Harvard to shell out $100 million to ‘redress’ its ‘legacies with slavery’

Kendall Tietz, DCNF

Harvard University will allocate $100 million to study and address its history with slavery, according to a Tuesday announcement from the university’s president.

The university released a report from the Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery and announced a $100 million fund to implement the report’s recommendations, according to an announcement from President Larry Bacow. The report listed numerous recommendations including how Harvard “can redress” its “legacies with slavery” through teaching, research and service.

“I recognize that this is a significant commitment, and for good reason,” Bacow said in his announcement. “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.”

One of the report’s recommendations titled “Establish an Endowed Legacy of Slavery Fund to Support the University’s Reparative Efforts,” proposes the creation of a Legacy of Slavery Fund to support the implementation of the report’s findings.

“Financial expenditures are a necessary predicate to and foundation for redress,” the recommendation said, but stated “profound harm caused by the University’s entanglements with slavery and its legacies cannot be valued in monetary terms alone.”

The report also said that Harvard should “provide financial support for research, dissemination of knowledge, recruitment of students from tribal communities, and other reparative efforts benefiting members of New England’s Native communities.”

The report highlighted the importance of a “particular focus” on educational areas like “K–12 civic, moral, and social-emotional learning” to support “historically marginalized children.”

Other recommendations advocated for partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as school, tribal colleges, universities and non-profit organizations to “confront systemic and enduring inequities that impact descendant communities in the United States.”

“The legacy of slavery, including the persistence of both overt and subtle discrimination against people of color, continues to influence the world in the form of disparities in education, health, wealth, income, social mobility, and almost any other metric we might use to measure equality,” Bacow said in his announcement.

“Let us learn from this report and work together to recognize and redress the injustices that it so carefully documents,” he added.

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