New book shows US universities ties to slavery

“Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities,” which argues provocatively that the nation’s early colleges, alongside church and state, were “the third pillar of a civilization based on bondage.”
In 2003, when Ruth Simmons, then the president of Brown University, announced a headline-grabbing initiative to investigate that university’s ties to slavery, scholars at William and Mary, Harvard, Emory, the University of Maryland, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and elsewhere have completed their own studies.
In September, the president of the University of Virginia announced a 27-member commission charged with recommending ways to commemorate the university’s “historical relationship with slavery and enslaved people,”

A broader look at the role of slavery in the growth of America’s earliest universities shows they were more than just “innocent or passive beneficiaries” of wealth derived from the slave trade.

Documents connections between slavery and various universities’ founding moments, whether it is the bringing of eight black slaves to campus by Dartmouth’s first president, Eleazar Wheelock, or the announcement by Columbia University (then named King’s College) of the swearing in of its first trustees on a broadside paid for with a single advertisement: for a slave auction near Beekman’s Slip in Lower Manhattan.

Investigations into the university’s 18th-century financing and the slaveholding practices of particular Princeton classes, with the goal of answering deeper questions about Princeton’s reputation as the most culturally Southern of the Ivies.

One comment

  1. Tameri Kemet · · Reply

    These Universities must pay reparations in the form of free college education for all African Americans!

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