UVA research on enslaved laborers expected to continue

UVA research on enslaved laborers expected to continue

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia has had several projects taking a closer look at the history involving enslaved people who built the school. Now, just over a month before the memorial to enslaved laborers is dedicated, some of the ­­research is expected to continue.

Two commissions of volunteers have been working on delving into the history of black and enslaved people for years at UVA. Now, the work of connecting the ancestors of those enslaved laborers may be coming to an end.

Shelley Murphy’s job using genealogy to identify the descendants of enslaved laborers who were used to build the University of Virginia may end in April. That work has been done alongside commissions by UVA to better understand the experience of enslaved people and segregation. A monument to enslaved laborers is part of the work coming out of the first commission.

Kirt von Daacke is the co-chair of both the Commission on Slavery as well as the Commission on the University in the Age of Segregation. He says he hopes the work Murphy is doing continues.

Providing the tools and access for everyone to learn about their ancestors could connect more people, if the descendants project continues.

“I think the commission membership is generally interested in also thinking about what are the ways we can recommend to the university to think about equity in the 21st century,” von Daacke said.

Murphy says she hopes her work at the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society can help other people learn more about constructing their own family trees. “I think everybody should know where they come from and who their ancestors were,” she stated.

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.