Capturing Stories – Highland

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James Monroe’s Highland and the Special Collections Research Center of the William & Mary Libraries will partner to conduct oral histories with descendants of enslaved African Americans who lived and worked at Highland during Monroe’s many years in public service, as well as individuals and families who trace their ancestors to Highland after Monroe’s ownership.

Our conversations with this group will explore histories that have not been made public, but have been part of family knowledge for generations. We will video these oral histories, create transcripts, and make them available through the William & Mary Libraries’ Digital Collections portal.

Our objective is to expand the understanding of slavery at Highland and its legacies through the succeeding centuries, and to preserve the memories of these descendants in the context of the changing landscape of Virginia’s racial history.

We will use these oral histories to tell a story at Highland that has not been fully addressed, and provide multi-vocal perspectives for new visitors interested in more than presidential history or the founding fathers.

If we do not meet the monetary goal, we will forgo transcriptions and only make the videos accessible for research through the Digital Collections Portal. Also, we will use existing staff to conduct research in preparation for the oral histories rather than hiring student assistants. Finally, while we will still put highlights of the oral histories online, we will not install video kiosks or technology to show highlights of these oral histories at Highland.

If we exceed our monetary goal, we will explore combining highlights of the oral histories into a short documentary for broader dissemination of Highland’s connection to slavery and creating a traveling exhibit for display at various sites throughout Virginia.

Sara Bon-Harper, Executive Director of James Monroe’s Highland, is the project advisor.


Fund: Highland Oral History Project - Descendant Communities

Purpose: To provide support for Highland’s oral history project capturing the stories of Highland’s descendant communities, including the creation of an exhibit at Highland.

If goal is not met: Reduce the project’s scope

If goal is exceeded: Expand the project’s scope to include a short documentary and a traveling exhibit.

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The Class Leaderboard reflects giving from Alumni, Students, Parents
Class YearDonorsDollars
1985 1$500
1972 1$500
1973 1$300
1994 1$250
2009 3$160
2019 2$125
2010 1$100
1978 1$100
1986 1$75
1979 1$50
1997 1$50
1998 1$25
1992 1$25
2008 1$10
2016 1$10

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