Solicitation for CESU Cooperator to Conduct a Special History and Archeology Study on the Lives of Enslaved African Americans at Manassas National Battlefield Park
Deadline for responding to this letter of interest: March 15, 2023
Background: Manassas National Battlefield in Prince William County, Virginia, is famous today as the site of the first major land battle of the Civil War on July 21, 1861, and a second battle in 1862 that paved the way for the first Confederate attempt to invade the North. The battlefield was designated a national park in 1940.
Preservation of the wartime landscape has also meant the preservation of agricultural lands that were sites of enslavement for African Americans in the years leading to the Civil War (see the park’s Foundation Document). Research to date at Manassas has found that dozens of enslaved people were held in bondage from the mid- to late 18th century on large estates like Pittsylvania and Pohoke, and on numerous middling and smaller farms through the antebellum and Civil War years (see report “African American Experiences Before Emancipation” at https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/Reference/Profile/2293486).
The goals of this project are to expand our understanding of the lives of enslaved African Americans and the ways they shaped and experienced the historic landscape, to make tangible connections to places and resources that should be preserved, and to bring greater knowledge and humanity to telling their stories.
Objectives and activities: The primary objective of this project is to develop a focused study of enslaved African American experiences on the battlefield prior to 1865. Research activities will include:
Final products: The final products to be created for this project are:
Suggested project timeline (may be adapted based on proposals):
This project requires a principal investigator(s) meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Archeology. The project team may also include a co-PI meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for History, with expertise in 19th century African American history. Specialized research experience in African American historical archeology is necessary for this project.
The project is funded by the National Park Service in Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). Anticipated project funds are up to $190,000 for the full scope of the project. This includes the CESU overhead rate of 17.5%.
Methods and equipment for archeological survey will be recommended by the partner and determined in collaboration with the NPS. Supplies and equipment required for historical and archeological research should be provided by the partner, unless the NPS has existing and available equipment that the partner does not and cannot supply given the total project budget.
Letters of Interest
Send Letters of Research Interest (LOIs) to the e-mail address in the “contact” section. The LOI should describe your research interest(s) in the project, similar past projects, your proposed approach for conducting the project, key personnel you would work with, and any additional relevant experience. Please include your name, affiliated institution, and contact information. Curriculum vitae for key personnel can be submitted as attachments.
The deadline for responding to this letter of interest is March 15, 2023. LOIs will be reviewed according to the criteria below, and top candidate(s) will be contacted for full proposal development.
Evaluation for Letters of Interest
Based on a review of the Letters of Interest received, an investigator will be invited to prepare a full study proposal, schedule, and detailed budget. Letters will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Responses to this request for LOIs should be directed before the closing date to Emily_Kambic@nps.gov. Additional questions can be answered by contacting Emily Button Kambic, PhD., Historian, National Capital Regional Office, at (202) 794-0192 or by email.