GBH Forum Network May 5, 2014
Dr. Craig Steven Wilder’s new book, Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013) is the first of its kind — a powerful and propulsive study revealing a history of oppression behind the institutions usually considered the cradle of liberal politics. In Ebony and Ivy, Dr. Wilder lays bare uncomfortable truths about race, slavery, and the American academy.
A 2006 report commissioned by Brown University revealed that institution’s complex and contested involvement in slavery — setting off a controversy that leapt from the ivory tower to make headlines across the country. But Brown’s troubling past was far from unique. The slave trade funded colleges, built campuses, and paid the wages of professors. Many of America’s revered colleges and universities — from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to Rutgers, Williams College, and UNC — were soaked in the sweat, the tears, and sometimes the blood of people of color.
From a community organizer in the South Bronx to a professor, author and scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Wilder is a rising star in the profession of history whose career trajectory has already earned such recognition as Columbia’s University Medal of Excellence.