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The Wall Street Journal: Harvard establishes $100 million fund to address slave holdings and slavery ties in centuries past

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Harvard University has pledged $100 million to redress its historical ties to slavery. 

The announcement Tuesday coincides with the university’s release of a 134-page report detailing its connections to slavery, segregation and discrimination.

The Ivy League school’s faculty and staff enslaved more than 70 Black people between its founding in 1636 and 1783, when slavery became outlawed in Massachusetts, according to the report. 

“ ‘The truth is that slavery played a significant part in our institutional history.’ ”

— Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow

The university also profited from slavery during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries through its financial connection to donors, some of whom are memorialized on campus. Those donors helped the university build its national reputation, the report said. 

From the archives (September 2021): Harvard drops fossil-fuel investments from endowment, the largest college fund to cut ties with Big Oil

Slavery was “integral to Harvard,” according to the report, and its legacy affected the university well after human bondage became illegal. Segregation and discrimination were a part of campus life well into the 1900s, the report said.

“The truth is that slavery played a significant part in our institutional history,” Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow said in a letter Tuesday to the university community.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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