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Plans, Recommendations, and Endorsements

The following text comes from The Lemon Project Report of the First Eight Years, released in April 2019.

Building on and learning from the Lemon Project’s work to date, the following plans, recommendations, and endorsements have been developed as a map forward. These are based on feedback gathered at symposia, Porch Talks, community meetings, online questionnaires, courses, small group discussion, etc. They also reflect collaborations with other colleges and universities doing similar work.

The Lemon Project plans to continue offering these ongoing, signature programs:
• Research and scholarship
• Teaching and course development
• Annual Lemon Project Spring Symposium
• Lemon’s Legacies Porch Talks
• Donning of the Kente
• Community Engagement

The Lemon Project has adopted these short- and medium term goals, assigning target completion dates as indicated:

Establish a Research and Resource Center for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies

This center will house current Lemon Project while expanding the scope to include an online depository of records and programs,support for archaeological research, and a clearinghouse role for research on institutional slavery Jim Crow. Potentially the center could become an online depository for records related generally to the of higher education, slavery, and Jim Crow. The current Lemon Project staff would expand to include associate director, an additional graduate assistant, an additional post-doc, and a genealogist. The Center’s will include:

  • Conduct ongoing archival research related to the American experience at William & Mary
  • Support archaeological research to locate and burial grounds
  • Conduct genealogical research to locate Engage with the descendant community
  • Consider how William & Mary might use its to benefit the African American community
  • Facilitate research and teaching at the and graduate level
  • Assist with course development
Seek Permanent, Base Funding for Post-doc Position

Currently the Lemon Project post-doc position is funded by the Omohundro Institute, and funding will end in June 2020. The Lemon Project will seek funds to continue the post-doc beginning July 1, 2020. Target Date: July 1, 2020

Offer a May Seminar to Expand Lemon Project Course Offerings

The Lemon Project develops interdisciplinary course offerings that engage the African American experience. To facilitate this process, the Lemon Project will support the development of a May seminar encouraging faculty to work together to develop these interdisciplinary courses. These courses could be co- taught or complementary and feature guest lectures. Target Date: May 2020

Develop New Course around Trauma and Community Healing

The Lemon Project recommends the development of a course around the theme of Trauma and Community Healing. Addressing the often-asked question: “Why are we still talking about slavery and Jim Crow?” this interdisciplinary course will consider Trauma Informed Care, among other models, to look at the impact of long-term oppression on subsequent generations. Target Date: Fall 2020

Support Faculty Developing COLL 199 Courses

In working with the Center for the Liberal Arts and the Educational Policy Committee, project staff will contribute to the implementation of the COLL 199 objective “to provide students with a rigorous academic space in which to explore differences in perspective while foregrounding reasoned and respectful discussion as the means for achieving common ground.” Target Date: On-going

Assist with K-12 Teaching Modules

Work with local K-12 students and teachers to develop teaching modules on local African American history, tours, etc. Target Date: June 2020

Continue Participation in the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium

This consortium, formed in February 2015, was first known as Virginia Colleges and Universities Studying
Slavery. It grew out of consultation between Jody Allen and Kelley Deetz, then the Research Associate with the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University at the University of Virginia (UVA). Now known as Universities Studying Slavery, the consortium is international. Its purpose is to bring together colleges and universities, who are participating in this growing movement to fully understand our histories with slavery and its legacies. Target Date: Ongoing

Seek a Book Contract

The Steering Committee will seek a book contract for scholarly articles on the history of the African American experience. Target Date: June 2020

Publish RENGS: A Journal of Reconciliation

There will be two issues published online per year: one to include papers presented at the annual Lemon Project Spring Symposium, and the second to feature invited local, national, and international scholars, who will write on topics related to institutional slavery and its legacies. An editorial team will be formed to determine a work plan that will produce a journal that will seek to appeal to scholars and non-scholars, teachers, students, and members of the community at large. The journal is named in honor of Robert Engs, the visiting faculty member whose work was pivotal in helping to found the Lemon Project. Target Date: Fall 2020

Spearhead a Genealogy Research Effort

The Lemon Project will spearhead a research effort to identify descendants of enslaved people owned by William & Mary, in collaboration with the Swem Library Special Collections Research Center. This project will provide an opportunity for the university to engage with and share its resources with area residents interested in learning how to conduct genealogical research. For those with a specific interest in investigating familial ties to those once enslaved by William & Mary, it will provide an avenue through which descendants can learn  about  their  ancestors and help us to further recognize the humanity of those African Americans who labored on campus before the end of the Civil War. Target Date: Spring 2020

Create Lemon’s Legacies Student Ambassadors

The goal of these new student ambassadors is two-fold: to inform undergraduate students about the Lemon Project, and to keep abreast of student needs and concerns as related to the mission of the Lemon Project. Target Date: Spring 2019

Establish a Summer GAP Program

The Lemon Project can provide a new education- based outreach component through a 3-5 day summer program of workshops exploring (a) the contributions of African Americans at William & Mary and (b) methods of preparing for and attending a university. As imagined, this program would engage in partnerships with existing Williamsburg/James City County organizations for youth and young adults. One such partner could be the Lafayette subsidized housing community. William & Mary already has a partnership there through Lafayette Kids, a tutoring and mentoring program. The Lemon Project could extend that connection to high school students in the Lafayette housing community, with the possibility of extending the program to middle school students in the community. This effort is scheduled for introduction in Summer 2020. Target Date: June 2020

Complete the Idea Competition to Select a Memorial Design

The Idea Competition was begun in 2018, for a memorial to those enslaved by William & Mary. In response to the 2007 Student Assembly Resolution, the Lemon Project Committee on Memorialization will support the selection of a memorial design and advocate its implementation at William & Mary. Target Date: March 2019

Conduct a Critical Review of Campus Monuments and Material Culture

The William & Mary campus is replete with the monuments and material culture, not to mention designed landscapes, reflective of an often racist past. Archaeologists, historians, and the University writ large need to better understand how these tangible and intangible effects of racism persist and influence the community. A comprehensive review of the physical markers of commemoration on campus needs to be conducted. A detailed database of current markers— buildings, portraits, plaques, spaces, etc.— should include the subject commemorated and by whom nominated, date established, time period referenced, and location. A brief but comprehensive history of individuals involved—subject and nominator—should be provided. This comprehensive history must include accurate accounts of these individuals’ contributions, both flattering and not so flattering. This database will be added to the Lemon Project website. Deadline: August 2019

Establish a Williamsburg Area African American Community History Working Group

The Lemon Project recommends the establishment of a Williamsburg Area African American History Working Group, under the aegis of the Lemon Project. This group would endeavor to bring together William & Mary faculty and students along with local historians not affiliated with William & Mary who are working on African American community history to (a) exchange ideas and resources, (b) identify potential research projects, and (c) develop bibliography and archive- finding aids to support such research. Target Date: August 2019

Explore Partnerships with the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center

The Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center connects students across diverse majors and maintains programs for the  entrepreneurship  community at large. The center plans to expand its services to the entrepreneurship community to establish an effective ecosystem in the greater Williamsburg area.

Its vision is to partner with organizations that have diverse constituencies, including companies owned by African Americans. The center is a potential co-sponsor of Lemon Project events, and also a potential way to expand the Lemon Project’s connections to area communities. Target Date: Ongoing

The Lemon Project encourages the university to consider the implementation of the following recommended initiatives:
Implement the Memorial Design from the Idea Competition

Once a winner of the Idea Competition has been selected, we ask that the full resources, including staff contacts and time of the Office of University Advancement, be engaged to secure the funds needed to implement the selected design on the Historic Campus. Target Date: Ongoing

Update the Campus Walking Tour

The Lemon Project recommends that all campus tours be updated to include the history of slavery and Jim Crow at William & Mary. This includes tours conducted by the Spotswood Society and the Admissions Office. Deadline: December 2019

Consult with the Lemon Project on Campus Historical Exhibits

The Lemon Project should serve as consultant for all permanent exhibits including, but not limited to, exhibits in the Wren Building. Project staff should also advise on the curation of permanent historical exhibits (physical and virtual) in other campus spaces, including but not limited to the Wren Building, the Muscarelle, Swem Library, and Wolf Law Library. Target Date: Ongoing

Revisit Practices and Records of Campus Archaeological Research

Since the Rockefeller restoration of Williamsburg began in the 1920s, a significant amount of archaeological research has taken place on campus. There are three major problems with the data that has been obtained:

  • Much of the work was done to meet the demands of construction work, not as research. With few exceptions, the research design of past excavations was not intended to look for broader cultural

    markers, and, prior to the last few decades, archaeologists were not trained to consider if their finds represented people other than British colonial elites.

  • The work was performed over a long period of time and by different firms, so the data exists in different reporting and catalog conventions.
  • “Historic Campus” and the rest of campus have been treated as separate sites. Archaeological work within the designated Historic Campus area has been done to exacting research standards; work on the rest of campus complies with laws for work on state property but does not meet those same standards. W&M needs to look to the entire property it owned in the past—including outlying parcels such as Nottoway Quarter—as potentially contributing to our knowledge about enslaved people and how their labor and domestic activities were part of W&M’s community.

Recommendation: Reexamine and re-catalogue reports and artifact inventories created earlier in the century to work in concert with excavation done more recently. Target Date: December 2019

Recommendation: Create a single repository for the official archaeological and architectural reports (and artifact storage), with all material available in searchable, digital form. Target Date: December 2020

Establish Billups Hall through Renaming

In the continuing effort to expand the campus landscape to represent a diverse and inclusive environment, the Lemon Project calls for the renaming of Brown Hall. We strongly suggest that this building or another appropriate building be renamed for Henry Billups, an African American man who worked at the College from 1888 until 1954.1 Deadline: December 2019

Establish Committee to Determine Nomenclature at William & Mary

What does William & Mary’s landscape communicate? At this time, the landscape reflects the rich history of the institution’s white male founders and early students. Does it suggest an inclusive and diverse community of the 21st century, or does the landscape reflect an earlier time? While the additions of Hardy and Lemon Halls and the plaques highlighting the arrival of women in 1918 and African American residential students in 1967 represent very positive steps forward, there is still much work to do if the campus is to reflect the full diversity of the local, state, and national communities. To this end, the Lemon Project recommends the  establishment of  a campus committee to, first, conduct research to determine best practices related to this issue, and then, considering William & Mary’s unique history, develop policies and procedures that will best prepare the University to respond when presented with recommendations to name or rename structures, spaces, events, etc. Target Date: May 2019

Build Consistent Research Capacity into James Monroe’s Highland

Monroe’s Highland home, owned by William & Mary, has made significant contributions in document-based research and archaeological study of the plantation landscape, one of the main sources of information about enslaved African Americans and their lived experiences. Highland’s relationship with its descendant community is in its infancy. In 2017, Highland staff met and began collaborating with several members of families who have always known their relationship to Monroe’s plantation, and in 2018 developed relationships and research collaboration. These initiatives are ongoing and will contribute to future site interpretation. Highland and staff of W&M Libraries have planned and obtained funding for an oral history project with this descendant group that will begin in 2019. Highland has no staff whose primary role is research, and it is crucial that oral histories, document-based research, and archaeology continue with momentum. By integrating Highland into curricular initiatives such as COLL 199, and taking the rich opportunity offered by vertically integrated research teams, Highland can become a laboratory for the main campus, providing a rich and authentic setting for research and student learning. Some continuity may also come from establishing a post-doc whose responsibilities include portions of Highland’s commitment to research and interpretation of diverse narratives. Faculty involvement could be further developed through the availability of research or course development funds that might serve as incentives. The goal would be to work toward sustained research and teaching that would develop over years.

Recommendation: William & Mary should assist Highland in actively seeking a diverse group of

advisors in envisioning the museum experience and implementing that vision. This should include museum professionals, public historians, and university stakeholders whose perspectives ensure that research and interpretation at Highland are inclusive and multivocal. Descendant communities should also be engaged in the visioning and implementation as stakeholders in the organization. The ability to fully implement the shared vision will depend on the availability of curatorial time, which is not yet present at Highland. Target Date: Ongoing

The Lemon Project endorses and will support these endeavors where possible:
Faculty Diversity

A diverse workplace matters, and this is especially true for college and university campuses. Currently only 4.25 percent of the W&M faculty is African American.

This is not reflective of the student body, nor is it on par with the percentage of blacks in this country. W&M students, faculty, and staff have called for the institution to recognize this reality and take steps to rectify its omission. Only a truly diverse and inclusive faculty will enable the institution to fulfill its goal “to use the scholarship and skills of its faculty and students to further human knowledge and understanding, and to address specific problems confronting the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world.” Inherent in William & Mary’s acceptance of qualified students is the promise that upon graduation said students will be prepared to enter the workforce ready to interact with people from different cultural, economic, racial, gender, and social backgrounds. This preparation requires that they have the opportunity to learn how to function in a diverse climate. Many of our students come to  campus from homogeneous environments; to leave W&M as truly educated people with the potential to be successful, they must have the opportunity to overcome this deficit.

Transition to Department of Africana Studies

As a program, Africana Studies (AFST) deconstructs certain fallacies regarding the concept of race and prepares students to contribute to American race relations without racial bigotry and hatred. In short, the program contributes to the diversity of the human experience by being an anti-racist discipline. The program contributes to the diversity of William & Mary simply by existing. AFST faculty also include more nontraditional, nonwhite faculty  members than most programs and departments at the William & Mary. As an interdisciplinary program, Africana Studies encourages multiple ways of thinking and knowing. The Lemon Project wholeheartedly supports the transition of the Africana Studies Program to a Department of Africana Studies. The establishment of this department will signal to potential faculty and students that W&M is an institution that is capable of discerning and responding to important trends in higher education, and that it understands the importance of the type of work that can be accomplished through such a department.

Native American Study at William & Mary

The Lemon Project commends the work of Dr. Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, Director of the American Indian Resource Center, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology and Curator of Native American Art at the Muscarelle Museum of Art, Dr. Ashley Atkins Spivey (Pamunkey) the Tribal Liaison for the Native Studies minor and the American Indian Resource Center, and Dr. Buck Woodard, affiliated scholar, for their research and efforts to reframe the complex history of indigenous peoples at the Brafferton Indian School during the 18th-century. The Lemon Project endorses the continued support of research related to the history of Native Americans at William & Mary, the interdisciplinary faculty teaching in the Native Studies minor, as well as ongoing civic engagement with descendant communities associated directly and indirectly with William & Mary.

Economic Development

One of the goals of the Lemon Project is to promote reconciliation between William & Mary and the Greater Williamsburg community. One way to accomplish this goal is to provide a means of economic uplift for members of underserved communities. Clarence Rodwell, a Virginia native, who retired in Williamsburg after working for many years in Silicon Valley, CA, has started a business, Llewdor Gardens, LLC, which supplies live microgreens to chefs in Hampton Roads and Richmond. Chefs like microgreens for their outstanding taste, nutritional value, and visual appeal.

Mr. Rodwell’s Williamsburg business is successful and sustainable. A key to his success was the modest capital investment required for startup, and the margins are very good. Mr. Rodwell believes that the growing and marketing of microgreens can be easily taught. Their visual appeal makes selling them easy. Discussions have started with members of underserved communities in Orlando and New Orleans with plans  to start operations in these cities in 2018. Mr. Rodwell believes that this is an opportunity to move beyond conversation and provide a concrete opportunity for William & Mary to give back to the African American community. Consultations with individuals in the School of Business have already begun.