Reparations mark brand-new front for US colleges tied to slavery

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The promise of reparations to atone for historical ties to slavery has opened brand-new territory in a reckoning at U.S. colleges, which until today have responded with monuments, building name improvements in addition to public apologies.

Georgetown University in addition to two theological seminaries have announced funding commitments to benefit descendants of the enslaved people who were sold or toiled to benefit the institutions.

While no various other schools have gone so far, the advantages that will institutions received via the slavery economy are receiving brand-new attention as Democratic presidential candidates talk about tax credits in addition to various other subsidies that will nudge the idea of reparations toward the mainstream.

The country has been discussing reparations in one way or another since slavery officially ended in 1865. This kind of year marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slave, launching the violence afflicted on black people to prop up the Southern economy.

University of Buffalo senior Jeffrey Clinton said he thinks campuses should acknowledge historical ties to slavery nevertheless that will the federal government should take the lead on an issue that will reaches well beyond higher education.

“that will doesn’t have to be trillions of dollars … nevertheless at least address the inequities in addition to attack the racial wealth gap between African Americans in addition to white Americans in addition to definitely everybody else, because This kind of can be an American-made institution. We didn’t immigrate here,” said Clinton, a descendant of slaves who lives in Bay Shore, brand-new York.

A majority of Georgetown undergraduates voted in April for a nonbinding referendum to pay a $27.20-per-semester “Reconciliation Contribution” toward projects in underprivileged communities that will are home to some descendants of 272 slaves who were sold in 1838 to help pay off the school’s debts.

Georgetown President John DeGioia responded in October with plans instead for a university-led initiative, with the goal of raising about $400,000 via donors, rather than students, to support projects like health clinics in addition to schools in those same communities.

Elsewhere, discussions of reparations have been raised by individual professors, like at the University of Alabama, or by graduate students in addition to community members, like at the University of Chicago.

At least 56 universities have joined a University of Virginia-led consortium, Universities Studying Slavery, to explore their ties to slavery in addition to share research in addition to strategies.

In recent years, some schools, like Yale University, have removed the names of slavery supporters via buildings. brand-new monuments have gone up elsewhere, including Brown University’s Slavery Memorial sculpture — a partially buried ball in addition to chain — in addition to the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers under construction at the University of Virginia.

“that will’s a very diffused kind of set of things happening around the nation,” said Guy Emerson Mount, an associate professor of African American history at Auburn University. “that will’s definitely important to pay attention to what each of these are doing” because they could offer learning opportunities in addition to inform national discussions on reparations.

Virginia Theological Seminary in September announced a $1.7 million endowment fund in recognition of slaves who worked there. that will said annual allocations could go toward supporting African American clergy inside Episcopal church in addition to programs that will promote justice in addition to inclusion.

The Princeton Theological Seminary in brand-new Jersey followed that has a $27.6 million endowment after a historical audit revealed that will some founders used slave labor.

“We did not want to shy away via the uncomfortable part of our history in addition to the difficult conversations that will revealing the truth could produce,” seminary President M. Craig Barnes said in October.

In an October letter to Harvard University’s president, Antigua in addition to Barbuda’s prime minister noted the developments at Georgetown in addition to the seminaries in addition to asked the Ivy League school to consider how that will could make amends for the oppression of Antiguan slaves by a plantation owner whose gift endowed a law professorship in 1815. Harvard’s president wrote back that will the school can be determined to further explore its historical ties to slavery.

Harvard in 2016 removed a slave owner’s family crest via the law school seal in addition to dedicated a plaque to four slaves who lived in addition to worked on campus.

At the University of Buffalo, some have urged the public school to consider the responsibility that will bears having been founded by the 13th U.S. president, Millard Fillmore, who signed the Fugitive Slave Act to help slave owners reclaim runaways. Students have not formally raised the idea of reparations, according to a school spokesman, nevertheless they led a discussion on the topic as part of Black Solidarity Week last month.

William Darity, a Duke University public policy professor in addition to an expert on reparations, said the voices of college students have helped bring attention to reparations in a way that will hasn’t been seen since Reconstruction.

nevertheless he has warily watched what he sees as a piecemeal approach to an issue he believes merits a congressional response.

“I don’t want anybody to be under the impression that will these constitute comprehensive reparations,” Darity said.

Supporting a reparations program for all black descendants of American slaves “could be the more courageous act,” he said.

Few Americans support reparations, according to a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. that will showed that will only 29% say the government should pay cash reparations to descendants of enslaved black people.

University of Buffalo associate professor Keith Griffler, who specializes in African in addition to African American studies, said he sees the cusp of a movement on college campuses.

“in addition to that will’s probably not surprising that will some of the wealthier private institutions have been the first to take those kinds of steps, because public universities still have their funding issues.

“The conversations, just acknowledging these kinds of things,” Griffler said, “I think could go a long way toward doing students feel that will at least their voices are being heard.”


Associated Press writer Martha Waggoner in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to This kind of report.

,, 15 December 2019 | 10:22 am

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