WHEREAS, the College of William & Mary acknowledges that it owned and exploited slave labor from its founding to the Civil War; and
WHEREAS, the College acknowledges that it engaged in the discrimination and exclusion that characterized educational institutions during the era of Jim Crow and disfranchisement and that it failed to challenge these hurtful policies; and
WHEREAS, the legacy of that era has encumbered the College's relationships with the Williamsburg and Peninsular African American community, many of whom are descendants of antebellum slaves and many more of whom have worked for or attended the College since that time; and
WHEREAS, as a preeminent institution of higher learning we are dedicated to understanding the truth of our past and the impact that past may have had on us and on the community; and
WHEREAS, only of late have we learned of an African American named Lemon who was owned by the College during the late 18th and early 19th century, served it well, and, remarkably, carved out a life of his own in Williamsburg.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary heartily supports the creation of the Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation that will be a long-term research project under the sponsorship of the Office of the Provost, involving College faculty, staff, and students as well as members of the Greater Williamsburg community, to better understand, chronicle, and preserve the history of blacks at the College and in the community and to promote a deeper understanding of the indebtedness of the College to the work and support of its diverse neighbors.
Adopted April 2009