Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Press Release

Below is the Press Release we have made. It will also include the Knowing Our History banner found on the website, but I couldn't get that to paste onto the blog.





March 11, 2009

Contact: Mike Kurkjian

Phone: (301) 335-6887

E-mail: mkurkjia@umd.edu


College Park, MD – The University of Maryland’s undergraduate class researching the University’s connection to slavery has uncovered Benjamin Hallowell’s grave, located in Sandy Spring, MD.

The finding of Hallowell’s grave is a monumental breakthrough in understanding slavery on Maryland’s campus. Hallowell was a devout Quaker and an abolitionist, who was surprisingly appointed as the campus’ first President, when it was known as the Maryland Agricultural College. As the majority of the original trustees were slave-owners, the choice of Hallowell remains a mystery, which the class hopes to uncover further.

“Finding Hallowell’s grave is a very significant step in uncovering the origins of slavery on our campus,” said Kevin Valdez, a Senior History major who located the grave site. “Every day we are getting closer and closer to uncovering the truth”.

The course, which is called, “Knowing Our History” was formed during the University of Maryland’s 150th anniversary commemoration to fully understand the campus’ connection to slavery and its roots. The course is taught by world-renowned professor Ira Berlin and a doctorial candidate Herbert Brewer.

The class will write and issue a report by the end of the Spring semester in May.

“Knowing Our History: African American Slavery and the University of Maryland” is a class research project led by Professors Ira Berlin and Herbert Brewer to uncover the links between slavery and the founding of the University of Maryland. The research team consists of a diverse sampling of undergraduate students from various backgrounds and majors.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Riversdale Group

Hey everybody,
The Riversdale group went to Riversdale on Friday and met with one of the historians. She said they didn't have very much data from Charles Benedict Calvert's era, but did point out a few interesting materials that we could use. Among those were an article referencing one of George Calvert's other children settling in New York and insisting she had "never been a slave", and some copies of the original land records, which should help Jonathan with creating an interactive historical overlay map of the area.
Another interesting fact we discovered as we were leaving - Ed Day, the director of the mansion site, said a local coffin company had discovered records that Charles Benedict Calvert bought coffins "for his slaves" from their company. Our group is planning a return trip on Friday to dig through the Riversdale materials, so we will hopefully have more information then.

-Grace W.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Presentation to President Mote

Congratulations to everybody who participated in the presentation today! It went really well. We presented our findings and ideas very clearly and we got good feedback. For the rest of you who weren't there here is a list of questions that President Mote asked. We already have the answers to some of these questions, but not all. It might be a good idea to keep these questions in mind as we continue to research:

1. Why did Hallowell resign?
2. How many people lived in Bladensburg? Free? Slave?
3. What about the Annapolis newspapers? Any mention of Hallowell?
4. What were the actual mechanics of the land transfer from Calvert to MAC? Was it a gift?
5. What is the history of the first few years? Why did it close?
6. What buildings were on the site before MAC?
7. Was the Calvert property a working farm?
8. Which buildings were actually constructed for the MAC and by the MAC?

Also, Mote mentioned something at the meeting that should be shared with the rest of the group. He said "not to scare you, but..." the research that we are doing right now and the report that we will eventually present are very significant. Not much of this information has been delved into and presented before so we are setting a model for future research and writing on the topic of slavery in Maryland.

That's another thing to keep in mind. So, the meeting was a success and keep up the good work!

Monday, March 2, 2009

State Archives Update 3/1

Hello All,

Hope everyone's snow day is going well, just here to give our weekly update. We now have several new resources available and a rather intriguing discovery. As far as new finds, I have pulled George Calvert's will and inventory (with slaves), as well as CBC's inventory (no slaves, hmmm). Ross has finished copying the Martinet people out of both the 1850 and 1860 books, and Chris has continued work with newspapers and runaway slave adds. Those that he found will follow this post. The most interesting one is that of Clement Smith, which shows as Chris pointed out to me direct evidence of slaves used on the land that would become the campus of the MAC. Cheers, Happy Hunting.


John Bowie
• Basil Thomas ran away in September 1836, presumably headed for Washington.

Howarton Cross
• Howarton Cross owned the wife of runaway slave Sandy (owned by Fielder Cross) in 1838.

Isaac Scaggs
• Adam Smith ran away in August and presumably returned within weeks to help his wife and 4 children run away in 1857.

Clement Smith
• Runaway ad placed by Clement Smith for his slave named Levi who worked as a waiter at Ross’s Tavern for several years until approximately 1809, perhaps as a hired slave.

John Higgins
• Ulrich ran away in 1854
• Uriah ran away in August 1846
• Uriah ran away in April 1846

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Class Notes 2/23

Greetings All.

Class Notes for February 23rd, 2009

Agenda 2/23/09


--Reminder of draft due dates: April 6th

--Research due dates: Turn in all research findings to writing group by March 13th. Extended deadline can be arranged if needed

Public Relations

--Met with Diamondback last Tuesday

--Story in Process, nothing set in stone yet

--March 4th, Meeting with President Mote

--Statement of purpose from him

--Need to decide what the group wants to tell; create a presentation

--Follow up invitations from Washington Post, Annapolis Newspaper

Writing Group

--Rough draft of introduction

--When groups turn in their research, they need to provide a short paragraph to explain the information

--Thesis point of the research

Maryland Room

--1850/1860 first time Census uses names

--Need to create spread sheet: how many people living in the districts? How many households? Total population? Whites? Free blacks? Slaves?

--Biographical dictionary of legislator

--Sense of leadership: who they are/what is the Agricultural College about?

Historical Societies

--Went to the Sandy Spring Museum

-- A lot of information on Hallowell and the school in Alexandria

--Autobiography/letters still left to go through

--Would like to explore story of Hallowell and Calvert conflicting with slavery

State Archives

--1861 P.G. assessment records; list of household from maps

--Tax values/property/value of slaves (Calvert owed $6,000 of slaves)

--Economic biography

--Information on surrounding planters

--Need sense of slaveholding in the area; more than 20 planters= planterclass

--Sense of structure of slaveholders

--Runaway slave ads

--Land records

--Goals: find deads to find records of school land

--Wills and inventories

--"Stones and Bones": cementary records


--Splitting up Plummers diary

--Research Calvert's other family

--Provided suggestions on rough draft.

Wednesday: Discuss plan for meeting with President Mot

Class Notes 2/16

Greetings all,

Find below the Class Notes for February 16th, 2009

Minutes from February 16, 2009 Meeting of HIST429L

  • New Blog on website. To update, need to create a gmail account and email rkrublit@umd.edu to gain access.
  • Meeting with President Mote March 4th 9 AM
  • Report Structure
    • What was the impact of slavery on the founding and early life of the University of Maryland College Park?
      • I. Calvert: Slave owner and founder
        • Multiple families
        • Calvert's slaves
      • II. Slavery in the area
        • Plummer family
      • III. Trust holders/ Professors/ Students
      • IV. Hallowell
      • V. Government funding
      • VI. UMD role during the Civil War/Reconstruction
      • VII. Neighboring Communities
        • Census listings/ names of households and their slaves
  • Writing committee: Rough draft of introduction, will send before Monday
  • Need to designate one member of each group as a secretary, someone who will update the blog each Sunday night.
  • Research Groups:
    • Maryland State Archives: Going this Friday. Will use the online sources/ field trip to get archives pulled
    • Historical Society: Hallowell Papers
    • Maryland Room: Look up Census 1850/1860 and provide information on slaves, residents of the area, etc. to Maryland State group.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

State Archives Update

Greetings all,

As far as the Archives group, we have had several discoveries and are making some real progress. Chris is made up a great sheet (on wiki) on surrounding neighbors and slave ads found, showing that they was definitely a slave rpescense near the campus. I am working on wills, and have found Charles B. Calvert's, Robert Clark's, and John Eversfield in the archives. Ross is doing tax assessments and has copied all the 1861 info out of the general tax ledger for the surrounding peoples, lots of good info and proves Chris' findngs. Ana and Bekah are both utilizing the online resources of land records and manumission records, as well as looking through the Stones and Bones book.

Hopefully this week we can begin to put it all together. I think it is safe to say that there were deifinitly slaves in close proximity to the campus on all sides. Cheers,