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Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universitiesby Craig Steven Wilder
Synopses & Reviews
A 2006 report commissioned by Brown University revealed that institution's complex and contested history of involvement in slavery-setting off a controversy that soon leapt outside of the academic circuit and made headlines across the country. The relationship between slavery, the slave trade and American higher education isn't a part of America's triumphal narrative of racial healing-in Ebony and Ivy, Craig Steven Wilder, a rising star in American history, explosively lays bare some of the uncomfortable truths about slavery and the antebellum academy. Not just Brown, but most of America's revered colleges and universities--from Harvard to Amherst to William & Mary--were built on the backs of the enslaved.The slave economy determined the financial fates of many colleges, and the politics of the "peculiar institution" influenced curricula and intellectual culture in the young republic. Commercial slavery funded the growth of academic communities, literally built campuses, and filled the purses of matriculating scholars. Enslaved Americans waited on professors and students, and academic leaders aggressively courted the support of slaveowners and slave traders. And as Wilder shows, not only were our leading universities financed by slavery, they were breeding grounds of the racist thinking that sustained it. Ebony and Ivy is a powerful and propulsive study, the first of its kind, revealing the racism and anti-abolitionist history of our the institutions usually considered the cradle of liberal politics. Wilder crafts an unflinching portrait of an education system that not only benefited from injustice, but helped to provide the intellectual justification for it.
A groundbreaking and incendiary exploration of the intertwined histories of slavery, racism, and higher education in America, from a leading African-American historian
About the Author
Craig Steven Wilder is professor of American history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has taught at Williams College and Dartmouth College. Wilder grew up in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and received his PhD from Columbia University. He is the author of A Covenant with Color and In the Company of Black Men.
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