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Black man at work on Dormitory Group B construction, October 1st, 1954

Mission, Commitments, & Strategic Planning


As UMD’s chapter of the national consortium of Universities Studying Slavery, The 1856 Project supports campus efforts to build an inclusive university community by enhancing the collective understanding of the Black experience at UMD. Broadly, we aim to:

  1. Investigate the history of the African American experience on the campus and in the surrounding Maryland community; 
  2. Conduct detailed analysis of documentation identifying the University’s historical connections to US slavery and its legacies; 
  3. Disseminate our findings to campus stakeholders and to the public with clearly defined reparative outcomes.


The members of The 1856 Project commit to:

  1. Producing a survey of University records (which builds on the work of earlier projects) that documents the University’s past complicity in race slavery, the many legacies of that complicity, and how that complicity has shaped the culture of our institution
  2. Providing a survey of state of MD records in our holdings that documents how this university participated in and/or benefitted from the institution of slavery
  3. Cultivating a  space for open discussions and respectful dialogue.
  4. Inviting students, staff, and other faculty to participate and play leadership roles.
  5. Collaborating with University Community groups with similar objectives
  6. Pursuing deeper ties with the broader community (specifically the communities of the  Prince George's county/College Park area ) to engage in the necessary  work of reconciliation and repair
  7. Actively networking with other USS institutional members to learn new strategies and project ideas to improve the implementation of our mission
  8. Encouraging campus communities to explore connections between historical and contemporary racial inequalities
  9. Fulfilling its mission with thoughtfulness, great intention, and full transparency.

Strategic Planning

The 1856 Project will develop a plan of action every two years to refine and detail its strategic objectives and goals.

Header Image: Dormitory group B construction, University of Maryland, October 1, 1954, Baltimore Contractors, Inc. photographs, Accession 2007-204, Box 4, Item 6277,