Fall 2019 Issue

Grant Funds Inclusive Research

$1 million Mellon grant will also support community engagement at W&M and Highland

By Ashley K. Speed

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded William & Mary a $1 million grant to support inclusive research, teaching and community engagement around the legacies of slavery and racism. The Mellon Foundation is a longtime supporter of innovation in research and teaching at William & Mary.

The five-year grant will fund several key initiatives, including community-led research into the legacies of slavery at William & Mary and James Monroe’s Highland, an oral history project that documents the untold stories of descendants of enslaved men and women, new historical exhibits and university-wide courses that promote inclusion and civil discourse.

“The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant supports William & Mary’s commitment to partnering with our wider region and communities to illuminate our shared history,” said President Katherine Rowe. “By sharing authority to re-interpret the past with descendants of those who lived and were enslaved at Highland, we are taking a new approach to how we tell that history. We believe we will be able to tell a fuller story this way, and one with more consequence, today.”

The project, called Sharing Authority to Remember and Re-Interpret the Past, will be funded by the grant from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2024. The start of the project coincides with state- wide public events that mark 400 years since the arrival of the first Africans to Virginia.

The project builds on the work the university has conducted in the past decade through the Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation. Established in 2009, the Lemon Project was born out of a call to action to acknowledge and rectify wrongs against African Americans at W&M, whether through action or inaction.