Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

Associate Research Professor

Cheryl Janifer LaRoche works at disciplinary intersections. She combines history and geography with archaeology and material culture, historic preservation with cultural landscapes and mapping to produce a more fully realized narrative of the African American experience. Her focus is on pre-Civil War Black communities and their institutions, particularly the Underground Railroad. She has physically explored sites from New Hampshire to Missouri and into Canada. She holds a Ph. D. in American Studies with a concentration in Archaeology and African American history from the University of Maryland College Park. She has consulted for Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, several National Park Service sites, the African Burial Ground Project and numerous museums, cultural institutions and historic sites. The Society for Historical Archaeology honored Dr. LaRoche with the John L. Cotter award for her “remarkable work in expanding the interdisciplinary development of historical archaeology in examinations of African American history and culture.” She drew on her multidisciplinary methodology for her first book, Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance.