Harvard Explores Slavery Connections Further

In 2017, then-Harvard president Drew Faust and Harvard Law School professor Annette Gordon-Reed unveiled a monument dedicated to people enslaved by law school benefactor Isaac Royall Jr. Photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Public Affairs and CommunicationsIn 2017, then-Harvard president Drew Faust and Harvard Law School professor Annette Gordon-Reed unveiled a monument dedicated to people enslaved by law school benefactor Isaac Royall Jr. Photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications
Harvard Magazine
November 22, 2019
By John S. Rosenberg

President Lawrence S. Bacow emailed the community on November 21 to announce an “initiative on Harvard and the legacy of slavery,” backed by an initial $5 million in funding and overseen by a faculty committee led by Radcliffe Institute dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School; and Professor of History, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University. This interdisciplinary, Harvard-wide initiative follows:

Bacow’s announcement said the University initiative will “build on the important work undertaken thus far, provide greater structure and cohesion to a wide array of university efforts, and give additional dimension to our understanding of the impact of slavery. This work will allow us to continue to understand and address the enduring legacy of slavery within our university community.” 

Brown-Nagin and Radcliffe, he continued, “will also anchor a range of programmatic and scholarly efforts within this new initiative,” which “will have a strong grounding in rigorous research and critical perspectives that will inform not only our understanding of facts, but also how we might address the ramifications of what we learn.” The initiative “will concentrate on connections, impact, and contributions that are specific to our Harvard community. Harvard has a unique role in the history of our country, and we have a distinct obligation to understand how our traditions and our culture here are shaped by our past and by our surroundings—from the ways the university benefitted from the Atlantic slave trade to the debates and advocacy for abolition on campus.”

Read the full article at the Harvard Magazine website.

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