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TIMELINE: SLAVERY AND THE UNIVERSITY
1726, October. President Benjamin Wadsworth of Harvard College purchases a "negro wench" for his household.
Significant dates in the histories of slavery at institutions of higher learning, including the remembrance of slavery and the slave trade (Please add to these!)
1764. (The year of the founding of Rhode Island College) Esek Hopkins captains the slave ship Sally to West Afria, owned by the Brown brothers (due to a later gift from a Brown family member, the College's name isr changed in 1804 to Brown University)
1773. Publication of Phillis Wheatley's poem, "To the University of Cambridge, in New England", contrasting the rude behavior of Harvard College students to the divinely ordained mission of the university
1773, 21 July. Debate at Harvard College Commencement exercises on the morality of African slavery.
1783. Chief Justice William Cushing of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules in the Quock Walker case, laying the legal groundwork, it is usually stated, for abolition in Massachusetts.
1784, the Rhode Island legislature enacts a Gradual Abolition Act, specifiying that every person born in the state after March 1 of that year would be free.
1781. Death of Isaac Royall, Jr. (whose bequest ultimately funds the Royall Chair of Law at Harvard College, leading to the establishment of the Harvard Law School.
1804 Rhode Island College changes name to Brown University in recognition of a gift from Nicholas Brown, Jr.
1815. Establishment at Harvard College of the first Chair of Law, funded through a bequest from Isaac Royall, Jr., whose fortunes was anchored in the slave trade and slave holdings.
1837 Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers the "American Scholar" address to the Harvard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa
1841, Dec. 4. Miss Kitty, enslaved by Bishop James Osgood Andrew, offered transportation to Liberia by Emory President Augustus Baldwin Longstreet (she declines, and stays in slavery)
1844.May. The New York Methodist General Conference, at which delegates vote to request that Bishop Andrew (President of the Emory College Board of Trustees) discontinue serving as bishop as long as he is a slaveowner. Southern delegates move to detach from the northern church, leading to the establishment of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
1845. Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, president of Emory College, publishes a theological defense of slavery,
Letters on the Epistle of Paul to Philemon
or the Connection of Apostolical Christianity with Slavery
(Charleston, South Carolina)
1847. Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, president of Emory College, publishes the pro-slavery tract, "A Voice from the South: Comprising Letters from Georgia to Massachusetts, and to the Southern States.
1858. Thomas R. R. Cobb publishes,
An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States of America
(the preeminent legal defense of slavery in the antebellum period)
1863, January 1. Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.
1939. H.W. McCord, of the Emory University Board of Trustees, erects a stone tablet in the Oxford City Cemetery honoring the enslaved woman Kitty, owned by James Osgood Andrew, first president of the Emory Board of Trustees. (He also moves Miss Kitty's slave quarters to segregated Salem Campground and organizes it as the neo-confederate Kitty Cottage Museum
2000, May. Exhibition "Tragic Beauty: Exploring the Oxford African-American Cemetery," opens at Oxford College of Emory University, exploring the history of slavery at Emory College. (Curated by Mark Auslander and his students.)
2001. Report on "Yale, Slavery and Abolition" issues by Antony Dugdale, J. J. Fueser, and J. Celso de Castro Alves, three graduate students at Yale University.
2003. Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons appoints a Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice to investigate and issue a public report on the University’s historical relationship to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.
2004 April 20, The University of Alabama Faculty Senate apologizes for their predecessors’ role in the institution of slavery. (Apology statement authored by UA Law Professor Al Brophy).
2005, Oct. 5. Opening of the exhibition "Slavery and the Making of the University," at Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill.
2005. Nov. 5. Dedication of the "Unsung Founders" memorial at UNC-Chapel Hill , honoring enslaved persons and other persons of color connected to the university. Designed by Do-Ho Suh, funded by a gift of the Class of 2002.
2006, October. The Committee on Slavery and Justice presents its final report to Brown University's President, Ruth Simmons.
2007, February 24. The Brown University Corporation endorses a set of initiatives in response to the Report of the Committee on Slavery and Justice.
2007, April 13. On the 264th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth, the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors unanimously passes an historic resolution commending the General Assembly’s recent resolutions on slavery and, at the same time, expressing the University's regret for its use of enslaved persons from 1819 to 1865.
2008. Historian Sven Beckert introduces a seminar at Harvard on "Slavery at Harvard"
2009. Publication of C.S. Manegold's "
Ten Hills Farm: The Forgotten History of Slavery in the North
(Princeton University Press), addressing in part the significance of slavery in the early history of Harvard College.
2009, May. Launch of the Lemon Project at the College of William and Mary, an initiative aimed at exploring slavery and race relations in the institution's history.
2011 January. Emory University Board of Trustees issues a statement of regret for the university's historical 'entwinement" with slavery
2011 February 3-6. Conference on Slavery and the University: History and Legacies, hosted by Emory University.
2011, October. Publication of Mark Auslander's
"The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family'
(University of Georgia Press), exploring the history of slavery, and the remembrance of slavery, at Emory University.
2011 December 7. Emory University, in celebrating its 175th anniversary, recognizes the enslaved woman Miss Kitty/Catherine Boyd as one of its 175 key "history makers,"
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