Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Studying Slavery at the University of Virginia

The Virginia public university founded by Thomas Jefferson has announced that it has appointed a commission to study the history of slavery at the institution.  Here is a taste of an article on the subject in UVA Today:

Investigating and commemorating a major part of the University of Virginia’s past will be the focus of U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan’s newly established Commission on Slavery and the University. 

The commission, comprising 27 U.Va. faculty and staff members, students, alumni and local residents, will further the efforts of multiple groups exploring U.Va.’s historical relationship with slavery and provide an institutional framework to guide research and gather resources on the contributions of enslaved laborers to the University. 

“The commission builds on the effort of many members of our University community who have worked to raise awareness of the University’s relationship with slavery and to commemorate the role of enslaved persons in appropriate ways,” Sullivan said. “The commission will now carry this work forward with the help of community partners who share our concern about this issue.” 

Her specific charge to the commission is to “provide advice and recommendations on the commemoration of the University of Virginia’s historical relationship with slavery and enslaved people.”

Led by co-chairs Dr. Marcus Martin, vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, and Kirt Von Daacke, associate professor of history in the College of Arts & Sciences, the group will investigate the interpretation of historically significant buildings and sites on Grounds related to slavery and propose projects that would educate students, faculty, staff and visitors about enslaved individuals who worked at U.Va., as well as commemorate their work.

Read the rest here.