The Johns Hopkins House, Inc., plans to honor the enslaved men and women who worked the 500-acre former tobacco plantation in the 18th century, through named college scholarships.
The nonprofit organization, working to save and restore Whites Hall, Johns Hopkins’ birthplace and boyhood home outside of Baltimore, announced last week that the annual academic scholarships will help African-American students access a college or vocational education.
Robert S. Brown, the nonprofit’s executive director, said this will be the first such tribute to the enslaved people of a former plantation.
“We hope for this scholarship program to become an example– a model–for other properties with similar associations with slavery,” Brown said.
Each scholarship will be specifically named for one of the Hopkins family’s enslaved workers and will have a primary funding sponsor.
The scholarship fund will also be supported by the nonprofit’s operation of the 14-acre Whites Hall property.
The Johns Hopkins House has access to records for at least 47 enslaved individuals who worked at Whites Hall, including names and, in most cases, dates of emancipation.
This information was provided by Sydney Van Morgan, Ph.D, director of the Johns Hopkins University’s International Studies Program, according to the organization.
The nonprofit added that it has also commissioned a sculpture by artist Carolyn D. Palmer of an enslaved family as an “artistic centerpiece for the project.”
“I was so moved and honored to be chosen for this project,” Palmer said. “My goal is to bring to life not only the weariness you might expect of an enslaved family but also reveal a quiet dignity and deep love and devotion for each other. This work should represent all enslaved people, and most importantly, portray their humanity.”