On These Grounds

Archivists Laura, Anna, and Chaitra in a virtual meeting

Understanding the history and lives of those who were enslaved means facing harsh truths. In archivist Laura Hart’s words, through the “On These Grounds: Slavery and the University” collaboration, rather than simply describing documents, she and other UNC-Chapel Hill archivists are attempting to “center the experiences of enslaved people.” Their work is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has also provided $14,000 to fund a graduate student who will work with archivists on this project.

These archivists at the Wilson Special Collections Library are attempting to reconstruct the lives of enslaved individuals whose lives are intertwined with the University’s history.

“As an archivist, I have spent 25 years describing documents,” said Hart. “Now I have an opportunity to look at them with a different lens. It’s a shift I’m really welcoming.”

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