“The first line of research was to look at the university archives’ land records, and part of that is to see who did own this land”
This is part of a new trend in higher education. Georgetown University started a similar program a few years ago.
WHYY News reports:
University of Delaware to explore slavery legacy at the Newark campus
As part of an anti-racism effort born out of last year’s nationwide protests, the University of Delaware has launched a deeper exploration of its history as it relates to both enslaved people and the treatment of Black students.
University buildings at the Newark campus were not built using slave labor, unlike schools including the University of Virginia. But that doesn’t mean UD has a clear record when it comes to people held as slaves.
Alison Parker, who chairs UD’s history department, said that the “legacy of enslavement and the dispossession of indigenous people” weaves through the university’s history, which goes back to 1743.
“Something that we can take all the way through to segregation and even the fight for desegregation in 1950, when Black students who wanted to come to UD had to sue the university, and the university actually opposed desegregation at that point. So there’s a lot to look at,” Parker said.
A team of 21 students has been doing the initial research, which will aim to uncover even more of those stories now that UD has joined the Universities Studying Slavery consortium.
“The first line of research was to look at the university archives’ land records, and part of that is to see who did own this land and was the land owned by people who were enslavers or people who held African Americans as indentured servants in long indentures such as 30 years, even in the years after the Civil War, which in fact we have found,” she said.
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