University of Maryland to Examine Its Ties to Slavery

In 2003 Brown University president Ruth J. Simmons, a great-granddaughter of slaves, formed a commission to examine the university’s ties to slavery. In issuing its report three years later in 2006, the commission stated that the university benefited to a large degree from its association with the institution of slavery and recommended several ways in which the university could make amends.

Now the University of Maryland is examining its history in regards to slavery. But instead of forming a commission, the question of the university’s ties to slavery will be researched by students in a two-semester history course taught by Ira Berlin, one of the nation’s most respected scholars on the slavery era. The university has budgeted $50,000 to fund the students’ research.