The discovery by anthropology professor Julia King and her students came just months after Jordan was informed by the school’s archivist that St. Mary’s College, which was founded in 1840, had once owned enslaved people. The news was heartbreaking, said Jordan, who is Black and has led the college since 2014.
“The history of St. Mary’s College has always been very forward-thinking and relatively progressive and somehow, in my heart of hearts, I had hoped we had no hand in slavery,” Jordan said in an interview Thursday. “When I discovered that, I was sad and depressed.”
After the artifacts, including clay pipes and broken pottery, were uncovered, Jordan said she immediately knew she wanted to do something to honor these individuals whose entire existence had long been covered by dirt and hidden from history’s lens.
She began working with administrators, professors and students as well as residents and government officials