The Witness Stones Project™ is a K-12 educational initiative whose mission is to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities. Inspired by the Stolpersteine memorial project, and with its blessing, the Project began in Guilford, Connecticut, in 2017, and became an independent 501(c)(3) in August 2019.
The Project provides archival research, professional teacher development, a classroom curriculum, and public programming to help students discover and chronicle the local history of slavery. The final component of the work in each community is the placement of Witness Stone Memorials™: permanent landscape markers that honor enslaved individuals where they lived, worked, or worshiped.
The students explore the lives of enslaved individuals through primary source documents and then create biographical sketches of the forgotten enslaved men, women, and children and share those stories through essays, art, poetry, and films.
The students then bring their communities together to place the Witness Stones. At public installation ceremonies, students, faculty, administrators, historians, public officials, clergy, and the larger community remember and honor the forgotten through music, poetry, oration, and reflection.
Our hope is that the students’ work and the public memorials inspire communities to learn their true history, dismantle current inequities, and build a just future.