Media Collection | MIT and the Legacy of Slavery project

MIT students have begun exploring the university’s entanglement with the institution of slavery, in the process writing a more complete history, and helping to catalyze a national conversation about the legacies of slavery in science, engineering, and technical education.



Letter from MIT President L. Rafael Reif

MIT and Slavery website

Ebony and Ivy
Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities
by Craig Steven Wilder

Collected Resources Media
MIT and the Legacy of Slavery


3 Questions interview: Melissa Nobles and Craig Steven Wilder discuss the MIT and Legacy of Slavery project
A community dialogue series is underway as multi-year research continues.
Interview by SHASS Communications, 1 May 2018

MIT class reveals, explores Institute’s connections to slavery
Findings show founder William Barton Rogers possessed enslaved persons before coming to MIT; research, community dialogue to ensue.
Story at MIT News, by Peter Dizikes, February 12, 2018

MIT News story: about Ebony and Ivy
Story at MIT News, by Peter Dizikes

Event explores initial findings from “MIT & Slavery” class
Students bring the Institute into national conversation about universities and the institution of slavery in the United States.
Story for MIT and SHASS News, by Meg Murphy and Emily Hiestand, February 23, 2018

MIT and Slavery reveals initial findings
Story for MIT Library News, by Brigham Fay, February 27, 2018

MIT and Slavery is an undergraduate research course on the founding and development of the Institute. Co-taught by Craig Steven Wilder, Barton L. Weller Professor of History, and Archivist for Researcher Services Nora Murphy, the class was embedded in the Institute Archives, where students researched a variety of topics using primary sources from the 19th century. The student projects, which involve working closely with archival material, will inform an evolving history of MIT and Slavery.



MIT & the Legacy of Slavery | February 9, 2018
©2018 Office of the Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Produced by Joe McMaster and Emily Hiestand
MIT Video Productions and MIT SHASS Communications

Initial MIT Community Dialogue on MIT & the Legacy of Slavery
Video by MIT Video Prodcutions, February 16, 2018
At an event on Feb 16, 2018, 250+ members of the MIT community gathered to explore the initial findings from the “MIT and Slavery” class, first taught in the Fall of 2017. MIT President L. Rafael Reif, who catalyzed the "MIT and Slavery" course and research project, opened the event, saying “I believe the work of this class is important to the present — and to the future. Something I have always loved about the MIT community is that we seek, and we face, facts. What can history teach us now, as we work to invent the future? How can we make sure that the technologies we invent will contribute to making a better world for all?"


Looking into its past, MIT finds its first president once owned slaves
The Boston Globe

MIT Exploring Link Between Slavery and Science, Discovers Founder Was a Slave Owner

‘It was not expected’ that MIT Founder Owned Slaves in 1850

Review of Ebony and Ivy: How slavery helped universities grow 
New York Times