Our Path Forward
The Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery initiative will enable collaborations, partnerships, and other actions to address systemic inequities impacting descendant communities, in pursuit of meaningful repair.
The seven broad recommendations from the Presidential Committee, accepted by the Harvard Corporation, seek to remedy the harm caused to descendants, to our community and the nation, and to campus life and learning.
Engage and Support Descendant Communities by Leveraging Harvard’s Excellence in Education
Meira Levinson and Danielle Allen are developing a program through the Harvard Graduate School of Education that will support K-12 teachers and schools in teaching about slavery, its legacies, and how to address hard histories and contemporary controversies in the classroom.
Honor Enslaved People through Memorialization, Research, Curricula, and Knowledge Dissemination
Tracey Smith and Dan Byers lead a 13-member committee spearheading the effort to memorialize enslaved individuals whose labor was instrumental in the establishment and development of Harvard.
In April, the committee was joined by the leadership of James Madison’s Montpelier for the first in a series of discussions on how descendant communities can use their voice in addressing legacies of slavery.
Develop Enduring Partnerships with Black Colleges and Universities
Ruth Simmons joins Harvard in July 2023 as a Senior Advisor to the president, focused on engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Harvard Library is partnering with the HBCU Library Alliance to sustain and deepen capacity for the digitization, discovery, and preservation of African American history collections held in HBCU libraries and archives.
Identify, Engage, and Support Descendants
Richard Cellini leads the Remembrance Project, which will focus on enabling direct descendants to “recover their histories, tell their stories, and pursue empowering knowledge.”
Honor, Engage, and Support Native Communities
The Harvard University Native American Program and Harvard Radcliffe Institute are planning Responsibility and Repair: Legacies of Indigenous Enslavement, Indenture, and Colonization at Harvard and Beyond, a landmark conference that will take place in the fall of 2023. As described in the report’s fifth recommendation, this conference will bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, leaders, and community members to explore critical questions of reckoning and reconciliation.
Establish an Endowed Legacy of Slavery Fund to Support the University’s Reparative Efforts
President Larry Bacow and the Harvard Corporation allocated $100 million to fund and implement the Report on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery’s recommendations in perpetuity.
Ensure Institutional Accountability
Sara Bleich and her team in the Office of the Vice Provost for Special Projects will build out infrastructure to oversee the University-wide implementation of the recommendations of Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery.
Religion and the Legacies of Slavery
Harvard Divinity School hosts a series of online public conversations with members of the HDS faculty to engage these vital questions from their expertise within the study of religion. Hosted every Monday during the Spring 2023 semester.
Better Together: Harvard & The Legacy of Slavery Documentary Screening and Discussion
A film screening and community dialogue for the Harvard Medical School and affiliated-hospital community moderated by Sara Bleich and Roeshana Moore-Evans. Registration required.