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Project Committees

The 1856 Project Standing Committees

If you would like to join one of our committees, please submit our Committee Selection Form. We will be in contact. You can always email us at 

To learn more about our committees, click the links below or continue scrolling.

Communications & Membership

The Communications & Membership Committee conveys the research findings, resolutions, and official positions of The 1856 Project publicly. The Communications & Membership Committee is also responsible for inviting, orienting, and managing new members' tenure to The 1856 Project.

Activities include:

  • Create and manage external communications and public relations strategy
  • Package and convey findings of The 1856 Project to the university and community
  • Foster and manage relationships with the media

Cross-Discipline Curriculum Development & Scholarly Support

The Cross-discipline Curriculum Development & Scholarly Support Committee facilitates research and teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels by introducing new course offerings and assisting with course development. This committee is also responsible for encouraging faculty to explore how and where their disciplines overlap with the university’s history and the legacies of slavery with the goal of scholarly impact and production.

Activities include:

  • Develop and provide a toolkit of primary source materials that can be introduced into undergraduate courses
  • Create or assist in the development of a syllabus for the teaching of Slavery in the State of Maryland
  • Offer teach-ins or listening sessions about The 1856 Project / Introduce a UMD History course
  • Develop an interdisciplinary course concerning trauma and community healing
  • Manage mini-grants for student and faculty scholarly research
  • Provide support for academic research


The Grants Committee identifies opportunities for financial assistance with various areas of The 1856 Project, including the memorial, outreach and engagement programming and activities. The Grants Committee helps identify potential partnerships across campus or with broader community stakeholders. The Grants Committee leads in identifying granting institutions and writing of grants.

Activities include:

  • Identify grant opportunities that will assist with the memorial, outreach, and digitization efforts
  • Identify potential campus and broader community partners for grant opportunities
  • Write a report with recommendations for grants
  • Submit two grants for memorialization,  and outreach and engagement

Memorial & Recognition

Memorial and Recognition Committee leads the effort towards the creation of a physical memorial space on the campus of the University Of Maryland. 

The 1856 Project has already begun to lay the foundation for what will be a deeper investigation into African-American history with a view toward sharing marginalized narratives in the public square. The creation of a physical space is necessary for aiding the thoughtful examination into the known and unknown enslaved individuals tied to the founders, early presidents, trustees, and faculty that shaped the creation of the Maryland Agricultural College and what we now call the University of Maryland. A space of reflection, investigation, exhibition, and memorialization is essential for reconciliation and healing as we continue to wrestle with anti-blackness issues as a community. The memorial will potentially include an archive, exhibit space, community programming space, and a space for a University historian.

Activities include:

  • Review and investigate current memorials at other institutions 
  • Conduct a survey and a critical review of campus buildings, monuments, and other campus material culture (rooms, plaques, walkways, designed landscapes, etc.)

Outreach & Engagement

The Outreach & Engagement Committee builds bridges between the university and the African American local residents along the 301 Corridor and Greater Prince George’s County. It also leads efforts that foster support among other university stakeholders, such as student organizations, university DEI support services, alumni and emeritus faculty.

Activities include:

  • Broaden community of stakeholders and collaborators
  • Increase usage of Frederick Douglass square on the UMD campus 
  • Manage public programing to examine issues of social justice and racial equity
  • Host a local history symposium on  race relations in the state of Maryland
  • Organize listening sessions that engage in dialogue with long time Black residents about their feelings toward UMD, its past, and its present policies
  • Lead focus workshops with staff, students, alumni, and trustees
  • Plan activities around annual events like Juneteenth and Emancipation Day 

Research Investigation

The Research Investigation Committee conducts project-based research, uncovers primary-source resources, and provides public access to materials that document the contributions of enslaved people and free African Americans to the university’s history. 

The goal of the Research Investigation Committee is to encourage teaching and scholarship about the 165-year relationship between African Americans and the University of Maryland. The initial time frame emphasis is from the founding of the Maryland Agriculture College to the end of the Civil War. 

The Research Investigation Committee team also provides assistance in UMD’s historical development as it relates to Segregation, the Civil Rights Movement up through the influence of Black Lives Matter. As The 1856 Project continues to expand partnerships and involvement of community stakeholder, this committee will look at the history that has led to the University System of Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Activities include:

  • Establish research team participants
  • Provide content for an online database of enslaved or free people of color who were bought, sold, exchanged, and hired by the university, university trustees, or university faculty
  • Support the development of a digital humanities project
  • Provide research for memorial related projects