Why is Harvard University so rich?
Where did they get their wealth from? These are questions one must ask when looking at Harvard’s past. It is no secret that Harvard University was built by enslaved African labor, funded by the Royall Family.
The pressing questions of today are: What to do now? How can Harvard take responsibility and be accountable in a material, tangible way? How to repair the damage of hundreds and thousands of African people who were worked to death so that white people could be rich, and that African people continue to live in oppressive conditions today?
It is with these questions of how to move forward that the subject of Reparations must be discussed. There is a direct correlation between the luxurious institution of the Ivory Tower and the impoverished Africans who sit outside it on the streets.
The Uhuru Solidarity Movement, the organization of white people formed by and working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, calls for Harvard University to pay reparations to African people as a concrete way of taking responsibility for its legacy of directly profiting from the enslavement of African people.
Reparations has become a household word, due largely to the efforts of the African People’s Socialist Party and its leader, Chairman Omali Yeshitela, who spearheaded international Tribunals on Reparations in the 1980s and 90s that took the question of reparations out of the legislative arena and put it in the hands of the African masses as a revolutionary demand.
Recently, major institutions such as the Vatican and U.S. universities have been forced to admit their role in the genocide of Indigenous and African people.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s theory of African Internationalism proves that parasitic capitalism as a world economic system was built through Europe’s assault on Africa, turning African people into the first commodities of capitalism and exploiting their stolen labor, and genocide against the Indigenous people and theft of their land.
The birth of capitalism consolidated Europe’s wealth and power that benefited the entire white population and lifted white people out of feudal poverty. All of the institutions within white society from the universities to banks and insurance companies were created on the backs of enslaved African people.
To quote Omali Yeshitela: “Would capitalism and the resultant European wealth and African impoverishment have occurred without the European attack on Africa, its division, African slavery and dispersal, colonialism and neocolonialism?
No! No! No! And a thousand times no!”
Harvard Law School’s Slaveholding Benefactor, Isaac Royall, Jr.
One of the universities that has recently come forward with information about its “ties to slavery” is Harvard. It is now common knowledge that Harvard Law School was established through a grant by Isaac Royall, Jr. in 1736, whose wealth came from Antiguan sugar plantations under the cruel subjugation of enslaved African men, women, and children.
According to an article published by the Harvard University Press Blog, around the year 1700, when Indigenous people’s resistance to white settler-colonialism increased dramatically Royall’s father, Isaac Royall, Sr., fled with his family from what would later be named Maine to Massachusetts.
The elder Royall acquired several sugar cane plantations in Antigua, and moved there. The Caribbean island had been brutally conquered and colonized by England in 1632. With these ill-gotten gains, Royall, Sr. purchased several farms in and around what is now Medford, Massachusetts. He also had part-ownership of a slave-transport vessel, named after the Mayflower.3
By 1736, enslaved Africans in Antigua outnumbered their white oppressors, six to one.4 It is said that many thousands of these Africans planned for two years to overthrow their white captors, including the Royalls. They formed regiments and trained. They performed traditional ceremonies to elect leaders. Their goal was to form their own African Nation.5
But their plans were discovered at the last minute. The African resistance in Antigua against the white minority was quashed with horrific brutality. At least 88 enslaved Africans were torn limb from limb or burned alive. Among the murdered was Isaac Royall’s enslaved African driver, whom he called “Hector,”6 and whose given African name and story is lost for all time, along with billions of other Africans.
It is the accumulated wealth arising from this campaign of exploitation and slaughter that gave birth to Harvard University.
Beyond changing the logo: Harvard must pay reparations!
In 2016, under intense public pressure from current Harvard students, alumni, and faculty the Harvard Law School Shield Committee did away with the law school’s official shield containing the Royall coat of arms.7
The now ex-logo had three sheaves of wheat, which represents the wheat gathered by enslaved Africans on the plantations, which was then sold for profit to make the Royalls rich.
Harvard eradicated this logo but fell short of any financial compensation, citing the inability to identify the descendants due to poor record-keeping.
In other words, Harvard made a superficial apology and then washed their hands of the situation, doing nothing to challenge the economic make-up of a society that continues to reflect is parasitic origins, with the white population living on the pedestal of the impoverishment and misery inflicted on the colonized African population.
The African People’s Socialist Party, the revolutionary party of the African working class fighting to unite Africans everywhere in the struggle for a liberated and unified Africa and African people, demands for reparations to go directly to Black Star Industries, the basis for a liberated African economy.
Even if Harvard found one or two descendants of Africans who were enslaved under Royalls’ reign of terror and gave them monetary compensation, that would not erase the fact that Harvard owes its very existence to the torture and forced labor of African people.
Harvard owes reparations to the entire African nation.
Harvard’s role in genocide: Not a thing of the past!
Harvard’s role as profiteers and engineers of genocide and slavery did not end with the death of Isaac Royall.
Today, Harvard University is one of the most powerful and influential institutions in the imperialist world system. Harvard has been advancing imperialist domination of the world for every minute of its existence.
Africans today, here and in Africa, are still under attack by chemical warfare, biological warfare, police genocide, and all of these attacks are part of campaigns that are cooked up by people in the ivory towers of Harvard and other elite universities.
All the imperialist wars and regime-change operations around the world, and the associated imperialist propaganda, are designed by academic departments at Harvard.
Harvard was forced by the resistance of African people to modify the law school’s shield.
On March 3rd, 2017, the Radcliffe Institute will hold a conference entitled “Universities & Slavery: Bound by History”. They will call for increasing the ethnic diversity on campus and among faculty.8
The Uhuru Solidarity Movement challenges them to talk about Reparations and put a plan in place to make payment!
Reparations Is The Only Solution!
Harvard must pay reparations to Black Star Industries, the economic wing of the African liberation movement that is struggling to restore the right to self-government and sovereignty of Africans over their own lives. Uhuru Foods & Pies, Health Fairs, Book Fairs, community gardens, Furniture Consignment Stores, and the Tyron Lewis All People’s Gym allow African people here and throughout the world economic independence.
Named after the shipping line built by the great African leader Marcus Garvey, Black Star Industries is the economic vehicle of the African People’s Socialist Party through which African people worldwide are building their own independent economic future. Long-running APSP institutions such as the African People’s Education & Defense Fund (APEDF) and Burning Spear Publications foster African self-determination while overturning the yoke of colonialism so intimately connected with Harvard Law School’s beginnings.
USM Boston will be holding their event: Harvard Owes Reparations Now! Friday, March 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Jackson Mann Community Center, 500 Cambridge Street, Allston (Boston), MA 02134.
White reparations to African People! Uhuru!
- “APSP 5th Congress marks great gains in African liberation struggle and demands of today!” The Burning Spear. April 10, 2010. http://www.theburningspear.com/2010/04/apsp-5th-congress-marks-great-gains-in-african-liberation-struggle-and-demands-of-today
- ”Isaac Royall, Jr.: Slave Master, Harvard Law School Benefactor”, Harvard University Press Blog, Nov 20, 2015. http://harvardpress.typepad.com/hup_publicity/2015/11/isaac-royall-jr-slave-master-harvard-law-school-benefactor.html
- “Harvard Corporation agrees to retire HLS shield.” Harvard Law Today, 2016.
- “Law School Students Support HUDS Diversity Task Force” Reclaim Harvard Law School. Oct 5, 2016. https://reclaimharvardlaw.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/law-school-students-support-huds-diversity-task-force/