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Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's…

by Craig Steven Wilder

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227295,105 (3.66)3
A leading African American historian of race in America exposes the uncomfortable truths about race, slavery, and the American academy, revealing that leading universities, dependent on human bondage, became breeding grounds for the racist ideas that sustained it.
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Not so long ago, I read an exploration of how the Sackler family used their philanthropy of museums and universities to launder their reputation and distract attention from the fact that their billions were earned from human suffering.

Craig Wilder's Ebony and Ivy shows how that could only work if you ignore or santise the history of American universities themselves. Many of them, including many of the most famous, are built on land and with money given by slave traders, have historic buildings constructed and maintained by enslaved labour, and continue to enjoy eye-wateringly large endowments that ultimately derive from the exploitation and suffering of people of colour. Moreover, Wilder shows how university faculty and administrators were active conspirators in the institutionalising and promotion of scientific racism and white supremacy. Wilder marshalls an impressive array of archival materials to produce an eye-opening, if often queasy, read. ( )
  siriaeve | Jul 14, 2021 |
This is another must-read for people looking into the depths of institutional racism. It details the complicity of the ivy league schools in the US with the slave trade, showing details of how they were originally established to educate the sons of slave-traders who mainly lived on the islands. It discusses ways in which these colleges and universities that are extolled for being "great" owned their owned slaves, allowed students to bring slaves with them, stole territory from indigenous tribes and built up their endowments with money derived from slavery. I came away thinking how we need to seriously rethink what. passes as a superior education. ( )
  dcvance | May 4, 2021 |
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"When Craig Steven Wilder first began digging around in university archives in 2002 for material linking universities to slavery, he recalled recently, he was “a little bashful” about what he was looking for.

“I would say, ‘I’m interested in 18th-century education,’ or something general like that,” Mr. Wilder said.

But as he told the archivists more, they would bring out ledgers, letters and other documents.

“They’d push them across the table and say, ‘You might want to take a peek at this,’ ” he said. “It was often really great material that was cataloged in ways that was hard to find.”

Now, more than a decade later, Mr. Wilder, a history professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has a new book, “Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities,” which argues provocatively that the nation’s early colleges, alongside church and state, were “the third pillar of a civilization based on bondage.”
 
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A leading African American historian of race in America exposes the uncomfortable truths about race, slavery, and the American academy, revealing that leading universities, dependent on human bondage, became breeding grounds for the racist ideas that sustained it.

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