Many of the most well-respected institutions in the United States have a history deeply connected to slavery. Harvard University, which many consider to be the pinnacle of higher education, has taken a commendable step towards a better future by acknowledging its own connections to slavery.
“Harvard was directly complicit in slavery from the college’s earliest days in the 17th century until the system of bondage ended in Massachusetts in 1783,” said President Drew Faust. “We look at both past and present today in the firm belief that only by coming to terms with history can we free ourselves to create a more just world.”
ABCNews reports that researchers and historians from a range of institutions came to Cambridge to prove that Harvard was only one of the many that benefit from and justified slavery in the past.
“Some of our most esteemed educational institutions are also the product of some of the most horrific violence that has ever descended on any group of people,” said Sven Beckert, a Harvard history professor.
Records show that some of the university’s earliest president’s and forefathers made their wealth from slavery and even brought them to campus to work until slavery was abolished.
While this is surely a move int he right direction for Harvard, some feel that there is much more that it can do to repair its legacy.
“I don’t know how you conduct research that shows that your very existence is rooted in a great crime, and you just, well, shrug, and maybe at best say I’m sorry,” said Ta-Nehisi Coates, who writes for The Atlantic magazine. “You have to do the right thing and try to make some amends.”