Harvard University announced on Tuesday that it will create a $100 million fund to help make up for its ties to slavery, spelled out in the 134-page report, “Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery.”
Some of Harvard’s ties to slavery listed in the report include:
Between the University’s founding in 1636 and the end of slavery in 1783, Harvard faculty, staff and leaders enslaved more than 70 individuals.
Some of the enslaved people worked and lived on campus, where they cared for Harvard presidents and professors and fed generations of Harvard students.
Through connections to multiple donors, the University had extensive financial ties to, and profited from, slavery during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
During the first half of the 19th century, more than a third of the money donated or promised to Harvard by private individuals came from just five men who made their fortunes from slavery and slave-produced commodities.
“Slavery and its legacy have been a part of American life for more than 400 years,” Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said on Tuesday. “The work of further redressing its persistent effects will require our sustained and ambitious efforts for years to come.”
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In recent years, other colleges have also examined their history as it relates to issues of slavery and segregation. One of those schools is Georgetown University. The D.C. area college announced funding commitments to benefit descendants of enslaved people in 2019.
The move was initially brought on by undergraduate students who elected to “tax” themselves $27.20 a semester, a symbolic number referencing the 272 enslaved people sold by the school in 1838 to financially assist the university. Later, the college nixed the students’ plan and decided to pledge $400,000 to community health projects related to descendants of those 272 enslaved people, according to the New York Times.
Additionally, the Princeton Theological Seminary, in N.J., announced a $27 million endowment plan in 2019 after an audit revealed that some founders used slave labor.
“We did not want to shy away from the uncomfortable part of our history and the difficult conversations that revealing the truth would produce,” seminary President M. Craig Barnes announced in 2019.
In recent years, schools such as Yale University have removed the names of slavery supporters from buildings. New monuments have gone up elsewhere, including Brown University’s Slavery Memorial sculpture — a partially buried ball and chain — and the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia.
The number of colleges and universities that have at least some ties to slavery is likely far higher than what is currently known.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.