Addressing Yale’s history of slavery — and building a stronger community

In a Feb. 16 event, Yale and New Haven leaders discussed findings of the Yale and Slavery Research Project — and the path to building a stronger community.
(Photos by Dan Renzetti)

On Feb. 16, Yale University marked a milestone in its comprehensive, long-term examination of the university’s historical role in and associations with slavery, publishing a related peer-reviewed book and announcing several new commitments and actions in response to its findings.

The book, “Yale and Slavery: A History,” which is available in a free digital version, was authored by Yale Professor David W. Blight with the Yale and Slavery Research Project, a group convened in 2020 to better understand the university’s history — specifically its formative ties to slavery and the slave trade. The group included faculty, staff, students, and New Haven community members.

To mark the occasion, Yale also hosted a campus event, broadcast via livestream, in which members of the university and New Haven communities highlighted the research project’s findings and Yale’s new commitments to create a stronger community. See photo slideshow above and watch a recording of the full event.

The findings of the Yale and Slavery Research project, Salovey said Friday, “provide a deeper, more honest understanding of who we are and how we got here.

The efforts of the team give us a necessary foundation from which to build a stronger, more knowledgeable and more vibrant university — indeed a more vibrant society.”

Other speakers included Kimberly Goff-Crews, the university secretary and vice president for university life; Blight, Sterling Professor of History and African American Studies and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale; and project member Charles Warner, chairman of the Connecticut Freedom Trail, member of the Amistad Committee Inc. Board of Directors, and chairman of the Dixwell Congregational Church History Committee.

Learn about the project and its findings at the Yale and Slavery Research Project website.

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