Connecting the Community and Descendants Enslaved & Owners In Common Ground Programming

News Release, Historic Sotterley Plantation

Annapolis, MD – On January 23, 2020, Historic Sotterley received the Excellence in Public Programming Award by The Maryland Historical Trust. MHT recognized Sotterley’s 2019 UNESCO Designation Ceremony & Building Bridges to Common Ground Program.

“This award recognizes significant achievements in the development and execution of programs and projects that engage members of the public with historic preservation and/or archaeology in meaningful, dynamic and innovative ways,” according to MHT.

In 2010, Sotterley was reinterpreted to tell the intertwining stories of those who came before us. The Common Ground Initiative is providing our extended community with programming emphasizing learning and healing, critical research and a holistic approach to reconciling the wounds of history.

Left to right: Director of Md Historical Trust – Elizabeth Hughes, Descendant – Angela Wilson, Descendant and Board Member – Gwen Bankins, Director of Educational Programming & Partnerships – Jeanne Pirtle, Descendant & Board Member – Jan Briscoe, Executive Director – Nancy Easterling, and Director of Development – Jane Bachman

Sotterley also established programming in 2018 around the Common Ground Initiative which included topics such as Interpreting Difficult HistoryPower in the Name discussing African naming practices and Descendant Panel Discussions were descendants of owners and enslaved came together to discuss their stories, challenges, and Historic Preservation.

In August 2019, Sotterley brought together over 250 descendants, historians, genealogists and community activists from as far away as California to designate Sotterley as a UNESCO Slave Route Site of Memory.

In 2020, Sotterley will continue the Building Bridges and UNESCO Programming with a three-day program taking place from August 20 through August 23.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...