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

This activity is an integral part of Dr. Wendy Wilson-Fall's course AFS 211: Black Experience. Throughout the course, we take a chronological approach to the experiences of Africans and African-American Creoles from the late 1600s through 1860. The emphasis is to explore the social and cultural transitions that people of African descent went through during this period, and includes reading Robert Eng's book on Hampton, Virginia at the beginning of the Civil War. This text helps students develop a nuanced appreciation for the time period of Washington and David's experiences at Lafayette College, and what their social environment may have been like in the 1840s. Dr. Wilson-Fall gratefully acknowledges the essential role of Jethro Israel '16, who worked on this project as a Digital Humanities Excel Scholar during the 2014-15 academic year.

The McDonogh legacy lives on in the Lafayette College McDonogh Network. The McDonogh Network is "an active and engaged networking organization consisting of multiple generations of Lafayette College’s Black alumni and students." Read more about the network at  

To learn more about McDonogh archival materials available for research at Lafayette College Archives & Special Collections, visit here.