On Tuesday, Harvard University released a report detailing the university’s history with slavery, and subsequently vowed to spend up to $100 million on reparations.
Axios reports that Harvard’s findings revealed a mere 70 people were enslaved by the university over the course of the entire 17th and 18th centuries. But despite the school’s minimal involvement in the long history of slavery in North America, the report nevertheless demanded that the university take action, concluding that “the damage caused by Harvard’s entanglements with slavery and its legacies warrant action.”
Harvard President Lawrence Bacow reacted to the news in a grave tone, declaring in a statement that “Harvard benefited from and in some ways perpetuated practices that were profoundly immoral.”
“Consequently,” Bacow continued, “I believe we bear a moral responsibility to do what we can to address the persistent corrosive effects of those historical practices on individuals, on Harvard, and on our society.”
The report, officially titled “Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery,” determined that Harvard must spend up to $100 million in order to fully study and redress its past history with slavery. The committee that will oversee this process recommended improving educational opportunities for descendants of black Americans and Native Americans who were enslaved. The report also suggests building memorials to the enslaved, as well as increasing research and curriculum focused on slavery.
The report was crafted by a group of Harvard faculty members, which was assembled two years ago after Bacow first created the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery.