Antigua reminds Harvard that slave labour paid for its law school. It wants reparations
(Miami Herald) The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, annoyed that Harvard University has ignored repeated requests from his government to make amends for Antiguan slave labor contributions to the creation of Harvard Law School, has personally written to the university’s president to get results.
Harvard’s failure to acknowledge its obligations to the eastern Caribbean nation at a time when other universities are acknowledging their ties to slavery and making reparations is “shocking if not immoral,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.
“Reparation from Harvard would compensate for its development on the backs of our people,” Browne wrote in an Oct. 30 letter to Harvard President Lawrence Bacow. “Reparation is not aid; it is not a gift; it is compensation to correct the injustices of the past and restore equity. Harvard should be in the forefront of this effort.”
In a response to Browne dated Tuesday, Bacow said the Harvard Corporation in 2016 approved the removal of the law school’s shield, which included symbols drawn from the family crest of Isaac Royall Jr., the Antigua slaveholder who left land to Harvard College in his will to establish its first professorship in 1815 that led to the creation of Harvard Law School. Soon after, a stone memorial recognizing “the enslaved whose labor created wealth that made possible the founding of Harvard Law School” was mounted in the plaza.
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