Roanoke College Presents Ongoing Research Of “Genealogy Of Slavery” Project To The Community

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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) – Since 2019, students and staff in Roanoke College’s Center for Studying Structures of Race have been working on a research project to identify the history of enslaved people in southwest Virginia.

”The broader goal was to identify enslaved people that had an essential role in the construction and expansion of Roanoke College in the 1860s,” said Jesse Bucher, a professor at Roanoke College and director of the CSSR.

The research included identifying 2,500 names of enslaved people across the Roanoke Valley. Many who played a role in the original construction of Roanoke College. Thursday night, the CSSR presented their ongoing research in the “Genealogy of Slavery” project to the community.

”We can’t shy away from the past, we can’t shy away from uncomfortable truths, we have to own it and adapt from it. So I think knowing where our college comes from, knowing where this town comes from is vital for us to continue to progress, to continue to get bigger and better as we go on,” said Michele Eaves, a junior at Roanoke College.

The work doesn’t stop here though, the CSSR will continue to research and present their findings on the “Genealogy of Slavery” project as more history is uncovered. The next step is hearing feedback on what the community wants to see for a public art project that will be a memorial to the enslaved laborers.

For more information on the CSSR, you can find their website here.

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