Harvard Examines Its Ties to Slavery

In the past several years, Brown University, the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary and other institutions of higher learning have investigated their ties to slavery. Now the Slavery Research Project at Harvard University has published a booklet entitled Harvard and Slavery: Seeking a Forgotten History.

Harvard was founded in 1636 and slavery was legal in Massachusetts until 1783. The new research project found that three Harvard presidents owned slaves. Evidence was found that slaves worked on campus as early as 1639. Several slave-related industries and slave owners contributed to Harvard right up to the Civil War. More information is available at the project’s website.

Here is a student video on the history of slavery in the early years of Harvard University.

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  1. Yes, we must be about the business of uncovering and incorporating into the narrative the African American part of American history. The truth must be told and taught in order for America to know who she really is and in order for the purulent material to be cleansed from the scabbed over wounds inflicted by the centuries of continuing racism. Only then can real healing begin.

  2. As an educator at TCC Virginia Beach Campus and as a Caribbean-American, I am thankful that you took the time to research our culture from Africa, Caribbean to the American shores for economic reasons. It is indeed a sad story but one that must be told. You should be engaged with Caribbean-American Heritage and Month –which is June. Please keep in contact with me (founder of Hampton Roads Caribbean Organization) and I wish you a wonderful life. We need you! Thanks.

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