Brown University and its Ties to Slavery

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This occurred during a time when slavery was considered a normal part of the socio-economic life in New England and Rhode Island, and slaves formed a sizeable population within the states. When Brown University was established, Rhode Island was the main center in trans-Atlantic human trafficking where over a period of 100 years almost 100,000 Africans were forced into slavery. From the Brown report which showed Brown University to have profited from funds that originated from slave trade, it can be assumed that other institutions (which were established around the same era) may have the same past as Brown University. Outline 1. Abstract: Gives a brief summary of the entire paper 2. Introduction: introduces the topic to the reader, giving a brief glimpse of how funds from slave trade and slave related businesses helped to establish American institutions of higher education 3. Background study on American slavery: this segment gives an overview on the slave trade and US slavery that was widely prevalent during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. 4. Slavery in New England and Rhode Island: gives a brief review of the slavery in the northern US (New England and Rhode Island) at the time Brown University was established. It helps one understand the socio-economic conditions (as regards slavery) that prevailed in the region when Brown University was established. 5. The Brown University and its link with slavery: this shows how the Brown family was directly involved in slave trading and how money from slave related businesses from other donors went into establishing the University, thus forging a link that tied the University’s past with slavery. 1 Literature review 1.1 Introduction In a report published by the Brown University in October 2006, there were evidences that showed financial proceedings from slave trade went to establishing the university, while slave labor was used for building the college campus (Johnson, 2006). Historical data suggests that besides Brown University, a majority of the US’s famous academic institutions for higher studies starting from Harvard University to College of William and Mary were built by slave economy and labor (Wilder, 2010). Reports show that Harvard Law School was established with the help of funds that came in from selling slaves to the Caribbean sugar plantations in the Caribbean (Puryear, 2006). The library of the Yale University was founded from donations made by slave owners and traders, while the University of Virginia was designed and funded by Thomas Jefferson (a slave owner), and slave labor was used to build the University complex (Puryear, 2006). In fact, the economy that was derived from slave trade helped to shape the financial future of many American higher educational institutions while influencing politics of institution affected educational culture and curricula within the then new American republic (Wilder, 2010). Commercial trade in slavery (also known as the