Universities Confronting the Legacy of Slavery

The President’s Commission on Slavery and the University here at the University of Virginia is very excited to welcome scholars from our National Advisory Board. They will be coming to Charlottesville this Thursday and Friday for the “Universities Confronting the Legacy of Slavery” symposium.

On Thursday, the proceedings will open with a reception and documentary screening of “Unearthed and Understood: Slavery at the University of Virginia” at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center in Charlottesville. The reception will be followed by a memorial service at First Baptist Church on West Main Street in Charlottesville where University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan and Virginia State Delegate Delores L. McQuinn will speak. That same evening, we will hold a gravesite commemoration service at the African American Cemetery on-Grounds. The cemetery plot is located just north of the University Cemetery.

Friday’s events will be dedicated to examining the history of slavery and the enslaved at the university and considering how we might proceed with memorializing those lives and incorporating that history into the present-day University. The day’s events will occur at the
Harrison-Small Special Collections Library Auditorium.

Attending scholars include James T. Campbell of Stanford University (the former Chair of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice), Scot A. French of the University of Central Florida (formerly of UVA’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies), Leslie M. Harris of Emory University (co-founder and of Emory’s Transforming Community Project), Terry L. Meyers of The College of William and Mary (Co-Director of the Lemon Project), Joshua D. Rothman of the University of Alabama (Director of the Frances S. Summersell Center for the Study of the South), and Craig Wilder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (author of Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities).

Alfred L. Brophy, Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, will deliver the keynote address on “Proslavery Political Theory and Jurisprudence Before the Civil War at the University.”

If you cannot make it to Charlottesville for the symposium or the event is full, simply visit this website on Friday—we will provide a link to a live stream of all events in the auditorium so that anyone, anywhere, can watch. Remember, October 16 and 17 are just the beginning!

-Kirt von Daacke