Harvard pledges $100M to research, atone for role in slavery

THE SEATTLE TIMES:

Harvard University is vowing to spend $100 million to study and atone for its extensive ties with slavery, the school’s president announced Tuesday, with plans to identify and support the descendants of enslaved people who labored at the Ivy League campus.

President Lawrence Bacow announced the funding as Harvard released a new report detailing the many ways the college benefited from slavery and perpetuated racial inequality. But the report stops short of recommending direct financial reparations, and officials have no immediate plans for that kind of support.

Harvard, the nation’s oldest and wealthiest college, is the latest among a growing number of U.S. schools attempting to confront their involvement with slavery and also make amends for it.

The report, commissioned by Bacow, found that Harvard’s faculty, staff and leaders enslaved more than 70 Black and Native American people from the school’s founding in 1636 to 1783. It cautions that the figure is “almost certainly an undercount.” Using historical records, researchers were able to identify dozens of enslaved people by name, along with their connection to the university.

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