Although the pandemic of 2020 has put a temporary halt to Universities Studying Slavery (USS) in-person meetings, our collective work continues. We are once again heartened to see another school joining all of us in pursuit of telling fuller campus histories. Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, has joined the consortium.
In June 2020, following student and alumni inspired conversations, Meredith College launched a college-wide Initiative on Race and Action. In her announcement about the project, President Jo Allen declared, “It is time to do something to make change happen, starting here at Meredith as we work for more change throughout our state, nation, and world.” This new initiative reflects the core values of Meredith College as it educates students for relevance and responsible global citizenship, contributing positive change through ethical leadership and civic engagement.
As part of the Initiative on Race and Action, Meredith College is undertaking a rigorous self-examination that will reflect on the institution, its founders, traditions, and named structures on campus as they relate to slavery, racism, and inequity. This inquiry will draw upon existing College research projects such as the Status of Girls in North Carolina Report, The Status of Women in N.C. Politics, The Meredith Poll, and The North Carolina Women’s Oral History Collection that have helped document and reveal contemporary and historic patterns of racism and racial inequality in North Carolina.
Meredith College also hopes to leverage the CIC/Gilder Lehrman Legacies of American Slavery Project to further study the history and continuing impact of slavery in its region. Meredith College is currently a finalist under consideration as a Regional Collaboration Partner for that project. These interdisciplinary efforts will draw upon the knowledge, skills, and experiences of all campus stakeholders including students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators and community partners. The resulting research from these two major efforts will produce a clearer picture of Meredith’s past so that the campus-wide conversation on race will acknowledge painful truths and affirmatively address any obstacles that inhibit the college’s ability to make the campus community a place where all feel they belong.
Again, wonderful to see Universities Studying Slavery (USS) continue to expand. Please welcome Meredith College to the movement.