Common Ground

Established in 2018, Sotterley’s trailblazing Common Ground initiative brings together over 200 self-identified Descendants from 30 states and four countries, community members, and partners to provide resources, remembrance, and celebration of culture to aid in healing.  


Awarded the 2021 Free Press Prize for Leadership by Underground Railroad Free Press, the program aims to uncover and eradicate racism and discrimination in all forms and to promote social equality and justice through the interpretation of authentic history and its relevance to effect social change. 


Sotterley's Common Ground programming takes many forms, including monthly speaker events, partnerships with other organizations, and special events. Events are all supported by members of Sotterley’s Descendant community who provide leadership and vision for Common Ground.  



  • Transformation of a typical house museum site into a beacon of knowledge and pride and an ally for our underrepresented community. 
  • Awards, including the 2021 Leadership Award from the Underground Free Railroad Press for trailblazing work with Descendants and the Common Ground Initiative.  

This important initiative is amplified by the efforts of local organizations including: 

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