Earlier this week, MIT President Rafael Reif sent the following email to the community:
To the members of the MIT community,
At MIT, we face facts, and we turn passionately toward the future. Today, however, we must attend to some newly uncovered facts from our past.
A distinguished member of our history faculty, Professor Craig Steven Wilder is the leading authority on how the emergence and growth of American colleges and universities is entwined with the history of slavery. Last spring, I sought Craig’s advice on how MIT could best explore its historical connections in this realm. Based on our conversation, SHASS Dean Melissa Nobles and I immediately endorsed his proposal: to develop an ongoing undergraduate primary-research course, to be called “MIT and Slavery.”
Led by Professor Wilder and MIT’s archivist for reference services Nora Murphy, the class began last fall, meeting in the MIT archives. In December, the students presented to me what they have discovered so far…
What they have discovered so far is outlined more comprehensively in this MIT News story and accompanying video, as well as this Tech article, which I really recommend reading/watching.
Today I, and many of our admissions officers, are taking a brief break from committee to attend a live webcast and discussion of the class and related research. I’ve embedded the webcast below. You can also follow the conversation and submit questions at #MITandSlavery on twitter.