Angela Thorpe has served as the Director of the N.C. African American Heritage Commission (AAHC) since May 2019, and previously was the associate director of the AAHC.
She was the first African American historic interpreter at the James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville, N.C. and worked to attract diverse audiences through inclusive programming and leading community engagement initiatives.
Thorpe’s family home is the small community of Pinetops, N.C., but she calls herself an Air Force brat and has lived in the U.S. and abroad. She returned to her roots after receiving a B.A. in history with a minor in African American Studies from the University of Florida and was awarded the M.A. in history from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. As a graduate student she worked to connect marginalized communities with museums and was involved with the award-winning exhibit, “Warnersville: Our Home; Our Neighborhood, Our Stories,” at the Greensboro Historical Museum.
Thorpe has written on museum professionals, public history and race for the National Council of Public History. She has also spoken on diversity and inclusion in museums and cultural institutions; community engagement; and African American heritage at conferences and symposia. She was awarded a Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship by the American Alliance of Museums in 2016.