Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery

The Presidential Initiative on Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery, announced by Harvard President Larry Bacow in November 2019 and anchored at Harvard Radcliffe Institute, is an effort to understand and address the enduring legacy of slavery within the University community.

The initiative’s first phase, which began in December 2019 and concluded in April 2022 with the release of the Report of the Presidential Committee on Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery, was an effort to uncover Harvard’s past—the University’s links to slavery. This phase was guided by a committee of distinguished faculty from across Harvard, chaired by Radcliffe Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin.  The committee’s work was rooted in several principles, including:

  • a strong grounding in rigorous research;
  • a focus on connections, impact, and contributions that are specific to our Harvard community; and
  • investment in opportunities to convene our broader University community to examine the impact and legacy of slavery in the present.

Sara Bleich, the University’s inaugural vice provost for special projects, leads the implementation of the recommendations from the Report of the Presidential Committee on Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery. These efforts build on groundwork laid by the group convened by Martha Minow, the 300th Anniversary University Professor.  Implementation centers on the seven broad recommendations accepted by the Harvard Corporation that seek to remedy the harm caused to descendants, to the Harvard community and the nation, and to campus life and learning. 

To learn more, consider: