Emory University Issues an Official Apology for Its Ties to Slavery

The board of trustees of Emory University in Atlanta has issued a formal statement apologizing for its role in the institution of slavery. The college was founded in 1836 by a group of Methodists who named the college after a Maryland bishop who was a slaveowner. The university admitted that its founders and early leaders were all supporters of slavery and worked to divide the Methodist Church into northern and southern branches. Archival records show that slaves, rented from their white owners, participated in some construction projects on campus. All of Emory’s presidents before the Civil War owned slaves, as did many faculty.

It wasn’t until 1967 that the first black student earned a bachelor’s degree at Emory University. Today the university’s undergraduate student body is 10 percent black.