Campus News

UGA awards grant to academic team to study the history of slavery at the university

(UGA file photo)

The University of Georgia has awarded a grant to a 22-member UGA academic team to study the history of slavery at UGA from the institution’s founding in 1785 until the end of the Civil War in 1865.

The research team—which spans multiple schools, colleges and other units across the university—will conduct a multidisciplinary study of enslaved African Americans who labored on the UGA campus. In September, the team submitted a proposal, which was selected for funding by David Lee, vice president for research; Michelle Garfield Cook, vice provost for diversity and inclusion and strategic university initiatives; and Toby Graham, university librarian and associate provost.

“We are excited to have a team of faculty from several units and departments collaborating on this project,” said Cook. “The range of expertise represented by the research team will provide a rich, academic examination of the history of slavery at UGA and contribute significantly to our scholarly understanding of the history of this institution.”

Faculty and student researchers—led by Chana Kai Lee, an associate professor of history and African American studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences—will analyze primary sources and archaeological data related to the history of slavery at the university, including:

  • Existing research conducted by the Russell Special Collections Libraries, the Willson Center’s Digital Humanities Lab and Southeastern Archeological Services, as well as by individuals affiliated with the School of Social Work and the departments of anthropology, English, geography, history, historic preservation and sociology.
  • Family and community histories.
  • Personal papers of faculty who worked at UGA before 1865.

The research team plans to publish its work as a print and electronic collection of essays with the University of Georgia Press and as a roundtable in the journal The Public Historian.

The research initiative, which is supported by private funds from the Office of the President, is expected to be completed by June 30, 2021.