Brown & Slavery & Justice

Slavery and Justice Report

Brown’s 2006 Slavery and Justice Report set a high standard for rigorous, unflinching analysis and became a model for responsible scholarship, sparking a national conversation.

The Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice intended that its 2006 report on the University's historical entanglement with racial slavery be released publicly, in print and electronically. It was to be circulated widely among Brown students, academic and non-academic staff, alumni and across Rhode Island and the United States.

In keeping with the charge both “to tell the truth in all its complexity” and to share that knowledge widely, Brown has released the Report of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice in multiple formats to reach the broadest possible audience for the greatest possible ongoing impact.

Brown’s groundbreaking report was the culmination of three years of research, community conversations and deliberation. The original report remains within an expanded second edition released 15 years after the original report.
The revised and expanded second edition features perspectives that offer insights on the persistent and evolving impact of Brown’s original 2006 report. It was produced by the Brown Library’s Digital Publications Initiative as a digital edition that provides a fully immersive, interactive experience for readers seeking a deeper engagement with the historical sources. The second edition also is available in print.
The Brown Library developed a “teaching edition” of the report for incoming undergraduates, making it possible for the Slavery and Justice Report to serve as a regular offering in students’ orientation to Brown. In 2020 and 2021, first-year Brown students read and analyzed the digital teaching edition of the Slavery and Justice Report as part of the University’s First Readings program.

Through these efforts to circulate the Report widely on campus, in Rhode Island, and around the world, we demonstrate that we are a university that will not allow ourselves to fall victim to what the Report describes as the ‘inevitable tendencies to deny, extenuate, and forget.’

Christina H. Paxson Brown University President