Libraries faculty to lead The 1856 Project
The University of Maryland has recently created “The 1856 Project,” which joins the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium (USS) to facilitate collaborative research and academic scholarship. USS, which is housed at the University of Virginia, is dedicated to organizing multi-institutional collaboration as part of an effort to facilitate mutual support in the pursuit of common goals around the core theme of “Universities Studying Slavery.” USS additionally allows participating institutions to work together as they address both historical and contemporary issues dealing with race and inequality in higher education and in university communities as well as the complicated legacies of slavery in modern American society.
The 1856 Project will strengthen the university’s commitment to its values for diverse and inclusive spaces and provide a narrative of the University of Maryland's history that embraces its past, stands firm in the challenges and achievements of its present, and lays the groundwork for a liberated future. The institutional official of The 1856 Project is Provost Mary Ann Rankin, and the institutional co-leads are Libraries faculty members, Lae’l Hughes-Watkins, University Archivist, and Joni Floyd, Libraries Curator for Maryland and Historical Collections. Douglas McElrath, Director of the Libraries' Special Collections & University Archives is also a member of the project team. Other project members include: Richard Bell, Christopher Bonner, Georgina Dodge, Traci Dula, Mark Loene, Kim Nickerson, Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman, and Philip Soergel.