Harvard University has set aside $100 million for an endowment fund and other measures to eradicate the educational, social and economic gaps that are legacies of slavery and racism. Lawrence Bacow, the university president sent an email regarding the same to all students, faculty and staff on Tuesday.
The email consists a 100-page report by Harvard’s 14-member committee and the Legacy of Slavery. The panel was chaired by Tomiko Brown-Nagin, a legal historian and constitutional law expert and dean of Harvard’s interdisciplinary Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
The report documents a history of slaves toiling on the campus and the university taking benefits from the slave trade and slavery industries after it was outlawed in Massachusetts in 1783, 147 years after Harvard’s founding. The report also records Harvard excluding black students and its scholars advocating racism.
“Slavery and its legacy have been a part of American life for more than 400 years. The work of further redressing its persistent effects will require our sustained and ambitious efforts for years to come,” Bacow wrote.
The move by the university in Massachusetts comes amid a wider conversation about the impacts of centuries of slavery, discrimination and racism. Some people have called for financial or other reparations.
In recent years, other U.S. institutions of higher learning have also created funds to address legacies of slavery. A law enacted in Virginia last year requires five public state universities to create scholarships for descendants of people enslaved by the institutions.
With inputs from Reuters.