In the spring of 2017, Salem Academy and College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which was established in 1772, formed a committee, which included faculty, staff, student, alumnae, and trustee representation, to review college orientation traditions and to make recommendations about possible discoveries resulting from the research commissioned by the administration into the relationship between the institution and slavery. The committee completed its charge in the spring of 2018. Its final recommendations resulted in Salem issuing a formal apology for the use of enslaved labor at the school, joining the organization Universities Studying Slavery, and created an ongoing institutional task force, the Commission on Slavery and Its Legacy at Salem Academy and College.
On November 22, 2019, the Commission was renamed the Anna Maria Samuel Project: Race, Remembrance, and Reconciliation. The project honors an enslaved African American student at the Girls School in Salem (1793 to 1795). Anna Maria’s father, Johann Samuel, was the first person baptized in Salem’s Moravian congregation.
In conjunction with the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of Salem Academy and College, the Anna Maria Samuel Project: Race, Remembrance, and Reconciliation is holding two events focusing on the history of the college’s relationship with slavery and the work of both enslaved and free African Americans in the history of the institution.
The Anna Maria Samuel Project is hosting a historical presentation and community panel that examines the history of enslaved and free Africans and African Americans in the town of Salem and at Salem Academy and College. In addition, the project has created historical markers and developed a walking tour to educate the community on the history of enslaved people on campus and in the surrounding community.