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W&M Bray School Lab Book Project

The W&M Bray School Lab has launched an exciting book project called The Williamsburg Bray School Letters: A Community Speaks, and we invite you to partner with us.

Informed by the themes of discovery and community, the book will center on 7 archival documents that sketch the founding, operation, and closing of the Williamsburg Bray School that educated enslaved and free children from 1760 to 1774. Among the documents are 3 trustee reports that identify more than 80 known Bray School students, ages 3 to 10 years old. Because this is a community-collaboration, each document or pair of documents will be followed by five or six 800-word essays of reflection or analysis written by community partners.

We invite Bray School descendants, long-time community members, historians, and other stakeholders in education, culture, and preservation to partner with us as contributors!  It will take a major community effort to make this a reality, so we hope we can count on your partnership. If you are interested in joining this project but need technical or other support to do so, please let us know. Don’t have a computer? Is writing or typing difficult? Don’t know how you’ll get to 800 words? This is not a problem. We will hold regular meetings and will consult with writers to make sure you have what you need.

We are proceeding on a 2026 publication timeline with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and we will request all contributor submissions be received by August 2023. If you are interested in partnering with us, or would like additional information, please complete the contact form, email [[braylab]] or call Maureen Elgersman Lee, W&M Bray Lab Director, at 757-221-1173. We look forward to hearing from you.