Brown & Slavery & Justice

National Impact

Brown’s slavery and justice work has sparked conversation across the nation, set a high standard for rigorous, unflinching analysis and served as a model for responsible scholarship.

Brown University’s pioneering work… has long stood as the gold standard for how to embark. We here at the University of Virginia looked directly to Brown University in particular as we began our own commission work…

President’s Commission on Slavery and the University University of Virginia

Brown’s Report of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, one of the first of its kind in the nation, helped launch a national reckoning in higher education. Since the report’s release in 2006, more than 80 colleges and universities across the United States — and a handful in Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland — have made commitments to research, acknowledge and atone for institutional histories linked with human bondage and racism.

The report’s principles also reverberate outside higher education. Insights from the report sparked research on racial slavery in the Americas that has made its way into national exhibitions and conversations — and remains poised to reach millions of Americans via a documentary film series. In addition, thanks to the report, high school students across the U.S. are now confronting the complexities and far-reaching consequences of racial slavery.

The Slavery and Justice Report sparked a national reckoning on higher education’s historical connections with slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.
Academic work inspired by the report continues to reach millions across the country and world through exhibitions, public events and a forthcoming documentary series.