Friday, September 8, 2017

HLS's Memorial to the Royall Family's Slaves

The Harvard Law School has unveiled a memorial to the enslaved people of Isaac Royall, the early HLS benefactor whose family crest was the model for the school's shield, until it was abandoned last year.  Harvard Law News has the memorial's inscription, composed by Annette-Gordon Reed: “In honor of the enslaved whose labor created wealth that made possible the founding of Harvard Law School.  May we pursue the highest ideals of law and justice in their memory.”  Harvard Magazine has a fuller account of the proceedings, which included a lecture by Daniel Coquillette, a panel discussion by Janet Halley, Annette Gordon-Reed, Randall Kennedy, and Bruce Mann, and remarks by Harvard President Drew Faust.  Professor Gordon-Reed explained that inscription was intended to bring the Royall family slaves “into our minds and our memories with the hope that it will spur us to try to bring to the world what was not given to them: the law’s protection and regard and justice.”