Historic Sotterley Home Page

The Common Ground Initiative

Resilience, Remembrance, Honor, and Equity

The mission of Historic Sotterley’s continuing initiative, Common Ground, is to:

  • Bring together descendants, community, and partners to provide education, resources, remembrance, and celebrate cultures to aid in healing
  • Help uncover and eradicate racism and discrimination in all forms
  • Promote social equality and justice through the interpretation of authentic history and its relevance to effect social change
  • Encourage individual and group activism

Sotterley is grateful to the Maryland Heritage Area Authority for a generous grant for our 2020 Common Ground Initiative.  If you would like to support our mission and future programming, please donate below.



Maryland Heritage Area Authority

Common Ground 2020 Programming

Now in its third year, Sotterley’s Common Ground programming continues in 2020. The Theme: Transcending Barriers to Common Ground, was developed last year through Sotterley educational development and vetted and approved by an advisory group of scholars, content experts, and community leaders. Always relevant, its necessity is even more acute during this time of multiple crises in our nation.

Event Schedule with links here.  Virtual access.

Common Ground 2020 Programming Calendar

The Big Picture: Facebook Live with Jeanne Pirtle

Every Thursday at 2:00 PM EST


Transcending Generations Through Story Telling with Wanda Etheridge

Aug. 21 – 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST

Untitled design

Transcending Narrative and The Art of Healing with Merideth Taylor

Aug. 22 – 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST


UNESCO Day of Remembrance

Aug. 23 – 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST


Speaker Series: The Life and Legacy of Harriet Tubman

with Angela Crenshaw, Maryland Park Ranger

Sep. 16 – 7:00 PM EST


Enslaved Ancestral Research with Kenyatta Berry, Genealogist

Sept. 18 – 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST


Leveraging DNA in your Research with Kenyatta Berry, Genealogist

Sept. 19 – 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST


The Power of Us: What Happens When Historical Narratives

Are Corrected? With Christy Coleman

Oct. 14 - 7 p.m.


Book discussion: In Relentless Pursuit of

an Education: Community Conversations on Race

Nov. 17 - 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.


Archaeology at Historic Sotterley

An archaeological site survey was conducted at Sotterley last year. The survey report will be completed sometime later this summer. Sotterley's archaeological assets are many and reveals life at Sotterley, especially of the African American people that were here in the early 19th century where evidence suggests quarters pre-dating Sotterley's existing cabin. There is documented evidence that African Americans were buried at Sotterley during and after slavery, but more research and archaeological work is needed to confirm grave sites, although it is highly likely there are some. Until confirmation, signage will be placed with maps of testing locations, along with names of people we know were buried at Sotterley, and  seating for reflection will be installed. As more research is done, information will be updated and our community and stakeholders will be consulted.

Join Sotterley's Descendant Registry

Become a member of the Descendants Committee

Share Sotterley's story with other family members 

Write your story of discovery for the Descendants Newsletter

Discover your origins, take a DNA test 

Make  a gift in honor or memory of one of your ancestors 

Name  a permanent bench in Historic Sotterley in memory of your ancestor 

Make a provision in your Will to honor your ancestor's legacy 

Our mission in motion...