Slavery and University Archives

Harvey Long



Recently, American colleges and universities including Harvard, Yale, Brown, William & Mary Georgetown, and the University of North Carolina have chosen to confront their ties to slavery. Georgetown University has gone as far as to award preferential status to the descendants of the 272 slaves the institution profited from in the early nineteenth century. Archival literature rarely addresses what historian Annette Gordon-Reed calls “records of violence” in the context of university archives. From slavery to scientific racism, race is entangled in institutions of higher learning. How do university archivists present records related to slavery? This paper hopes to present findings on the ways in which university archivists curate and provide access to records pertaining to slavery. I am in the collection phase of this research, so ideas will evolve.



Harvey Long is a first-year doctoral student in Library & Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is also perusing certificates in Public Humanities and History. Long holds an undergraduate degree in English with a minor in History from Winston-Salem State University. His research interests include archival studies, and African American history.