McDonogh Project

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The McDonogh Project

Lafayette to Liberia

This purpose of this project is to expose students to the excitement of using primary materials, to promote learning about the McDonogh 'brothers' two former slaves sent to Lafayette to be educated in preparation for their freedom. These two men, Washington Watts and David Kinney, are a part of Lafayette history, to give each succeeding class the opportunity to leave a legacy in the form of their contribution to increased analysis and exposure of the Skillman McDonogh collection.

This activity is an integral part of the AFS 211 Black Experience class. Throughout the class, we take a chronological approach to the experiences of Africans and African-American creoles from the late 1600s and end up around 1860. The emphasis is to explore the social and cultural transitions that people of African descent went through during this period. We are reading Robert Eng's book on Hampton, Virginia at the beginning of the Civil War. The great advantage to this is that by then students have developed a nuanced appreciation for the time period of Washington and David's experiences at Lafayette, and what their social environment may have been like in the 1840s.