American Universities, Monuments, and the Legacies of Slavery

March 30-31, 2018
Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room
Rubenstein Library Room 153

American Universities, Monuments, and the Legacies of Slavery

Join us for a major symposium on the history of American universities and the legacies of slavery, which provides an occasion to reflect on the meaning of monuments, racism, white supremacy, the history of the South, and their meaning for the present. It is convening some of the nation’s leading scholars of history, law, economics, art history, and sociology whose voices have been central to the current debate.

From humble beginnings as Trinity College to its present stature as one of the nation’s and the South’s leading universities, Duke University has been inescapably a place where questions of race, and citizenship, and belonging have been central, compelling, and difficult. Following the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue from the entrance to Duke Chapel on August 19, 2017, President Vincent Price recommitted the University to a “campus conversation about controversy and injustice in Duke’s history.” This symposium aims to contribute to that conversation. With this effort, Duke University joins other universities across the country that are exploring often troubling pasts in the midst of debates about monuments, the direct and indirect ties many universities had to the institution of slavery, the political disfranchisement of African Americans, segregated education, and systemic social, civic, and economic inequalities.

This event is open to the public, and students are especially encouraged to attend. Advance registration is not required.

See the Duke Today article "Examining Slavery's Legacy in Politics, Economics and in Stone"
See the Durham Herald-Sun article "At Duke, slavery, Jim Crow and Confederate memorials are about to get more attention"

This symposium is sponsored by the Office of the Provost at Duke University.

Center for Child and Family Policy, Sanford School of Public Policy
Department of African & African American Studies
Department of Economics
Duke Graduate School
Department of History
Duke Law School
Duke University Libraries
Forum for Scholars and Publics
John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute
Working Group on Slavery, Gender, & War


9:00 a.m.: Opening Remarks and Introductions

Keynote by Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, Princeton University

10:15 a.m.: Break

10:30 a.m.: American Universities: Reckoning with the Past, Part 1

12:00 p.m.: Lunch and Graduate Student Seminar (sponsored by Duke Graduate School)

1:15 p.m.: American Universities: Reckoning with the Past, Part 2

2:15 p.m.: Break

2:30 p.m.: Legacies of Slavery: Monuments and Monumental Histories

3:45 p.m.: Monuments and Countermonuments

5:15 p.m.: Reception and Book Signing


9:00 a.m.: Welcome and Introductions

Keynote by Darlene Clark Hine, Board of Trustees, Emeritus Professor of African American Studies and Professor of History, Northwestern University and Visiting Hannah Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University

10:15 a.m.: Slavery and its Legacies: Education, Labor, and the Southern Economy

11:45 a.m.: Lunch Conversation--Trinity College of Arts & Sciences: Student Voices, Past and Present

1:00 p.m.: Racecraft, Racism, and Inequality

2:00 p.m.: White Supremacy, Memory, and Reconstruction

3:15 p.m.: Break

3:30 p.m.: The Arc of Justice: What Universities Ought to do About Reparations

4:30 pm: Closing Plenary--Monuments, Memory, and Southern History--Reception and Book Signing