In the spring of 2021, OTG recruited five external partners to test the alpha version of the ontology. Starting in August 2021, the testing partners began collaborating with the core project team for a year, sharing feedback from their testing, and advising on revisions to the model.
The history of slavery and the experience of enslaved people at Hampden-Sydney College has been largely uninvestigated and, in many respects, obscured. The College joined the Universities Studying Slavery consortium in 2018, but this was followed by little sustained effort to pursue this research. In 2020, the College hired the first archivist in its 250-year history, and its archival collections remain largely unprocessed. Over the centuries, archival materials have ended up at many other institutions. The OTG team at the College has begun identifying and analyzing materials primarily using the Board of Trustees minutes and session records of area churches charged with raising money for the College’s founding. We are also attempting to locate pertinent mentions in local histories and working backwards to discover the primary source material.
As the University prepared to celebrate its semiquincentennial in 2016, BIPOC students urged the community to grapple with the institution’s involvement in the history of slavery and dispossession. The Scarlet and Black Project grew out of this call-to-action and since 2015, they have published three books, maintained a digital archive, and reshaped the campus landscape. The Register of Black Children (1804-1844), where the Middlesex county clerk recorded names and birthdates reported by slaveholders after the Gradual Abolition Act of 1804, the minute book for the African Association of New Brunswick (1817-1824), manumission and removal certificates (1800-1825), institutional accounting records, family papers, and runaway advertisements as well slave sale advertisements in local publications all pertain to the history of slavery at Rutgers and the surrounding community of Middlesex County.
In 2015, the unearthing of unmarked graves of enslaved men, women, and children, during the expansion of Baldwin Hall, profoundly impacted the need to study the history of slavery at the University and surrounding community. Since then, faculty, archivists and librarians, students, and local volunteers have been deeply engaged in researching the history of slavery at the University. The Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes (1794-1865) are the richest archival source that contributes to the history of slavery on campus. The Board of Trustee minutes are supplemented by faculty meeting minutes (1822-1865), the minutes of the Prudential Committees, and the published narrative of Lucius Henry Holsey, a man formerly enslaved by professor Richard Malcolm Johnston.
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
In 2015, student protests and the renaming of a campus building, forced the University community to grapple with its connection to the history of slavery and dispossession. The Chancellor issued a public apology for the University’s use of and profit from enslaved labor in 2018. Most of the archival records documenting the use and profit from enslaved labor at the University are found in two collections; University of North Carolina Papers (1757-1935, Bulk 1789-1930) and the Historical Financial Records (1789-1919). The University of North Carolina Papers consists of administrative correspondence, miscellaneous financial records, miscellaneous faculty and student records, and plat records. The Historical Financial Records are 54 volumes of account, budget, expenditure, ledger, and receipt information.
Research into the lives of enslaved families at Washington College began around 2016. In 2016, the University unveiled a historical marker, “A Difficult, Yet Undeniable, History,” to memorialize the names and the story of the enslaved women and men who were bequeathed to Washington College by John Robinson in 1826 and sold to college trustees in 1836. The majority of archival materials that relate to history of slavery at the University are found in the Board of Trustees records and treasurer books and records, which go back to 1774. Family papers, local business records, and records at the local courthouse further illuminate the records of the Board and treasurer.