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Black man sat atop a horse-drawn cart spraying fields


Universities Studying Slavery at the University of Maryland

Addressing the Past for a Liberated Future

The 1856 Project is the University of Maryland’s (UMD) chapter of Universities Studying Slavery (USS), a multi-institutional and international consortium dedicated to sharing best practices for reckoning with the role that human bondage has played in establishing and sustaining their institutions.

The 1856 Project recognizes that the history of slavery is inextricably linked to the story of America and of the University of Maryland in particular. Continued investigation of the university’s connections to slavery will provide a blueprint for a richer understanding of generations of racialized trauma rooted in the institution.

The University of Maryland’s 1856 Project commits to providing a survey of documentation that will create a path toward restorative history, allowing for the institution to engage in the work of moral accountability and reconciliation. The 1856 Project will strengthen the university’s commitment to its values for diverse and inclusive spaces and provide a narrative of the University of Maryland’s history that embraces its past, stands firm in the challenges and achievements of its present, and lays the groundwork for a liberated future.

Administered through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and led by a team from University Libraries, The 1856 Project is generously supported by the Pines Administration. 

Header Image: Man spraying field with a horse-drawn sprayer, c. 1925, Department of Entomology records, Box 1, Item 221,