Wake Forest President apologizes for its treatment of slaves

Pay close attention, UNC Chapel Hill:

“I apologize for the exploitation and use of enslaved people — both those known and unknown — who helped create and build this university through no choice of their own,” he said.

“Our founder and all of the antebellum presidents owned enslaved people,” Hatch said, adding that many trustees were slaveholders and that students too “perpetuated slavery.” He said that slaves helped build and maintain the college and that as many as 16 slaves were sold to the benefit of Wake Forest.

This is an especially important step for Wake Forest to take, since the last few years have seen an uptick in White Supremacist harassment of faculty and students. Most of that has been via e-mail, but that doesn't equate to "harmless." It's just a different medium. This apology is only a part of Wake Forest's commitment for racial equity:

In May 2019, faculty, staff and students read the names of enslaved individuals who were sold to benefit the university endowment in 1860. In July 2019, Hatch established the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community. In 2017, Wake Forest joined the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium, with the goal of dealing with issues surrounding race and inequality.

Wake Forest also has a Slavery, Race and Memory Project underway that has been described as a way for the university to shed more light on its history and to deal with what Hatch said were past and present inequalities in the university community.

“As the years pass, each generation has come to comprehend more clearly the injustices that accompanied our founding,” Hatch said Thursday. Just as Wake Forest people in the past failed to see their flaws, he said, university members today “can be blinded by our own privilege.”

“We must challenge the logic and end the systems that caused, and continue to cause, significant harm to individuals, our institution and society,” he said.

Can't do emojis here (thank god), but this would be a two thumb's-up.

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