Tuesday, February 5, 2008

William and Mary's Discussion of Slavery

Legalhistoryblog readers may recall the discussion last year of Terry Meyers' article "A First Look at the Worst: Slavery and Race Relations at the College of William and Mary." (Paper available on ssrn here.) The Flat Hat, William and Mary's newspaper, now has an article on Meyers' research and discussion at William and Mary about the school's history.

Kiersten Flythe's article discusses both some of the school's connections to slavery, as well as some of its more recent work against racial discrimination. The Flat Hat newspaper has a history of taking courageous stances at a time when that was difficult. Flythe reports:

Former President of the College John Stewart Bryan spoke out against wage discrimination amongst the black staff during his tenure. Twelve students and a member of the faculty walked out of a lecture that Strom Thurmond, the segregationist presidential candidate, gave in 1948. The Flat Hat also has a history of supporting civil right issues on campus. The newspaper satirized the Ku Klux Klan in the May 20, 1940 issue and opposed a poll tax that prevented blacks from voting in a column on November 5, 1940. One Flat Hat writer, Jerry Hyman, spoke out against racial prejudice and inequality in a May 3, 1944 issue. As of late, the College itself has worked hard to increase diversity on campus and create a welcoming environment for minority students.