Dear CfMA Members and Colleagues,

The Council for Maryland Archeology (CfMA) is deeply disturbed by recent events at James Madison's Montpelier and would like to voice our support for continued power sharing between the Montpelier Foundation and descendants chosen by the Montpelier Descendants Committee. Please see the letter HERE for the stance of our organization.
If you are not familiar with this situation, there have been major changes at James Madison's Montpelier. In sum, the Montpelier Foundation Board has voted to reverse its groundbreaking decision to share power with the Montpelier Descendants Committee (MDC). The MDC is the official organization of descendants of the enslaved, has democratically elected representatives, and welcomes all descendants according to the rubric for Engaging Descendant Communities. The Montpelier Foundation Board  adopted a policy that will allow them to select who qualifies as a descendant and who they will work with. This policy change goes against the strong objects of Montpelier staff, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and best practices in our field. In addition, staff has been intimidated out of communicating with the descendant community, staff jobs have been threatened for speaking up, and misinformation has been spread.
Here are some ways you can help. 
  • Email Letters of support for the descendants and staff.  These should be sent to CEO Roy Young  and TMF Board Chair Eugene Hickok at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and copy the National Trust for Historic Preservation (who own the Montpelier property). 
  • Read statements of support from organizations like the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience
  • Read this article in the Washington Post
  • Follow the MDC to hear directly from descendants:
  • Sign the petition:
  • Read the staff statement:
Thank you,
Stephanie T. Sperling, M.A.A.
President, Council for Maryland Archeology