Danielle Harrison
Danielle Harrison, M.A., J.D.

Co-Director

Danielle Harrison
Danielle Harrison, M.A., J.D.

Co-Director

Danielle Harrison is the Co-Director of the Slavery, History, Memory and Reconciliation Project. With over 26 years of experience of working in Christian environments, Danielle is a teacher, facilitator, trainer, consultant, spiritual director, campus minister and retreat director. Before accepting the position at SHMR, She was the director of Mission Integration at Visitation Academy. Danielle also taught Theology at a number of Catholic High Schools in the St. Louis area. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Saint Louis University Law School, and Aquinas Institute of Theology, where she received her Masters of Theology with a concentration in Biblical Studies. Danielle is a trained facilitator for Dismantling Racism and promoting Cultural Competency, and is frequently sought after to speak to issues of Equity and Inclusion.

Laura Weis, Ph.D.

Project Coordinator

Laura Weis, Ph.D.

Project Coordinator

Laura Weis coordinates the SHMR Project on behalf of the Jesuits in the United States, and works to build relationships with descendants, community members, researchers, Jesuit partners, and others to advance the project’s mission and goals. She holds a Ph.D. in Peace Studies and History from the University of Notre Dame, where she studied religion, conflict, and peacebuilding, and the relationship between U.S. culture and foreign relations. She previously worked in Washington, D.C., advocating for the peaceful prevention of violent conflict with the Friends Committee on National Legislation and the American Friends Service Committee. Laura is an alumna of Saint Louis University, where she earned a B.A. in history and sociology.

Jonathan C. Smith, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, SLU

Jonathan C. Smith, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, SLU

Dr. Jonathan C. Smith directs the Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation (SHMR) Project on behalf of Saint Louis University (SLU), where he serves as the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement. Dr. Smith is also an Assistant Professor in the African American Studies Program. His teaching and research focus on the history and ideology of race in American culture. He has particular interests in how ideologies of race shape and are shaped by African American literature and culture. He is also a widely published poet. He holds both a Ph.D. in English & American Literature and an M.F.A. in Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was the recipient of the prestigious Chancellor’s Fellowship for African American students. Jonathan is also an award-winning teacher and an alumnus of Cave Canem.

Kelly L. Schmidt, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate

Research Coordinator

Kelly L. Schmidt, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate

Research Coordinator

Kelly Schmidt leads the SHMR Project’s research effort to learn the identities and lived experience of the people whom the Jesuits held in slavery. She also coordinates the project’s genealogical research to connect living descendants of the Jesuits’ enslaved people to their ancestors. Kelly is a doctoral candidate in United States History and Public History at Loyola University Chicago. She earned her undergraduate degree at Xavier University, where she was an Honors Bachelor of Arts (Latin, Greek, and Philosophy) and History major with minors in Gender and Diversity Studies, Peace Studies, and Philosophy. Kelly worked for about eight years at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center as a docent, youth docent mentor and museum experiences specialist.

Ayan Ali

Researcher

Ayan Ali

Researcher

Ayan serves as a researcher for the SHMR Project and conducts historical research about the lives of people held in bondage by the Society of Jesus and genealogical research about their descendants. She recently completed her undergraduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied women’s studies and history. Ayan previously interned with the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE) and Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments (ALIVE STL).

SHMR operates within a web of relationships, which we are still in the early stages of developing. As the project evolves, so will our collaborative approach, which engages multiple stakeholders and works across traditional institutional boundaries. 

Research Committee
  • St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society
  • Kelly L. Schmidt, Research Coordinator
  • Ayan Ali, Researcher
  • Nick Lewis, Volunteer Researcher
  • Michael Harter, SJ, Digitization Assistant
Past Contributors
  • Ken Homan, SJ
  • Billy Critchley-Menor, SJ
  • Juanita Blackshear
  • Cicely Hunter
  • Jeffrey Harrison, SJ
  • Jasmine Molock
  • Kathleen Schmitz
  • Jeffrey Dorr, SJ
  • Claire Peterson
  • Sean Ferguson
Advisory Committee
  • Cheryl Archibald, Parish Life Coordinator, St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church
  • Joseph Brown, SJ, Professor, Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Eric Clark, Ed.D., President, Loyola Academy of St. Louis
  • Marie Kenyon, Director, Peace & Justice Commission Archdiocese of St Louis
  • Rita Hollie, J.D., St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church
Curriculum Committee
  • Mary Baudouin, Jesuits UCS Province
  • Saj Kabadi, Regis Jesuit High School
  • Frank Kovarik, Saint Louis University High School
  • Ken Luecke, Jesuits UCS Province
  • Chris Kellerman, SJ, Jesuit Social Research Institute
  • Catalina Martinez, De Smet Jesuit High School
  • Pete Musso, De Smet Jesuit High School
  • Nicole Smith, Rockhurst High School
  • Christina Vela, Regis Jesuit High School

4511 W. Pine Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108

SHMR@jesuits.org
314.758.7159

Scroll to Top
Tweet
Share
Pin