Lewis Morris / April 28, 2022

Harvard Blows $100M Fighting Slavery

The Ivy League institution is spending gobs of money to exorcise the demons of its distant past.

Harvard University announced this week that it will spend $100 million to create an endowed “Legacy of Slavery Fund” aimed at redressing the institution’s historic ties to America’s original sin. It’s just the latest example of academia’s longstanding obsession with self-flagellation and virtue signaling over race.

The creation of the fund was announced Tuesday along with the release of a 134-page Harvard report that details how the institution and its administrators engaged in and profited from slavery and racial discrimination for nearly 300 years. Included are incomplete lists of the enslaved and who enslaved them, including prominent scholars and administrators from Harvard’s storied past.

The report has prompted a lot of pearl-clutching within the Crimson community and across academia in general. New England has historically been considered a bastion of abolitionism during the antebellum years. It doesn’t compute to these high-minded woke folks that Harvard could have ever profited from slavery. These are the same woke folks, though, who have eaten up every morsel of the New York Times’s heinous 1619 Project, which was nothing more than race-baiting revision of the American story not from its Declaration of Independence but from the date that the first slave ship landed in Virginia. So it’s a little puzzling that they’re surprised by what this new report has to say. Didn’t they already know with certitude that all American institutions were irredeemably racist?

Like the 1619 Project, Harvard’s Legacy of Slavery report suffers from a lack of historical context. Abominable though it was, slavery was present in all the colonies prior to the American Revolution. It’s easy to draw integrated economic lines between slaveholders and America’s most prestigious university, particularly if the goal is to stir continued racial division. But this report and its supporters conveniently forget that Harvard was one of the seedbeds of the abolitionist movement. Rather than take credit for that, though, the university is now engaging in nine-figure virtue signaling.

Just how much absolution will $100 million buy? Enough to allow modern-day descendants of slaves to trace their connections to Harvard. Enough to build memorials and expand the curriculum to further explore Harvard’s connection to slavery. And enough to support other schools that presumably capitalized on slavery and had connections to Harvard during its slave-profiting days.

The Legacy of Slavery Fund is a waste of money. Nothing in its mission isn’t already being done by Harvard or other colleges and universities. Statues and memorials reminding us of slavery’s awful legacy, revisionist history courses preaching anti-American and anti-white ideology, and woke networks further infecting academia are all projects that are well underway. The fund’s true goal is to open a back door to reparations and providing a model for other colleges and universities to follow. One skeptical Boston-area property developer who was identified as a descendant of Harvard slaves asked, “What are you going to do, put a Cadillac in everyone’s garage?”

Actually, Harvard could afford to do just that. It’s the richest institution in the higher education industry, with an endowment of $53.2 billion. Put another way, Harvard’s endowment is large enough to provide a free four-year education to 245,000 students. Just so long as none of those students are Asian.

The Harvard endowment’s 2021 surplus — yes, surplus — was more than twice what it cost to establish the Legacy of Slavery Fund in the first place. And as an endowed fund, it will continue to grow thanks to investments and gifts — like the $1 million already pledged by Georgetown University.

Never again let anyone tell you that America’s colleges and universities don’t have enough funding to carry out their mission to educate indoctrinate the nation’s youth. Especially when they’re spending gobs of money to buy woke points from the leftist mob.

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