Michelle Lanier is a scholar, oral historian, filmmaker, museum professional, and folklorist. Her deep roots, in what she calls Afro-Carolina, inspired Michelle to successfully advocate for legislation creating the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, which she led as its founding executive director. As a seasoned public humanities professional, in 2018 Michelle became the first African American director of North Carolina's 25 state-owned historic sites. Michelle also has a passion for teaching, particularly at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, where she has served as a faculty member for two decades. Michelle is also the proud mother of Eden.