Harvard commits $100 million to fix its complicity with slavery 2022-04-26 15:55:00


The university’s attempt to account for its past is detailed in a report entitled “Harvard and the legacy of slavery,“which documents how the slave trade in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries” was a vital part of New England’s economy, and powerfully shaped Harvard University. “

“It was an integral part of the fabric and institutions of the North, and remained legal in Massachusetts until the Supreme Judicial Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1783.”

Bako said that slavery and racism played an important role in Harvard’s institutional history and slave labor on campus and supported students, faculty, staff, and university presidents. Their work “enriched many donors and, ultimately, the foundation.”

For nearly 150 years — from the university’s founding in 1636 until Massachusetts abolished slavery — Harvard presidents and others enslaved more than 70 people, according to the report listing some. in the appendix.

The report stated that “enslaved men and women served Harvard’s presidents and professors and fed and cared for Harvard students.”

The report said the university and its donors profited from the slave trade in the 19th century.

“These lucrative financial relationships involved, in particular, the benefit of the donors who accumulated their fortunes through the slave trade; from slave labor on plantations in the Caribbean islands and in the American South; and from the northern textile industry supplied with cotton grown by enslaved slaves.”

The report said Harvard’s financial investments include “loans to Caribbean sugar growers, rum distillers, and farm suppliers as well as investments in the cotton industry.”

The report said university presidents and professors also promoted “race science” and eugenics and conducted abusive “research” on slaves.

“I believe we have a moral responsibility to do what we can to address the ongoing devastating effects of those historical practices on individuals, at Harvard, and on our society,” the university president wrote.

Dennis Lloyd, 74, a real estate developer who splits his time between Massachusetts and Georgia, is a scion Cuba Vasala woman born in Antigua and enslaved by the family of Isaac Royal Sr., Donation from Ibn Royal in the late eighteenth century She funded the position of first professor of law at Harvard University. The Royal family owned a sugarcane plantation in Antigua and moved to Medford, Massachusetts, after a planned slave rebellion. They brought with them several slaves.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Lloyd told CNN on Tuesday, describing Harvard’s plan as an opportunity to promote “a better understanding of the history that was lost…and stolen from African Americans as a result of slavery.”

The report includes recommendations to repair this legacy “through teaching, research, and service” and a commitment of $100 million to create a legacy fund from slavery.

“Some of this money will be available for current use, while the balance will be held in an endowment to support this work over time,” Bako said.

The fund aims to support implementation of the report’s recommendations, including expanding educational opportunities for descendants of slaves in the southern United States and the Caribbean, establishing partnerships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and identifying and building relationships with descendants of slaves who worked at Harvard.

The report said the fund notes the university’s “acknowledgment of a mistake and a responsibility to carry out a sustainable reform process: financial expenditures are a necessary and foundational basis for equity”.

Howard University alumnus Lloyd praised Ivy League’s pledge to provide financial and educational support to direct descendants of slaves and its pledge to build relationships with HBCUs.

“Harvard’s resources and pockets are very deep,” said Lloyd, a Vietnam War veteran. “Let’s see how everything is done.”

Harvard University announcement comes like other universities across the country try to calculate their complicity with slavery.

“While Harvard does not have the exclusive responsibility for these grievances, and while many members of our community have worked hard to confront them, Harvard University has benefited from practices that were deeply unethical, and in some way continued those practices,” Bako said.