Thank you to all those who presented as part of the Spring 2023 Universities Studying Slavery Conference. Please see below for submitted abstracts and additional documentation from the Spring 2023 Conference.
Reconstruction and Remembrance: Connecting and Addressing Our Late-19th-century Hard Histories
• Gwen Gosney Erickson and Sarah Thuesen, Guilford College
• Erin Lawrimore and Kathelene McCarty Smith, UNC-Greensboro
Following the Spring 2021 Universities Study Slavery Conference, Dr. Martha Jones of Johns Hopkins University reflected on the fact that many of our discoveries about our individual campus histories intersect and “these are rarely small, local stories.” (see https://hardhistoriesjhu.substack.com/p/a-colonization-connection) Building on research presented at Guilford College in 2021, this session is intended as an opportunity for connection building and conversation. The focus is the embedded legacies of late nineteenth century white higher education which remain visible on our campuses today. In addition to Guilford’s ties to Johns Hopkins and Quaker founded institutions nationally, this conversion will also draw on intersections with UNC-CH and UNC-G and perhaps other North Carolina colleges during that time period. Who was (and wasn’t) named and honored in the late nineteenth century? How were our institutions describing themselves and how were their missions defined? What additional insights are gained from campus publications, student writings, and faculty publications of the era? Which communities held ties to our campuses and what was the nature of those relationships? Does our understanding of that era change as we seek to decenter whiteness and look beyond traditional campus histories? Unlike Guilford’s initial boarding school founding as an abolitionist school for white Quakers, the transformation to college in the 1880s was more closely aligned to worldly white campuses of the era. Our current campus marketing proudly holds up the abolitionist roots but the majority of our years as a college were much more informed by the institution building of the late 1800s – an era defined by integration with dominant white culture and leaving behind Civil War and antebellum divides. This is reflected by the decor, library collections, building names, and campus publications still in evidence over a century later, as well as who was and wasn’t represented on campus. Our proposal is still in the initial stages of development but will be expanded further if accepted. The hope is to invite colleagues from Bryn Mawr College, Johns Hopkins University, and other USS institutions in North Carolina to join us as expert witnesses as we explore a foundational period of our own history and how it intersects with others. In the case of Guilford, our institution’s space and place as a college was set within the context of a Christian civilizing mission and tainted by white supremacy within. This was not done in isolation and was not unique to our institution. Therefore, we hope this session will evolve into a collaborative conversation where participants can reflect on both historic examples and modern responses. We envision this as a time not just for sharing past anecdotes or examples but of supporting one another in ways to engage in repair efforts to more fully know our histories and move forward towards more inclusive campuses.
Invisible History: Exploring CCBC Hilton Center’s Past
• Natasha Cole-Leonard, Community College of Baltimore County
In 2018, the Community College of Baltimore County completed a $6.5 million comprehensive renovation of the historic Hilton Mansion on its Catonsville campus. Overlooking the scenic Patapsco River Valley, the antebellum mansion has been an area landmark for nearly two centuries. Until the recent renovation, the structure was underutilized and its history as a site of African American enslavement underacknowledged. But as the new home of the Global Education and Honors Programs, the Hilton Center garnered student interest and campus-wide attention, which led to the launch of “Invisible History: Exploring the CCBC Hilton Center’s Past,” a student activity series sponsored by the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities for All Initiative. Through lectures, exhibits, research seminars, and other experiential learning activities, “Invisible History” helps students place CCBC’s antebellum Hilton mansion and campus grounds into a more complete historical context, exploring the lives and legacies of enslaved Africans and laborers who played roles in the campus and local region’s development. During the course of these various research and learning experiences, students develop interdisciplinary humanities-based projects that examine and interrogate long-standing public history monuments, exhibits, and texts, as well as lesser known artifacts (invisible history) on the campus and local community. One such project is the development of a website and mobile-app, which provides visitors with historical narratives that contextualize various physical sites on campus and in the local community. The presentation will explore Curatescape, the geo-based web and mobile-app platform for digital publication of student research created by the Center for Digital Humanities. The presentation will also discuss CCBC’s “Humanities for All” collaborative projects with the University of Maryland, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Johns Hopkins University. CCBC’s “Invisible History” project is part of a broader national movement in academic institutions that seeks not merely to examine the history of slavery but to address contemporary issues, including race and higher education, systemic inequality, and slavery’s enduring impact on our college communities and beyond. CCBC is a member of the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium.
Divesting Injustice: Reconciling with Slavery and Its Legacies on College Campuses
• Adreanne Martinez, University of Florida
The institution of slavery ended in 1865, yet it was not until 2001 that American colleges and universities began to acknowledge their relationships to slavery and its legacies that carried into the Jim Crow and New Jim Crow eras. This thesis explores how student movements for greater diversity and inclusion on college campuses are responsible for this change in conversation in the 21st century. In examining the different histories and recent student protests at Harvard University, Georgetown University, Clemson University, and the University of Florida, this thesis argues that in the face of administrative indifference, students are the catalysts for institutional change. Their curiosity, activism, and persistence have pressured university leaders to confront higher education’s roles in slavery, convict leasing, and mass incarceration. This thesis will synthesize the relationship between American colleges and slavery, evaluate institutional efforts at reconciliation, and assess how student activism has been the driving force behind confronting slavery and its legacies on college campuses.
Reckoning with Institutional Racial Histories through the Archives: Comparative Approaches from The Duke Endowment Libraries Cohort
• Jessica Cottle and Ellen Huggins, Davidson College
• Brandon Lunsford, Johnson C. Smith University
• Valerie Gillispie and Tyanna West, Duke University
• Nashieli Marcano and Jeff Makala, Furman University
Archival researchers have begun the process of understanding how the legacies of enslavement and systemic racism replicated within our nation’s colleges and universities impact and shape the stories we uphold about our institutions and our surrounding communities. This panel, composed of a two-year, grant-funded cohort of researchers and archives mentors from The Duke Endowment Libraries, will compare approaches to conducting archival research on institutional racial histories and to constructing community-building exhibitions and tours across our four institutions: Davidson College, Johnson C. Smith University, Furman University, and Duke University. As Davidson College celebrates our 50th anniversary of coeducation, there is increased interest in the histories of women on campus. As such, the College Archives is interrogating our digital exhibits about women for identities that are not holistically represented, specifically our “Active and Benevolent Ladies” project published in 2010. We are prioritizing the repair of this legacy resource so it more accurately reflects the wide array of intersectional identities that constitute the idea of womanhood at Davidson before and after coeducation. We will discuss the importance of updating this digital exhibit to be more inclusive of black women’s voices (particularly staff), as well as marginalized sexualities and ethnic identities by highlighting key archival resources post-2010 and expanding the limited scope of the historical narratives now featured on the new Omeka S-based site. Johnson C. Smith University is proposing a series of historical walking tours involving a digital mapping site that shows important impactful locations in the Historic West End, a series of historic African American neighborhoods surrounding Johnson C. Smith University. These communities were a focal point for local civil rights activism, education, faith, and the evolution of the Black middle class in Charlotte, and are currently faced with encroachment of gentrification and explosive growth in Charlotte. The purpose of the walks will be to draw attention to this history and raise awareness of the threats. In a similar fashion to the Seeking Abraham Report (2018) and the accompanying physical exhibit (2018), the Furman University’s Legacy of Slavery Digital Exhibit invites the Furman community and the general public to reckon with the institution’s initial support and expansion of slavery, to make the question of Furman’s legacy of slavery more accessible, and to understand our institutional past in ways we can chart more inclusive paths forward. Duke University is compiling information about the extent to which early institutional stakeholders (administrators, faculty, and trustees) were involved with slavery. This information will be used for further research into the the names and biographies of enslaved individuals, and as part of a broader effort to reckon with our institutional history.
Psychiatry and the Legacy of Slavery: The Asylum and the Archive Initiative
• Robert Allen, Philip Feibusch, Nate Nihart, Leah Tams, and Abby Wooten, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• Sarah Almond, Hampden-Sydney College
Psychiatry and the Legacy of Slavery in North Carolina: The Asylum in the Archive Initiative This panel brings together graduate and professional students, former staff, research collaborators, UNC alumnae, and faculty who have contributed to the Community Histories Workshop’s five-year Asylum in the Archive Initiative, which has excavated, digitized, curated, and transcribed more than 10,000 historical patient records from two public psychiatric institutions in North Carolina between 1856 and 1922 (Dix Hospital in Raleigh, and Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro). Since 2020, a major focus of this work has been around the relationship between race and the emergent practice of psychiatry. This work continues to be informed and inspired by the American Psychiatric Association’s 2021 “Apology to Black, Indigenous and People of Color for Its Support of Structural Racism in Psychiatry” for “enabling discriminatory and prejudicial actions within the APA and racist practices in psychiatric treatment for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).” The APA Apology traces the profession’s systemic racism to “[e]arly psychiatric practices [that] laid the groundwork for the inequities in clinical treatment that have historically limited quality access to psychiatric care for BIPOC. These actions sadly connect with larger social issues, such as race-based discrimination and racial injustice, that have furthered poverty along with other adverse outcomes.” In 2022 the work of the initiative entered a new phase driven by (1) the development of a relational database for Dix patients admitted between 1856 and 1921 (the first of its kind for a nineteenth-century U.S. insane asylum), (2) the use of the initiative’s archive as the foundation for the first historically-focused research track for UNC psychiatric residents, (3) digitization of more than 7000 admission records for African American patients at Cherry Hospital between 1880 and 1922, and (4) institutional approval for the first comparative research study of diagnostic practice (schizophrenia) between Dix and Cherry Hospitals between 1895 and 1922. The form of the panel will be a directed discussion among participants, with embedded mini-presentations highlighting key elements of project history, ongoing work, and future goals. Audience discussion will be anchored by engagements with (redacted) original records, including admission ledgers, general base book (intake) records, patient interviews, and “lunacy commission” records.
University Enslavement Beyond the Campus
• Ned Benton and Judy-Lynne Peters, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
Panel: University Enslavement Beyond the Campus Professor Ned Benton Professor Judy-Lynne Peters John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY Begun in 2017 and permanently located at https://nesri.commons.gc.cuny.edu/,the Northeast Slavery records Index (NESRI) is an ongoing digital public history initiative that currently indexes over 64,000 original records of slavery from the 1500s through the 1860s in eight northeastern states from New Jersey to Maine. NESRI provides free reports on slavery records from localities such as towns or counties. Professors Peters and Benton will present a NESRI project to add to NESRI enslavement and underground railroad records from colleges and universities in the northeast. While many of these records document enslavement on the respective university campuses, NESRI will also index and present records beyond the campus, including students, graduates, faculty and administrators residing in and enslaving people in communities beyond their campuses. This project is partially supported by an American Council of Learned Societies Digital Justice Grant, funding searches for and indexing of additional records of enslavement.
Who Are the Descendants of the St. Louis University Enslaved? Descendants’ Push for Parity and for Elevating Our Voices and Perspectives
• Robin Proudie, Billi Wilkerson, and Linda Mann, Descendants of the St. Louis University Enslaved
DSLUE founder, Robin Proudie, will conduct a panel discussion beginning with a 5-minute short film that highlights her family’s reaction to their ancestors being enslaved by the Jesuits at Saint Louis University. It briefly covers topics such as: universities and slavery; critical race theory; and reparations. This teaser is packed with thought-provoking interviews of descendants, academic scholars, researchers and historians and Jesuit priests. It will provide the perfect segue into a dynamic panel discussion on descendant’s challenges, and strategy on how to push for parity, elevation of descendant voices and perspectives, and reparative justice.
Reclaiming, Renaming, Repairing: Campus History Projects at James Madison University
• Meg Mulrooney and Karen Risch-Mott, James Madison University
Established in 2016, JMU’s Campus History Committee advances equity and inclusion by replacing the generally accepted narrative about this institution’s past with a more accurate and complete history. The work of the members is grounded in truth and reconciliation projects, but also reflects theories and methods drawn from public history, such as place-based learning and collaborative practice, and is connected to a national campus history movement, especially the consortium Universities Studying Slavery and Segregation. This session will briefly summarize the institution’s history as a segregated, Southern school for white women, survey the theories behind JMU’s campus history projects, then summarize the major activities undertaken at JMU so far, including renaming three buildings that memorialized Confederate military officers and sustained Lost Cause mythologies, and developing a walking tour that functions as a counter narrative using untold stories of trailblazing advocates for equity. Both projects emerged from student activism. At JMU and everywhere, efforts to reckon with the racial past are ultimately intended to address the racial present. Using evidence from public surveys, the presenter will acknowledge and interpret the resistance to this work at a predominantly white institution, especially that posed by alumni, donors, and legislators, whose attitudes are often at odds with those of current students and faculty. To see the committee’s report and examples of digital projects, see our linktree: https://linktr.ee/campushistory
The Genealogy of Slavery: Archival Silence, Memory, and the History of Slavery in Southwest Virginia
• Ivey Kline, Roanoke College
The Genealogy of Slavery project is an ongoing research project happening at the Center for Studying Structures of Race (CSSR) at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. The project was created to identify the names of enslaved people who built Roanoke College and those who lived in the surrounding county area. The project seeks to compile a searchable database of Roanoke County enslaved persons, however, there is a distinct lack of records documenting enslaved people outside of county legal records. Furthermore, tracking people after emancipation has proved difficult. My research has explored the impacts of archival silence on local histories and the way that those silences continue to persist well into the modern day, aiding in the perpetuation of myths surrounding the existence and severity of slavery in Roanoke County. My presentation would discuss the impacts of a white supremacist archive, archival silences, archival violence, and epistemic violence on the history of slavery in southwest Virginia. Currently, CCSR is using the information gathered from the Genealogy of Slavery project and collaboration between students, the college community, and Creative Time to design and erect a memorial to enslaved workers on the Roanoke College campus.
Student Engagement with the Legacy of Slavery at Washington and Lee University
• Rose Hein, Washington and Lee University
Although Washington and Lee University was the owner of a plantation and enslaver of more than eighty people at one point in its history, it is not this more-studied aspect of its history that garners the most attention from the University’s student body. Instead, student engagement with Washington and Lee University’s legacy of slavery is with its two namesakes—George Washington and Robert E. Lee. The images and names of those two men serve as a uniquely public and undeniable reminder of the reality of the institution of slavery, informing even the least historically-minded of students of the present state of the University. Some students found the endurance of the University’s name a tangible reason to fight for change. Although students were concerned with these namesakes’ legacies far prior to the 2020-2021 academic year, that year saw the majority of the student body engaged in a widespread culture of protest to “change” or “retain” the name. Students wrote articles for campus publications, composed letters to the University’s President and Board of Trustees, garnered alumni and parental support, and arranged class walkouts and protests that gained local news coverage. Students in favor of change attest that the name, however, is one small problem in a long line of grievances about the University’s environment for minoritized students. In the eyes of concerned W&L students, the University’s commitment to recognizing George Washington and, particularly, Robert E. Lee, prevents the University from fully committing to the well-being of its students. Students cited instances of racial harassment, a visit by a Ku Klux Klan chapter from a different state, and the repeated appearance of Flaggers on days which celebrate the Confederacy as particular moments of reckoning. The individuals who are involved in such incidents are emboldened and, arguably, welcomed, by the externally-facing acceptance of Washington and Lee University’s two namesakes. Those opposed to change argue that removing the names and images of Washington and Lee erases history and minimizes the positive impacts of the two figures’ historic engagements with the University—a large donation and a five-year presidency, respectively. Calls for action at the University have not gone unnoticed. The administration saw protests. The University’s Board of Trustees, however, overwhelmingly voted in favor of keeping the name. They provided some concessions to improve the condition of the University for minoritized students, but ultimately, students who spent a year fighting for change felt profound disappointment that their actions were recognized but not heeded. This paper chronicles the factors leading to, backlash faced as a result of, and outcomes achieved through this variety of student activism as former and present students have sought to emphasize the importance of historical awareness at a site such as Washington and Lee University, the very existence of which is a reckoning.
Representation and Reckoning with “On These Grounds”: A Reflection from UNC Libraries
• Chaitra Powell, Meaghan Alston, Flannery Fitch, and Jillian MacKinnon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In our session, we will be describing our experience with the “On These Grounds” digital humanities project, how it connects with other initiatives within the library, and what we have learned along the way. “On These Grounds” is a complicated project with an evolving set of guidelines, and we acknowledge that even with an unlimited capacity to build records it will not connect every descendent of an enslaved person mentioned in our records, and it will not fix the fundamental challenges of African American genealogical research. As information professionals diving into this work, we make many concessions about the utility of it all; so why do we continue? The archives are consumed with notions of representation, history is represented through our catalog records, finding aids, digital objects, etc. And many choices are made to determine who is seen and who is not. When it comes to records of enslavement before “On These Grounds,” enslaved individuals were represented as property or minor details in a letter from home – if we commit to this work, these people can be represented as whole human beings who lived, worked, and died in our country. The process of reckoning with our capacity and offering a more authentic representation of our work and our collections is necessary for our campus and broader communities.
Antiblackness: A Framework for Understanding Racism at Abilene Christian University
• Daniel Morrison and Tryce Prince, Abilene Christian University
In this paper, we present alternative theoretical and methodological models for understanding the historical work that is being done within our “Practices and Legacies of Segregation at ACU” project. We contrast our approach, antiblackness (Jung and Costa Vargas 2021) with perhaps more familiar frameworks such as individual, institutional, and structural racism. To accomplish this task, we employ a genealogical materialist analysis of racism and White supremacy in our analysis of racism at ACU, and we compare our draft report on ACU’s history and contemporary practice of racial exclusion and injustice with those histories documented by major university groups from Harvard, Brown, Princeton Seminary, and others. We argue that adopting antiblackness as an explanatory framework and employing a genealogical analysis helps us understand the specific forms that white supremacy has taken across the history of ACU.
President’s Commission on the University in the Age of Segregation at the University of Virginia
• Ashley Schmidt, Kirt von Daacke, and Andrea Douglas, University of Virginia
The University of Virginia President’s Commission on the University in the Age of Segregation (PCUAS) was founded in 2018 by President Teresa Sullivan to “explore and report on UVA’s role in the period of racial segregation that occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries.” The commission is honored to answer President Sullivan’s call and work with President James P. Ryan as we conduct research, acknowledge our difficult past, atone, and continue to engage with the community. Since its inception, the Commission has relied on community leadership from The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center as well as the Descendants of Enslaved Communities at UVA to guide a research project focused on the history of the University from 1865-1960. This Commission was charged with examining the enduring legacies of segregation and racism that was part of everyday life at the University, especially as it connects to the Charlottesville-Albemarle community. This includes the land, the built landscape, archival holdings, art and material culture, as well as the broader Charlottesville-Albemarle community in which the school has been embedded in for two centuries. Our findings shed light on the long history of racism and violence at the University of Virginia. By design, we are continuing the path-breaking work of the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University by taking that research at least through the century after the Civil War, The PCUAS is focused on community engagement, education and memorialization as part of an open process informed by the restorative justice model. This means we are not just telling a more accurate history, but we are telling our shared story as truth-telling and the first step toward atonement. This roundtable will share our experiences with the project’s multi-faceted approach to historical research—from university archives, oral histories, and genealogy—, the engagement of local community stakeholders, as well as our public education efforts. We now have four years of research that documents the rise of a segregated society through different aspects of life in Charlottesville, from blackface and racist imagery in student publications, to the increase of racial violence and Ku Klux Klan activity, as well as the efforts of the Black community to persevere and build a complex local grass-organizing efforts, religious life, and family life outside of the University. We hope to have an opportunity to share our experiences.
Duke University Institutional History Project
• Robert Korstad, Duke University
Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice: The Precarious Intersection of Race and Place
• Dinah George, University of Michigan
Selfsame land is a unique form of analysis on the relationships and possible coalitions built across marginalized communities in the United States. It helps reconcile the question of “whose land is this’ ‘ in movements towards sovereignty. Selfsame land, in this sense, can also be used to interrogate the complex systems of white supremacy that shape the place-based realities of African descendant/Black communities in the United States. Self same land is an important tool in understanding the environmental processes established by Black peoples that shape their environments whilst critically interrogating anti-blackness and placemaking across their relationships with marginalized peoples in the United States. In this presentation, I will employ selfsame land to explore the current state of coalition building in shared movements spaces of food sovereignty and environmental justice across the Midwest and Southern United States. It focuses specifically on Black and Indigenous peoples found across these regions; their shared actions towards food sovereignty, their fights for environmental justice, and the collective reality of food apartheid. The goal of this presentation is to provide the tools to reflect on the barriers to establishing these coalitions and revealing the successes found within their relationships.
The Founding Funders Map Project
• Andrew Maginn, Sewanee: The University of the South
For the past five years, the University of the South has been reckoning with its history through the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race & Reconciliation. While several initiatives have been completed during this time, an ongoing research project has examined those who promised funds for the University’s endowment between 1856 and 1865. George Rainsford Fairbanks, a founding trustee and employee of the University, compiled a list of 295 persons who promised funds to create the University of the South. This list, found in the Sewanee Archives, has been the basis of five years of research and development. The Roberson Project team presents this research in a digital humanities project entitled The Founding Funders Map Project (http://foundingfunders.sewanee.edu). In this presentation, Dr. Andrew Maginn will highlight the research and methodology used in The Founding Funders Map Project and its contribution to the discussion of universities examining their entanglements with slavery. This project, supported by secondary sources, archival documents, digitized census records, and slave schedules, assesses the depth and breadth of investments in enslaved human property of those who assembled the financial foundation of the University of the South. The Founding Funders Map Project aims to help us better comprehend the social dynamics, political divisions, religious priorities, and economic trends that shaped the aspirations and designs of the University’s leaders as they rallied support for a powerful educational bastion to serve and protect, in their words, “the land of the sun and the slave.” This presentation will display how interactive maps allows us to reflect on these historical actors, individually and collectively, to understand and reckon with the University of the South’s origins in the campaign to justify, protect, and expand slavery in the period before secession and war fractured the American nation.
Race and Racism at the University of the People
• Simona Goldin, Justin Clyburn, Chi Vu, Sage Clausen, Emerson Sotir, Shelby Freeman, and Sophia Spence, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• Danita Mason-Hogans, Bridging the Gap with DMH
We will use our time in dialog, investigating the history of public education in THIS place, what’s been told & what’s been hidden about historic racism that stretches backward and forward. We will share student work and name how and in what ways we, as teachers, can directly address what’s at stake by building opportunities for students to stretch their racial literacy and disrupt false histories in order to build truth-telling at the student and community level. We will examine: 1. How CRT is a tool for understanding the impact of institutional racism on educational policies & opportunities; 2. What can be learned about historical truth-telling about Black generational Chapel Hillians’ experiences in schools here; 3. How these, together, impact & stretch students’ abilities to see and write truth.
Confederates on the Quad: A Roundtable Conversation with Contributors to the Locating Slavery’s Legacies Database Project
• Woody Register, Sewanee: The University of the South
• Lynn Rainville, Washington and Lee University
• Jody Allen, College of William and Mary
• Nashieli Marcano, Furman University
• Daniel Fountain, Meredith College
• October Kamara, University of Illinois Chicago
The “Confederates on the Quad” roundtable conversation will feature pilot participants in a virtual and collaborative database project that aims 1) to collect and disseminate information about Lost Cause memorialization on college campuses, 2) to provide greater insight into higher education’s contributions to the infrastructure of white supremacy, and 3) to contribute to public understanding of the continuing impact of slavery’s legacies on Americans’ lives. In addition to critically reviewing this powerful tool of investigation and public history, the conversation will introduce the model to potential new collaborators and invite their critical reflections on its structure and purpose. In September 2022, eight colleges and universities signed on as pilot partners in the Locating Slavery’s Legacies database initiative launched by Sewanee’s Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation. When public, the LSLdb (for short) will be a virtual archive that enables teams of faculty, archivists, and students to gather, log, and share information about Lost Cause memorials on their respective campuses. The project, designed with research and teaching in mind, aspires to contribute to public understanding of how the Lost Cause became embedded in American life. A principal aim is to create a public history resource yielding greater insight into the impact of the Lost Cause at individual colleges. At the same time, it will allow comparative analysis of how Confederate memorialization as a larger political, social, and cultural movement shaped teaching and learning on campuses. It has been structured to facilitate the sharing of information so that research conducted at individual institutions can flow across campus boundaries and into the public square. Finally, the LSLdb incorporates pedagogical resources, enabling instructors to embed the research and data entry into course assignments to amplify the impact of their campus investigations. The conference in March, occurring at the six-month mark of the pilot academic year, presents a timely opportunity to review the utility and value of the database for the pilot partners and other USS members. This conversation, moderated by Woody Register of the Roberson Project, will include participants from Sewanee, Washington and Lee, Furman, Meredith, and William & Mary. The discussion will focus on the database initiative’s potential as a critical pedagogical instrument that fosters on- and off-campus “reckoning with spaces of memory and sites of conscience.” Is the database an effective teaching tool? What do students learn about memorialization at their own colleges and the utility of digital humanities? Does participation contribute to institutions’ reckoning with their histories? What insights arise from aggregating this information? What advantages accrue from inter-institutional collaboration? What is the database’s potential for contributing to public understanding of Confederate memorials?
A History to Remember: TCU in Purple, White, and Black
• Frederick Gooding Jr., Sylviane N. Greensword, and Marcellis Perkins, Texas Christian University
This proposal represents an ambitious, yet clearly definable research project that has been turned into a book of regional import that is set to be published on June 30th, 2023. In this book, we research and complete a monograph – conceptualized as TCU in Purple, White and Black: A History to Remember – to chronicle, contextualize and organize the under explored history of African American memory at Texas Christian University (TCU). This topic matters because it is revealing to learn where and when African Americans have had a presence in the history of TCU. The topic will be of interest regionally since TCU has been an indelible part of Northern Texas life and culture. But also, nationally as majority of the work has been supported by the TCU Race & Reconciliation Initiative, which holds membership with the international Universities Studying Slavery Consortium. Readers can immediately relate to the historical and social significance of African Americans based upon the following distinct points: 1) the collective African American presence has steadily grown in significance and size, 2) chronicling the African American experience at TCU provides an opportunity to analyze and assess whether TCU is fulfilling its Vision in Action (VIA), and 3) charting TCU’s growth in diversity reverberates greatly locally and regionally given TCU’s established position in North Texas and its overall potential for influence. The overarching question that is posed for this research was, “what does the presence of African Americans (or the lack thereof) say about the visibility and value of diversity, equity and inclusion at TCU?” This book, TCU in Purple, White and Black investigates the meaning of image, the symbology of inclusion and the function of public memory. Using the lens of Black interiority, this manuscript challenges collective assumptions about who and what is valued and venerated in a shared university setting by exploring the academic, athletic, artistic, and cultural impact of a group of people that was not formally included for nearly the first century of TCU’s existence. Anyone interested in in race relations, memory and North Texas history will find both the text, its layered analytical approach, and a presentation from the co-authors appealing. In our panel, we will discuss interesting findings, the manuscript process, how we infused this book into curriculum and what comes next when providing such a text.
The (Un)Manly Way: The Manly Family and Its Relationship to Slavery at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, University of Alabama, Furman University, and University of North Carolina
• Brandon Inabinet, Furman University
Between the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville) & Archives (Nashville), University of Alabama, Furman University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill among others, the Manly family is a juggernaut of merging pro-slavery sentiment and universities across the South. Two students at Furman University have recently asked: why is the Manly name still on a building? In this presentation, I discuss the research and activism that has raised awareness of this on our campus, and I will tie this to the broader “(un)Manly” problem based on findings from recent research trips. Of the four institutions named above, only one (Alabama) has removed the Manly name (of our university’s founder, Basil Manly, Sr.). Our Manly (Charles Manly) is brother of Basil Manly, Jr. (at Southern Theological) and nephew of the other Charles and Matthias Manly, governor and trustees of North Carolina. Add to this list that the most famous Charles Manly was a son who invented airplane engines in the early 1900s. Not only is it complicated in terms of the family members, but separating their views is complex. For our own research, we were interested in whether Furman’s president Charles Manly, son of founder Basil Manly, Sr., only in his late teens during the war and coming home from Princeton Theological, had any role in his father’s and brother’s plantations. The findings revealed that yes, our Charles Manly dorm name should be removed, but also that the family was constantly using inter-family letters to escape cognitive dissonance in the service of educational initiatives. Women in the family participated too in promising that the men were “good” slaveholders, that slavery was unnecessary once the Confederacy started losing, and that Northern industrialism and labor abuses provided just as good a chance of a continued aristocracy of learning and leadership as had existed before. Moreover, all of these viewpoints could be leveraged to sustain the web of universities and theology schools that Manlys were constantly managing. Meanwhile, they report in the letters that they were able to not even read the words of their abolitionist and anti-slavery fellow students, fellow denominational leaders, and so forth. This presentation lays out how instead of individual culpability, it might be worth broadening our concern to familial wealth perpetuation and avoidance of cognitive dissonance. Our attack on “lone slaveholders” may be misguided in part, especially in cases like this, and our inter-institutional collaboration will be necessary to understand how these highly networked actors built higher education with the same kinds of tunnel vision we still use to shape the industry. In particular, we should think about a network of student and faculty activist-researchers among USS schools who think collaboratively about the path forward for entrenched white supremacist foundations.
Enslavement (and Other Forms of Racial Oppression) in the History of the Universidad del Rosario (Colombia)
• Bastien Bosa, Universidad del Rosario
Since its official founding on December 18, 1653, the history of the Universidad del Rosario has been linked to enslavement and dispossession. As evidenced by a series of documents that we have identified in the Archivo Historico of the university, the ownership of human beings and their enslavement were fundamental to the project of designing, financing, building and maintaining the University. Yet, official accounts of the University’s early history have, until now, tended to ignore these aspects. This is not surprising: throughout the world, traditional institutional histories have been more concerned with establishing legends than with critical historical work. However, following the example of some universities involved in the Universities Studying Slavery consortium, we have built a research project that attempts at revising our current narratives. We believe it is time that South American educational institutions that have a colonial origin should openly examine the inextricable connections that some of them have with the slave trade and the encomienda. The paper will present an overview of the investigations realized at the Universidad del Rosario, including the three main directions of the project: First, we want to reflect on the enslavement of people of African descent and the labor exploitation of indigenous people as essential aspects for the University of Rosario during almost two centuries. The Colegio Mayor de Nuestra del Rosario remained an important owner of the rural economy from its foundation in 1653 until the sale of the haciendas in 1834 (or, even, until the final freedom of the enslaved people in 1851). Second, we would like to focus on the experiences of the enslaved people who were bought or sold by the University or its members. As is often the case, the sources we have found so far on enslaved persons at the Universidad del Rosario are biased and fragmentary. Yet, we will try to build a kind of collective biography about nine people we have encountered in the archive and whose lives were brutalized, fragmented and silenced. Finally, we will focus on the question of slaveholders and of the intellectual links with forms of racial oppression. Regarding the first point, it seems to us that, in order to fully understand the processes of enslavement, it is important to reflect on the slaveholders (and not only on the enslaved persons): they were the ones who benefited from the work, products and profits of enslavement (and made it possible). Regarding the second point, we want to highlight that, since its foundation in 1653, the Universidad del Rosario has been a major intellectual and cultural center. We generally think of universities as institutions that have contributed to the dissemination of ideals of freedom and emancipation. Yet, it is important to recognize that universities have also contributed to strengthen forms of oppression and exclusion.
Trinity College and Duke University: Telling and Writing a New History of Place and Race
• Thavolia Glymph, Duke University
2022 Summer Research: The Genealogy of Slavery
• Jesse Bucher, Ivey Kline, Sydney Pennix, and Michele Eaves, Roanoke College
The summer research team was comprised of six research students. The team worked in both the Roanoke College archives and the Roanoke County archival collections to identify the names and life histories of enslaved people who lived and worked in this region between ca. 1840 and 1865. The research process led to the identification of more than 2,500 enslaved enslaved men, women, and children who lived in Roanoke County. The research will inform the creation of a new memorial to enslaved people from Southwest Virginia that will be built on the Roanoke College campus and unveiled in 2024. The research was funded by: Joanne Cassullo The Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, Inc. Council of Independent Colleges – NetVUE Grant for Reframing the Institutional Saga Roanoke College Academic Affairs Division
1872 Forward: Slavery and Indigenous Displacement at Virginia Tech
• Kerri Moseley-Hobbs, More Than a Fraction Foundation
• Victoria Ferguson, Virginia Tech
In March 2022, Virginia Tech University (in collaboration with the More Than A Fraction Foundation) held an event titled “1872 Forward”. The event focused on and introduced Virginia Tech’s goal of including in its culture the campus’ history of being a former plantation site, and a location that benefits from the displacement of indigenous peoples, and the enslavement of Africans. The event was also in acknowledgement that the university is testing programs, interventions, and paths forward. The introduction to the film by the presenters will include a brief summary of the event, why we choose to include psychologist at the event, what role the psychologist had during the event, and the preliminary outcomes that we learned from including them during the specific efforts of that event. Our presenters include a descendant of the indigenous peoples that were displaced, and of the Africans that were enslaved on the site.
Voices of the Enslaved: A Dramatic Interpretation
• Allison Upshaw, Stillman College
Voices of the Enslaved: A Dramatic Interpretation dramatizes the first-person stories of formerly enslaved women as retold by the documentation of the Federal Writer’s Project better known as the WPA Slave Narratives. Woven with call and response, this interactive presentation seeks to provide an immersive experience for the audience.