News Americas, NEW YORK, NY., Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Harvard has become the latest university seeking to make amends for its ties to slavery in the Caribbean region.
The Miami Herald reports that a Harvard University spokesman says the school’s president, Lawrence Bacow, recently reached out to Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the United States, Ronald Sanders, to discuss how the university and the eastern Caribbean nation quote “might collaborate in ways consistent with” Harvard’s academic mission.
The move comes a month after Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne, wrote to Bacow seeking atonement based on the fact that Isaac Royall Jr., who help found Harvard Law School in 1815, was a wealthy sugar plantation owner and slaveholder in Antigua.
Should Harvard and Antigua come to an agreement, it would be the second reparations benefit for the University of the West Indies. Earlier this summer, Glasgow University in the United Kingdom agreed to fund a joint center for development research with the Caribbean university to atone for its slavery ties after it was discovered that Glasgow had benefited financially from Scottish slave traders.
Caribbean nations and leaders have for some time been seeking reparations from Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, their former colonial powers.
In 2013, Hilary Beckles, a leading historian who currently serves as vice chancellor of the University of West Indies, launched a Caribbean-wide reparations commission to seek damages from France and the region’s other European colonial masters in the form of health and other development benefits.