Slavery, Race and Memory Project: ‘To Stand With and For Humanity’

Dear Wake Forest Community:

Today is Juneteenth. This day that honors and commemorates the freedom and emancipation of enslaved individuals has been celebrated as a holiday by black communities since the late 1880s. This year, however, Juneteenth has taken on a new and more somber meaning as our nation grapples with the recent, violent and tragic deaths of black people. It is within this context that To Stand With and For Humanity: Essays from the Wake Forest University Slavery, Race and Memory Project is shared with the Wake Forest community.

The research, perspectives, experiences and words of these essays invite our community into Wake Forest’s story in a way that more fully shares the realities of our past.

The volume of essays and historical accounts of Wake Forest’s antebellum history – and its particular connections to and dependence on the institution of slavery – is the first publication released by Wake Forest’s Slavery, Race and Memory Project. The publication is the result of years of difficult work by many individuals. We are grateful for the work of Wake Forest Professor of the Humanities Corey D.B. Walker, who edited it.  At its core is a focus on shining a light on the unknown and unrecognized contributions of black individuals and families to the founding of our University.

The volume is part of our larger institutional effort to illuminate our history, address our present and reaffirm our commitments for the future. Through this publication, we are taking another step in acknowledging our past and holding our institution accountable so we might move toward a better Wake Forest.

Today is a day of reflection. For the past two years on June 19th, the Slavery, Race, and Memory Project has convened students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and community members on the original campus in Wake Forest, N.C., to reflect on all aspects of our history, but especially those aspects that have not regularly been shared. To Stand With and For Humanity should therefore be seen as an opportunity to acknowledge and reflect on a fuller account of our history. May these essays help our community commit to honoring the contributions of all – past and present – to the fabric of our campus community.

Sincerely,

José Villalba
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer

Kami Chavis
Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives
Co-chair, Slavery, Race and Memory Project Steering Committee

Tim Pyatt
Dean, Z. Smith Reynolds Library
Co-chair, Slavery, Race and Memory Project Steering Committee

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Orientation 2019 slide shows

Select slide shows and handouts from Orientation sessions are available online.