Harvard Pledges $100M, HBCU Partnerships To Address Its Ties To Slavery

By Cherranda Smith 


Harvard University announced it’s making a pledge of $100 million in an effort to address and correct its connection to slavery.

In 2019, Harvard President Lawrence S. Bascow commissioned a team of 13 professors to produce a report about the University’s ties to slavery. The report found that slavery played an “integral” role in shaping Harvard over the course of three centuries and proposed seven recommendations for how Harvard can “take responsibility for its past” and “leverage its strengths in the pursuit of meaningful repair.”

According to The Harvard Crimson, Bascow on Tuesday (April 26) sent an email to Harvard affiliates in which he accepted those recommendations and announced the establishment of the $100 million fund. One of the recommendations includes establishing partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to create an exchange program for college juniors and a fund to provide financial support for HBCU faculty to take sabbatical.

The recommendations “seek to remedy harms to descendants, to our community and the nation, and to campus life and learning.”

“I recognize the significant commitment, and for good reason,” Bascow wrote. “Slavery and its legacy have been part of American life for more than 400 years. The work of further redressing its persistence effects will require our sustained and ambitious efforts for years to come.”

A new committee will be selected to oversee how the $100 million fund will be spent, Bascow added. Harvard is one of several universities to make a similar move. Georgetown University, Brown University, the University of Virginia and others have similarly pledged financial support to address their institutions’ ties to slavery.

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