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Here is a hard historical truth: Slavery powerfully shaped Harvard

Black woman with scarf, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, by Jim Harrison
Tomiko Brown-Nagin '92. Photo by Jim Harrison.

Tomiko Brown-Nagin, a 1992 Furman University history alumna, and Lawrence S. Bacow, president of Harvard University, write an opinion piece for The Washington Post about a report released April 26 concerning Harvard’s ties to slavery – “Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery.”

In the report that “extensively documents the university’s entanglements with slavery and its legacies,” Harvard goes beyond truth-telling. America’s oldest university has pledged $100 million, including an endowment, to “confront continuing inequities – tangible legacies of slavery – affecting communities in the United States and in the Caribbean, to which New England’s slavery economies were closely tied.”

Brown-Nagin is chair of the Presidential Initiative on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery and dean of the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. She is the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History.


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