In 1976, archivists at Harvard’s natural history museum opened a drawer and discovered a haunting portrait of a shirtless enslaved man named Renty, gazing sorrowfully but steadily at the camera. Taken on a South Carolina plantation in 1850, it had been used by the Harvard biologist Louis Agassiz to formulate his now-discredited ideas about racial difference.[A quotation of Alfred Brophy and more, here.]
On Friday, Harvard’s president, Drew Gilpin Faust, stood at a lectern under a projection of Renty’s face and began a rather different enterprise: a major public conference exploring the long-neglected connections between universities and slavery.
Monday, March 6, 2017
That Harvard Conference on Slavery and the Universities
ICYMI: Jennifer Schuessler’s story in the New York Times, Confronting Academia’s Ties to Slavery: