Invisible Founders: African Americans at Sweet Briar, 1814-2014
A historical work by Lynn Rainville
Sweet Briar College is one of the only institutions of higher education located in and originating from an antebellum plantation. As with most large farms, the names and contributions of the white owners are recorded in the historic record. In contrast, over one thousand African Americans who lived and worked at Sweet Briar between 1814 and the College’s centennial in 2001 appear as footnotes in local histories or are lumped together en masse as “slaves” and “servants."
This manuscript compiles the biographies of these forgotten slaves, servants, and college employees and uses their stories to illustrate the struggles and contributions of African Americans to the success of an antebellum plantation and, later, an all female college.
I was selected to design this book cover as a part of NaMoWriMo’s 30 Covers in 30 Days project. More about this project here.