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The Founding Funders Map Project, produced by the research team of the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation, is a website and searchable database of information about the nearly 300 men and women who pledged money to found the University of the South in the years just before the Civil War — and their wealth in land and enslaved people.

The purpose of the Funders project is to help us better comprehend the social dynamics, political divisions, religious priorities, and economic trends that shaped the aspirations and designs of the University’s leaders as they rallied support for a powerful educational bastion to serve and protect, in their words, “the land of the sun and the slave.” The interactive map and the information it contains help us understand and reckon with the University of the South’s origins in the campaign to justify, protect, and expand slavery in the period before secession and war fractured the American nation.