Skip to main content
Skip to main content Awarded Major NEH and Mellon Foundation Grants

April 15, 2021 History

"Spring Garden Estate, St. Georges", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora,

$1.4 Million Mellon Foundation Grant Joined by $349,744 NEH Grant

Congratulations to Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade, (, and co-principal investigator Daryle Williams on the award of two major grants to fund the project. is "a first-of-its-kind database containing millions of records cataloging the lives of enslaved Africans and their descendants."

On April 1, 2021, received a $1.4 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant., developed and maintained by Michigan State University researchers, links data collections from multiple universities, archives, museums and family history centers. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded the initial two phases of, which provided support for both proof-of-concept and implementation., as well as opening including public contributions beginning in December 2020.

The third phase of funding will run through March 2023 and will expand the reach of the project by refining infrastructure; driving sustainability; strengthening a commitment to the inclusion of underrepresented voices in humanities scholarship; and continuing partnerships with scholars, heritage and cultural organizations and the wider public.

The project is a collaborative effort between Matrix: Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences and the Department of History both within the College of Social Science at Michigan State University; the College of Arts & Humanities at the University of Maryland; the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University; the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture; and the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science (CAIDS) at Kansas State University.

On April 14, 2021 received an NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant of $349,744. The grant will allow expansion of the data platform through the addition of ten digital collections ranging from those held at small, local institutions to those at large, university-based special collections in the mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas, and the Lower Mississippi. These additional data sets would increase the linked open data platform to approximately 1.3 million records.

This grant will also facilitate UMD-centered work on Maryland history by partnering with the Maryland State Archives and its Legacy of Slavery in Maryland team. It will also support work in conjunction with  the UMD College of Arts and Humanities SROP 2021 cohort that will be working to develop a suite of datasets to be published in the Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation as well as an accompanying twitter feed and podcasting series #behindthedata.


Read the MSU press release here. Read the NEH press release here and the list of grantees here.