By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. April 27, 2022: Harvard University benefited from slavery in the Caribbean, a new report shows.
The report titled “Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery,” documents how the slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries “comprised a vital part of the New England economy, and powerfully shaped Harvard University.”
The report said Harvard’s financial investments included “loans to Caribbean sugar planters, rum distillers, and plantation suppliers along with investments in cotton manufacturing.”
“These profitable financial relationships included, most notably, the beneficence of donors who accumulated their wealth through slave trading; from the labor of enslaved people on plantations in the Caribbean islands and in the American South; and from the Northern textile manufacturing industry, supplied with cotton grown by enslaved people held in bondage,” the report said.
Dennis Lloyd, 74, a real estate developer who splits his time between Massachusetts and Georgia, is a descendant of Cuba Vassall, a woman who was born in Antigua and enslaved by the family of Isaac Royall Sr. A donation from Royall’s son in the late 18th century funded the first Harvard professorship of law.
The Royall family had a sugar plantation in Antigua and moved to Medford, Massachusetts, following a planned slave revolt. They brought several slaves with them.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Lloyd told CNN on Tuesday, calling Harvard’s plan an opportunity to promote “a better understanding of the history that has been lost … and stolen from African Americans as a result of slavery.”
The report includes recommendations to redress that legacy “through teaching, research, and service” and the commitment of $100 million for the creation of a legacy of slavery fund.
How much will go to the Caribbean is unclear. But according to university President Lawrence Bacow, the fund is intended to support the implementation of the report’s recommendations, including the expansion of educational opportunities for the descendants of enslaved people in the Southern US and the Caribbean, establishing partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and identifying and building relationships with the direct descendants of enslaved people who labored at Harvard.
Lloyd, a graduate of Howard University, praised the Ivy League university’s pledge to provide financial and educational support to the direct descendants of enslaved people and its vow to build ties with HBCUs.
“Harvard’s resources and pockets go very deep,” said Lloyd, a Vietnam War veteran. “Let’s see how everything is implemented.”
By NAN STAFF WRITER
Dennis Lloyd, 74, a real estate developer who splits his time between Massachusetts and Georgia, is a descendant of Cuba Vassall, a woman who was born in Antigua in the Caribbean and enslaved by the family of Isaac Royall Sr. A donation from Royall’s son in the late 18th century funded the first Harvard professorship of law.