How Elite Colleges Can Atone for Their History with Slavery
The United States’ most elite universities continue to grapple with their historic ties to slavery. Last month, students at Georgetown University pushed for their school to pay reparations for slaves once sold by the school after voting to impose a $27.20 per-student, per-semester fee to fund reparations to the descendants of the 272 slaves owned and then sold by the school. Princeton recently disclosed that its first nine university presidents owned slaves, as did many Princeton faculty members. Half of Columbia University’s early presidents owned slaves as well.
Meanwhile, the nation’s historically black colleges and universities are in a desperate struggle for financial survival. Here’s a thought: Elite universities can accelerate the United States’ slow trek toward atonement for slavery by dedicating some of their wealth — amassed on the backs of enslaved African Americans — to struggling HBCUs.