Blackspace: The Legacy of Dean Hardy

The last “black spaces” in the timeline of spaces on campus that I have been researching are Lemon and Hardy halls. Lemon and Hardy, originally Jamestown North and South, are the newest residences on campus. They were opened in 2006, and ten years later were renamed for prominent African Americans at William and Mary. Lemon is named for a slave owned by William and Mary in the 18th century and not much is known about him, but Hardy was a Dean at the College who has left an indelible mark on the College of William and Mary, and learning her story was one of the best parts of the research I’ve done this summer. Dr. Carroll Hardy was an educator, an inspiration, and most importantly, she was a crucial part of efforts to diversify the college after years of segregation (forced and voluntary).

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The Wren Building as a Black Space

During the fall of 2016, I took a Hinduism course that met in the basement of the Wren building. Two months into the semester I was informed by a friend of mine that those classrooms were once used as slave kitchens. This news shocked me, as I hadn’t previously thought about the history of the space that I was learning in. That semester, I created a short podcast in which I discussed the Wren building’s history as a black space with Dr. Susan Kern and Kimberly Renner, the women who run the Old Campus here at William and Mary. As part of my project this summer I am planning to record a longer, more in depth version of this podcast. Listen to the podcast below for a sneak peek at my larger project!

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Black Space: Mapping William and Mary’s Relationship with African Americans

During the Fall of 2016, I took a class that met in the Wren basement. I remember the way that I felt first entering that classroom- descending the stairs into the cool, dark space in which I would be learning. There was a sense of pride in knowing that I was learning in the very same building that the likes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington embodied. Halfway through the semester, though, I learned from a friend in the Spotswood program that my basement classroom was once a slave kitchen. I began to think of this space in a new way- as a site of exploitation, and a black space on our predominately white campus. As the semester went on, I began to think about the other black spaces on this campus- the places where African Americans learned and lived within this predominately white space, and the significance of these spaces within the context of the landscape that is Colonial Williamsburg. Furthermore, I started to think about ways that the story of African Americans at the College of William and Mary could be told through the spaces that African Americans have inhabited over the course of William and Mary’s three hundred year history. These spaces include the house of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, The Hugh Long Willis Library in the School of Education, and the Lemon and Hardy Halls. With my research project, Black Space, I aim to map out William and Mary’s relationship with the African American community from exploitation in the Wren Building memorialization in Lemon and Hardy halls. I plan to use the resources on campus in the Swem archives as well as other research on these spaces. What I hope to achieve in the end is a digital map of the black spaces on campus that also acts as an archive of the relationship that William and Mary has had with African Americans over the years.