Brown University Erects Slave Memorial, Opens Center to Study Need for Reparations to African Americans


By Danette Clark:

“The Slavery Memorial”, a four and a half ton cast iron ball and chain sculpture, now sits on the front campus of Brown University. Next to it, a granite plaque with the following inscription:

This memorial recognizes Brown University’s connection to the trans-Atlantic slave trade …. In the eighteenth century slavery permeated every aspect of social and economic life in Rhode Island. Rhode Islanders dominated the North American share of the African slave trade, launching over a thousand slaving voyages in the century before the abolition of the trade in 1808, and scores of illegal voyages thereafter. Brown University was a beneficiary of this trade.

The memorial, Brown says, recognizes the university’s “connection to the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the work of Africans and African-Americans, enslaved and free, who helped build our university, Rhode Island, and the nation.”

The memorial was dedicated on September 27th of last year. One month later, Brown hosted an opening ceremony for the new permanent home of its Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice.

Planning for both the Center and The Slavery Memorial began in 2006 when the university released a report on slavery and reparations.

The 107 page Slavery and Justice report, the result of an initiative spearheaded by former Brown University President Ruth Simmons, made a series of recommendations “designed to acknowledge the school’s slavery-tainted past.”

According to The New York Times, in 2003, Simmons appointed a Committee on Slavery and Justice charged with spending two years “investigating Brown’s historic ties to slavery; arrange seminars, courses and research projects examining the moral, legal and economic complexities of reparations and other means of redressing wrongs; and recommend whether and how the university should take responsibility for its connection to slavery.”

According to the report, it was discovered that several of the university’s early supporters, including its founder, Rev. James Manning, and its first treasurer, John Brown, were slave owners. Nicholas Brown Jr., however, for whom the university was named, was a staunch abolitionist.

Brown’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice describes itself as “a scholarly research center with a public educational mission… that creates a space for the interdisciplinary study of the historical forms of slavery while also examining how the legacies of slavery shape our contemporary world.”

In 2012, I undertook a very extensive research project on the reparations movement in America, a movement that [likely not surprising to many] completely encircles President Obama. The information I gathered was so vast that it ultimately resulted in a six-part series instead of a single article.

In that Reparations Agenda series, I explained how reparation activists have admitted that they have learned, through failed lawsuits and other attempts to gain monetary reparation for African Americans, that their movement will never succeed unless they can establish — first through public perception, then through the courts — that there is a legacy of slavery that exists today. In other words, there must be a perception or belief among the majority that African Americans are still suffering under an oppressive system or society, or under, as some have referred to it, “The New Jim Crow.”

Brown University’s Slavery and Justice report contends just that. Specifically, the report states as follows:

… the nation also continues to be marked by profound racial disparities in most measures of human welfare, including education, employment, wealth, rates of incarceration, access to housing and health care, infant mortality, and life expectancy.

Surveying the state of racial politics in America today, the rancor and raw emotions that discussions of racial issues seem instantly to arouse, it is hard to resist the conclusion that the United States is such a society.

As explained in Part 5 – The Reparation Agenda: Obama’s Race Rhetoric Literally Scripted by Reparations Movement…, President Obama said it best — coincidentally or not, in such a way that would most benefit the movement — when he said this:

But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Notice in the quote from the Brown report above that it considers a society steeped in ‘racial politics’ and ‘raw emotions aroused by discussions of racial issues’ to be evidence of a society scarred by the ‘legacy of slavery’. Again, according to reparation activists, this legacy must exist in order to succeed in proving that blacks in America are entitled to reparations.

The Brown report was written and released in 2006. Consider how more so our society has become one marred by racial tension and raw emotions since President Obama took office. How convenient for the movement.

Numerous universities have since followed Brown’s lead in researching their own ties to slavery. Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Emory, the University of Virginia, University of Alabama, and University of Maryland, to name a few, have completed their research and released their findings, some along with a formal apology for their historic ties to the slave trade.

Brown University is home to the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, the 22-year-old education reform movement pushed across the nation by Obama and Bill Ayers, starting with their previous work on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and continuing today.

The Annenberg-backed Coalition of Essential Schools and their affiliates are notorious for teaching Critical Race Theory, which says that white supremacy in America is the root cause of racial inequality. In other words, selling students on America’s ‘legacy of slavery.’

According to the Providence Journal, former Brown President Ruth Simmons spoke at the opening ceremony for the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice last October, encouraging more universities to take on the task of “shining a light on racial tension, human trafficking, and inequality.”

In 2009, Simmons was appointed by Obama to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

Go here to read more on the Reparation Agenda.


2 responses to “Brown University Erects Slave Memorial, Opens Center to Study Need for Reparations to African Americans

  1. Pingback: Brown University Erects Slave Memorial, Opens Center to Study Need for Reparations to African Americans | Grumpy Opinions

  2. Pingback: Artist Poses Nude in the Streets of New York to Remember Slavery and the Violence and Racism that ‘Still Scars America’ | Danette Clark

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