Furman University announced today that it has established a Task Force on Slavery and Justice to examine the university’s historical connections to slavery and create educational programming that can help Furman better understand this part of its past.
In addition to Furman History Professor Steve O’Neill conducting full-time research for the project, the task force will bring a series of speakers and experts to the campus throughout the academic year. The group will recommend ways to recognize slaves for any role they might have played in the university’s early history.
The Task Force on Slavery and Justice includes Furman historians, social scientists, staff members, and student writers and leaders. It will be chaired by Brandon Inabinet, associate professor of communication studies at Furman.
“The Furman community has a deep respect for its founders and we are looking for proactive ways to connect their legacies with our vision for the future, which is to prepare students for lives of purpose, fulfillment and community impact in a diverse and global world,” said Furman Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost George Shields. “This is a step taken by many universities and it’s in line with our principles as an academic institution that holds human value, reflection and innovation in high regard.”
As part of this effort, Furman has joined the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium headquartered at the University of Virginia. The consortium consists of 26 colleges and universities from the United States and Canada. Other participating schools in the consortium include Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina and the University of Mississippi.
Furman was founded in 1826 in Edgefield, S.C., as the Furman Academy and Theological Institution, nearly four decades before the start of the Civil War. It was named for Richard Furman, a prominent minister who served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Charleston.
The college moved to Sumter County and then to Winnsboro before finally settling in downtown Greenville in 1850, where it was chartered as Furman University. The school moved to its present campus in the early 1960s.
For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-2185.