Brown University Announces Response to Recommendations of the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice

Last fall the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice issued a report after three years of investigating the institution’s past ties to slavery. The Brown family, which provided the money to establish the institution, was involved in the Atlantic slave trade and slaves were used as laborers to construct at least one building on the Brown campus.

Now, Brown University president Ruth J. Simmons has announced the school’s response to the committee’s recommendations. Simmons has pledged that the university will create a $10 million endowment called the Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence. The earnings from this endowment will be used to support the Providence public school system. In addition, the university will create 10 Urban Fellowships for graduate students who agree to serve in the Providence schools for three years after earning their degrees. In return, the university will pay their full tuition.

Brown also announced several other steps such as forming committees to decide on a proper memorial for slaves, how to further integrate teachings on the slave trade into the Brown curriculum, and steps that can be taken to strengthen the Africana studies department.