“The university says it was a prior iteration of the school that benefited from slavery, not its current incarnation”
Now that Georgetown and Harvard have caved on this issue, we’re going to see similar moves at many more schools.
WTTW News reports:
University of Chicago Faces Calls for Reparations Over Ties to Slavery; School Says Charges Are Misplaced
Over the past two decades, some of America’s most prominent universities have had to reckon with their ties to the nation’s original sin — slavery. For the last several years, the University of Chicago has faced calls to make reparations for its ties to the slave trade. The university says it was a prior iteration of the school that benefited from slavery, not its current incarnation — but that hasn’t quieted calls for UChicago to acknowledge history and make amends.
The first school known as the University of Chicago was founded in 1856 by former Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas. When his father-in-law died, he left Douglas’s wife a plantation and enslaved people. Douglas got a portion of the proceeds.
“With that, Stephen A. Douglas was able to get into the Chicago real estate market,” said Caine Jordan, a UChicago graduate student studying African American history. “Then he starts to get into philanthropy. One of the organizations he gives money to is this upstart Baptist organization, and that is called the University of Chicago.”
Douglas gave them a ten-acre plot at 35th and Cottage Grove and served as the first president of the Board of Trustees. But when Jordan started asking if UChicago had ties to slavery, the response he heard was: “’The university started in 1890. Obviously, it’s a post-slavery institution, there can’t be any ties to slavery.’ But then once we started looking into it, we found yes, there were indeed ties to slavery.”
In 2017, Jordan and his colleagues Guy Anson Mount and Kai Perry Parker published “A Case for Reparations at the University of Chicago,” outlining Douglas’s key role in launching what the current school calls the “Old University of Chicago.”
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