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Meet the H.A.S.A.N. Team
Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz & Justin Fornal
Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz is the Vice President of Collections and Public Engagement at Stratford Hall/The Robert E. Lee Memorial Association, CEO of History Arts and Science Action Network, and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of African American Studies at U.C. Berkeley. She holds a BA in Africana Studies and History from The College of William & Mary and an MA and Ph.D. in African Diaspora Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Deetz is a public historian dedicated to researching the history of enslaved Africans and African Americans, elevating their stories, and amplifying the need for acknowledgement and reconciliation. Some of her work includes partnering with National Geographic to produce the documentary film Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turner (National Geographic Channel), which led to the repatriation of Nat Turner’s skull to his descendants, and wrote two cover stories for National Geographic’s History magazine. Deetz has also consulted with several historic sites, including Montpilier, Marblehead Museum, Mount Vernon, and Cliveden of the National Trust. She was appointed to Governor Northam’s administration in 2021, where she served as the Director of Historical Interpretation and Education at Virginia’s Executive Mansion. She has been a speaker at SXSW and partnered with Mars Chocolate/American Heritage Chocolate to examine the history of slavery and chocolate at Stratford Hall. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine, which was named as one of the top ten books on food of 2017 by the Smithsonian Magazine and later inspired a poem by Alice Walker. You can find her most recent work in Audible’s The Great Courses on the history of sugar, and her contribution to the cookbook California Soul, with celebrity and OWN tv star Chef Tanya Holland and author Alice Walker. Dr. Deetz is passionate about making academic content accessible to the public. Her work can be found in the Smithsonian Magazine, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, several podcasts, The Conversation, USA Today, and in lectures on YouTube.
Justin Fornal is an international explorer and award-winning writer. He has led expeditions around the globe and contributed his findings to publications such as National Geographic, the Explorers Journal, VICE, and Parts Unknown. Fornal currently hosts UNEXPLAINED & UNEXPLORED, a television series about ancient maps that airs on the Discovery and Science Channels. In 2016 he tracked down the lost skull of African American slave rebellion leader Nat Turner and repatriated it to the Turner descendants. The relic had been missing since 1831.