Harvard University published a report detailing the university’s connections to slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries and promised to rectify its “extensive involvements” with the slave trade.
The prestigious school, an alma mater to many celebrities and famous academics, published the report, titled Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery. It is a ten-chapter account of the university’s historical connections to slavery in Massachusetts.
In an attempt to reconcile its past, the account detailed how slavery benefited the institution, even detailing that enslaved people worked on campus in the 16th century.
“Through ties to several donors, the university had extensive financial ties to and benefited from slavery in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries,” reads one of the report’s findings.
Lawrence S. Bacow, President of Harvard University, said in a statement Tuesday: “The report makes clear that slavery in America was by no means confined to the South. It was embedded in the fabric and institutions of the North and remained legally in Massachusetts until the Supreme Judicial Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1783.”
“At that point, Harvard was almost 150 years old. And the truth is, slavery has played a significant role in our institutional history,” Bacow continued.
Harvard was founded in 1636. For 150 years, the university enslaved more than 70 people, according to the report, which lists the names of all enslaved people in an appendix.
“Enslaved people worked on our campus and supported our students, faculty, and staff, including several Harvard presidents. The work of enslaved people, both remote and local, enriched numerous donors and ultimately the institution,” said Bacow.
The report also explained how the institution and its donors benefited from slavery. It states that donors “accumulated their wealth through the slave trade, from the labor of enslaved people on plantations in the Caribbean islands and American South, and from the textile industry of the North, which was supplied with cotton grown in bondage by enslaved people “.
The school also pledged $100 million to fund a committee dedicated to implementing the report’s recommendations to “repair our legacy of slavery through teaching, research and service.”
“We cannot dismantle what we do not understand, and we cannot understand the current injustice we face, unless we honestly reckon with our history,” said Tomiko Brown-Nagin, chair of the committee responsible for the report and Professor at Harvard University.
This isn’t the first study Harvard has published on its historical entanglements. The report also explained that another professor and a group of undergraduate students began studying the history of the school and published a report in 2011. Several smaller reports followed, including research into Harvard’s benefactors and, more recently, buildings on campus named after an individual who had taken part in the expulsion of black students.
Bacow concluded: “With the release of this report and the commitment to implement its recommendations, we continue a long tradition of tackling the challenges ahead.”
In February, Harvard made headlines when three female students claimed the university had ignored claims that an anthropology professor had sexually harassed students.
news week contacted Harvard for further comments.
https://www.newsweek.com/harvard-puts-its-extensive-financial-ties-slavery-display-report-1701190 Harvard flaunts its “extensive financial ties” to slavery in a report