Locating Slavery’s Legacies database

 Locating Slavery’s Legacies
Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation
The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee


The basic objective of the Locating Slavery’s Legacies database (LSLdb) is to collect information about monuments and memorials identified with the Civil War and Confederacy on the campuses of American colleges. This information will help us analyze and understand the impact of Lost Cause movements on higher education in the United States in the 160 years after emancipation. 

Over the past decade or more, teams working at individual colleges and universities already have begun investigating memorialization on their campuses, gathering important information that yields insight into the influence of “Lost Cause” and related campaigns on their educational mission and practices. To this point, however, the information compiled often has not been shared beyond the walls of the individual institutions. It remains bound to the particular college campus, creating a situation that constrains our ability to compare and contrast among diverse institutions. Were Lost Cause memorial campaigns limited to a few colleges or widespread among institutions across the southern region? How influential were organizations like the United Daughters of the Confederacy? We do not know the answer to these or other important questions because there is no common repository for collecting and sharing this information, vital as it is to understanding higher education’s role in the injustices attributable to the legacies of American slavery.

The LSLdb project aims to address and alleviate these constraints by enabling and empowering researchers – college instructors, archivists, and their students – to share it in a common archive that addresses and potentially reveals the bigger picture. The LSLdb works on a model of inter-institutional collaboration. Instructors who join the database project may embed memorial investigation assignments in their courses. The information that students collect and organize can be entered on the LSLdb website using agreed-upon standards and practices. 

The LSLdb is sponsored and led by the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. It was constructed in collaboration with the design team of Omeka, the world’s leading developer of web-publishing resources supporting the digital humanities. The database project is made possible by a generous Legacies of American Slavery grant from the Council of Independent Colleges and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University’s MacMillan Center.

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absolute power depends on absolute control over knowledge, which in turn necessitates absolute corruption

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“Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man’s belief…The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world.” – William Sargant “Battle of the Mind”

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