On Monday, Feb. 8, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) announced Shenandoah University as one of a handful of higher education institutions in the U.S. that will help in a multiyear project on the legacy of slavery.
CIC announced seven colleges and universities to serve as regional collaboration partners and a dozen colleges and universities to serve as institutional affiliates — of which Shenandoah is one — for the multiyear project, “Legacies of American Slavery: Reckoning with the Past.”
This initiative is designed to help CIC member institutions, their students, and their communities explore the continuing impact of slavery on American life and culture. The project will support campus-based research, teaching, and learning, as well as community-based programs about the multiple legacies of slavery.
Being part of this project will allow Shenandoah University the opportunity to collaborate with other CIC institutions and partners throughout the region. Additionally, it will provide resources to study and ultimately bring to a broader audience issues surrounding one of the seven themes of the “Legacies” project: commemoration and memory.
For far too long the history of slavery, the lives of the enslaved, the contributions enslaved people made to slavery’s annihilation during the Civil War, and the manner in which formerly enslaved people attempted to shape the memory of the Civil War has largely been ignored. Having the opportunity to be part of this project will allow us to resurrect the stories of individuals long-forgotten and their efforts to commemorate/remember the emancipationist legacy, and to highlight the ways formerly enslaved people fought back against the manipulation of historic reality.”
Jonathan Noyalas ’01, M.A. | Director of Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute
Noyalas, along with Dean of Arts & Sciences and Professor of History Jeff Coker, are serving as the project leads.
The seven regional collaboration partners will serve as the primary hubs of a national network that will each focus on a specific theme that has both local and national significance:
- Austin College (Texas)
- Centenary College of Louisiana (Louisiana)
- Huston-Tillotson University (Texas)
- Dillard University (Louisiana)
- Lewis University (Illinois)
- Meredith College (North Carolina)
- Sewanee: The University of the South (Tennessee)
They will organize regional activities while contributing to a national conversation about race, equity, freedom, political power, and cultural resilience.
Institutional affiliates, which will play a foundational role in developing regional and national networks, include:
- Shenandoah University
- Bloomfield College (New Jersey)
- Columbia College Chicago (Illinois)
- Drury University (Missouri)
- Fisk University (Tennessee)
- Fontbonne University (Missouri)
- Johnson C. Smith University (North Carolina)
- Messiah University (Pennsylvania)
- Roanoke College (Virginia)
- Tougaloo College (Mississippi)
- Ursuline College (Ohio)
- Wofford College (South Carolina)
The partners and affiliates represent a diversity of institutional types and sizes, including two women’s colleges and five HBCUs. Several of the institutions located in former Confederate states have historical links to slavery as former sites of plantations; others were founded or influenced by abolitionists.
“Legacies of American Slavery” is directed by Pulitzer-Prize winning historian David W. Blight, Sterling Professor of American History at Yale University and executive director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition (GLC) at Yale’s MacMillan Center.
The entire project is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with supplemental funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Programmatic activities will begin this spring and build toward a series of conferences hosted by the regional collaboration partners during the 2021-22 academic year.
What is Council of Independent Colleges (CIC)
The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 765 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges, and other higher-education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society.