This week, Harvard University released a 134-page report that detailed the school’s extensive ties to slavery and pledged $100 million for a fund for scholars to continue to research the topic. The report documents dozens of prominent people associated with Harvard who enslaved people, including four Harvard presidents. Harvard commissioned the study in 2019 as part of a wave of schools reckoning with their pasts and the ongoing legacy of racial discrimination. “Harvard’s ties to slavery begin with the founding of the institution,” says MIT historian Craig Steven Wilder, author of “Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities,” Wilder says that while this history is not new, Harvard worked for decades to erase its complicity in slavery. “We’re only beginning to reconcile and struggle with the deep ties to slavery,” he says.
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