Review: Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities

Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities by Craig Steven Wilder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wilder takes on the historical and economic connections between slavery and many of the founding higher educational institutes in the United States from the 1600s to the 1800s. Within it, he traces the direct and indirect ways that such institutions participated, promoted, and benefited from slavery. It is a dry read at times, but a very telling one indeed. When we have discussions about race and racism and the long-lasting effects, we often look directly to the African American community, but we rarely recognize that beyond the negative effects on this population, it's clear that white institutions such as higher education flourished and became richer as a direct result of participating in slavery in various ways. Wilder paints this in vivid detail leaving no doubt that the Ivy Walls were held together in part with blood from slaves. It's a challenging view to accept and realize just how deeply entrenched slavery was in our society and how the animosity created through it still permeate our society. I'm speaking now in light of the massacre at the historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina--though I have little doubt that by the time you read this--there will be some other more recent and racially-laden event.

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