciliation.

Up Ahead

In partnership with the International African American Museum in South Carolina, Bloomberg Philanthropies is supporting W.E.A.V.E., a Center born from Hands to Heritage, which will enable weavers to come together in a location to sustain the history of weaving and sell their handmade products from the Museum’s store. Sweetgrass will be harvested and grown throughout the grounds of the museum, and with a membership, weavers can pick and plant sweetgrass to supply this ongoing venture.


Hands to Heritage | Full Documentary


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Top photo: Rwandan master weavers exchange techniques with a master weaver from South Carolina during her visit in Africa.