Yale Apologizes for Historic Ties to Slavery

On Friday, Yale College officially apologized for its historical ties to slavery. The prestigious Ivy League institution has joined other organizations in publicly addressing and apologizing for its involvement with slavery, after years of research on the subject.

“Today, Yale College acknowledges our institution’s historical role in and associations with slavery. We recognize the labor, experiences, and contributions of enslaved individuals to our college’s history and we apologize for the ways in which the institution’s leaders were involved in slavery throughout our early history,” the college stated.

The announcement also included the release of a book titled “Yale and Slavery: A History,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning professor David W. Blight in association with the Yale and Slavery Research Project. In addition, the college outlined several initiatives and activities it plans to undertake based on the project’s findings.

The statement revealed that several of the college’s early leaders and founders were slave-owners and the oldest building on campus, Connecticut Hall, was partly built using enslaved labor. The building is currently under reconstruction.

While there are no records of Yale University owning enslaved individuals, it was stated that many of the institution’s original Puritan founders, significant early leaders, and other notable members of the college community owned slaves. The research project identified over 200 enslaved individuals. The majority were identified as Black and some as Indigenous.

Yale is one of many educational institutions globally wrestling with their past links to slavery, with a growing number of colleges making similar admissions. In 2022, Harvard University, another Ivy League school, committed $100 million to its endowment for the examination of its substantial involvement with slavery. Meanwhile, Princeton changed the name of its School of Public and International Affairs in 2020, removing former Democratic President Woodrow Wilson’s name, citing his racist beliefs and policies.


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