View of the Lawn at UVA in sunshine

Mellon Race, Place, & Equity Program

In December 2020, the Mellon Foundation made a $5 million investment in the University of Virginia for developing research, teaching, curriculum, and community partnerships around the intersections of race, place, and equity. Violent rallies in Charlottesville in August 2017 and protests nationwide in 2020 helped galvanize UVA’s commitment to “engage the truth of our history, both national and local, both sobering and encouraging,” as stated by proposal co-authors Louis Nelson and Ian Baucom

Over the next five years, the Mellon Race, Place, and Equity (RPE) program will support new undergraduate courses across multiple disciplines around topics of race, place, and equity; hire 30 postdoctoral fellows and three faculty members whose research addresses racial justice and the redress of inequities; and cultivate relationships with local communities who historically have been marginalized from the university.

The RPE program builds on recent work at UVA that includes the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University, the completion of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, and the report of the Racial Equity Task Force in summer 2020. The RPE program runs alongside current initiatives including the President’s Commission on the University in the Era of Segregation, the recontextualization of UVA’s landscape, and a multi-year series of Race, Justice, and Equity faculty hires in a wide variety of disciplines.