Law Students

Harvard Law Places Plaque Honoring Those Once Enslaved by Royall Family

Harvard Law

Summary: Harvard Law School dedicated a plaque in memory of the slaves once owned by those who had helped found the school in 1817.

As Harvard Law School prepares for their 200th year anniversary, they are also making a note of acknowledging where they came from. Harvard Law has been dealing with a dark part of their history for over a year, trying to decide how to handle their past connection to slavery.

  
What
Where


To learn more about their bicentennial celebrations, read Happy Two Hundred Years Harvard Law.

A plaque commemorating the thorny part of its history was unveiled Tuesday, honoring those whose backs helped develop the school. The plaque reads: “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.” The plaque is located on a large stone at the school’s outdoor plaza.

Harvard Law, established in 1817, was partially funded with money from Isaac Royall, Jr. who bequeathed much of his wealth to the university. Royall happened to be a wealthy slave-owner with a sugar plantation on the island of Antiqua. He also enslaved people on his farms in Massachusetts.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!




There is no doubt that Royall was involved heavily with the slave trade. Antiqua newspapers from his time “repeatedly carried advertisements from Royall, buying and selling horses, cattle, and people.” One advertisement read, “A Likely Negro Wench to dispose of who understands Household Business, and something of Cookery, also Four of said Wench’s Children, viz three Girls and one Boy.”

During a dedication speech, Law School Dean John F. Manning said they were “founded with wealth generated through the profoundly immoral institution of slavery. We should not hide that fact nor hide from it. We can and should be proud of many things this school has contributed to the world. But to be true to our complicated history, we must also shine a light on what we are not proud of.”



This is not the first plaque on campus honoring those enslaved to the school. Last year a plaque was placed on the Wadsworth House where four enslaved workers had worked. The Wadsworth House was once where the school presidents once lived during Colonial times.

The school recently removed the Royall family crest from the Harvard Law School Seal after much debate. Harvard President, Drew Gilpin Faust, said during an academia and slavery conference that the university had been “directly complicit” in the slave trade.

The location of the new plaque was deliberate. The school wanted it to be in a place “where everyone travels” and all who walk by will be forced to remember the enslaved men and women that helped the school’s establishment become possible.

Do you think a school with ties to slavery should be ashamed and try to hide the fact or should they embrace their past by honoring those that suffered so that the school could be possible?

To learn more about Harvard Law School’s seal, read these articles:

Photo: bostonmagazine.com



 

BCG FEATURED JOB

Locations:

Keyword:



Search Now

Defense Attorney with 3-4 years of litigation experience

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of our client seeks defense attorney with 3-4 years of solid litigation experie...

Apply Now

Attorney with 3-7 years of litigation experience

USA-IL-Chicago

Chicago office of our client seeks attorney with 3-7 years of litigation experience. The candidate s...

Apply Now

Mid-level IP Litigation Attorney with electrical engineering experience

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of our client seeks mid-level intellectual property attorney with 3-5 years of ...

Apply Now

Labor and Employment Attorney with 3-4 years of litigation experience

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Los Angeles office of our client seeks labor and employment attorney with 3-4 years of litigation ex...

Apply Now

RELEVANT JOBS

Trust Administrative Associate / Office Manager

USA-NV-Reno

FIRM OVERVIEW: Laurel Trust Company (LTC) a retail trust company under organization in Reno, Nev...

Apply now

Associate Attorney

USA-NV-Minden

Over my objection, and after nineteen years together, my 69 year old partner is retiring.  I ne...

Apply now

Part-time Paralegal / Legal Assistant

USA-GA-McDonough

Family Law and Criminal Defense law firm is seeking part-time (20-30 hours per week w/ Flexible sche...

Apply now

Legal Assistant (Dallas)

USA-TX-Dallas

We are a growing firm in need of an experienced, reliable, flexible, and proactive litigation Legal ...

Apply now

Most Popular

SEARCH IN ARCHIVE

To Top