Creative Inquiry: Woodland Cemetery Preservation and Memorial Project

HIST 3890 003, Fall 2021


Students will conduct research and participate in community engagement activities to assist with the development of the preservation plan and memorial for Woodland Cemetery. In February of 2020, two Clemson students visited the Fort Hill Slave and Convict Cemetery and found it in a state of disrepair. They worked with faculty and staff to clean up the site and install a memorial. Further research led to the team to learn that there was a larger African American burial site on the west side of Woodland Cemetery. Using ground penetrating radar, 667 unmarked graves, believed to be those of African American enslaved persons, sharecroppers, convicted laborers, and wage workers, were recovered in the cemetery. Clemson Trustees established a trustee task force and Legacy Council in late summer 2020 to develop a preservation and memorialization plan for the burial ground, including a memorial. Students will complete genealogy research, conduct archival research, conduct and create historical tours, create social media posts, assist with developing memorial design, participate in dramatic performances, record oral history, proctor surveys, and write biographical narratives.
Team Leaders
Dr. Rhondda Thomas, English
Dr. Sara Collini, History and Geography
Cemetery Project Website:
Creative Inquiry Website:
Students interested in joining this Creative Inquiry team should email Dr. Thomas ( and Dr. Collini ( with their name, major, and reasons they are interested in the project.