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North’s long history of slavery, scientific racism is examined

North’s long history of slavery, scientific racism is examined

October 9, 2020

Today they are seen as emblematic of the depth of American racism. But in their day and for a century beyond, the familiar but unsettling 19th century daguerreotypes of Jem, Alfred, Delia, Renty, Fassena, Drana, and Jack were accepted in some circles as scientific evidence of the inherent inferiority of Blacks.

A Thursday afternoon webinar, “The Enduring Legacy of Slavery and Racism in the North,” took as its starting point a new book on the images, “To Make Their Own Way in the World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes,” co-published by the ...

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Kenneth Rogoff assesses the state of the U.S. economy

October 8, 2020

The U.S. economic downturn has been harsh, but not as dire as first feared when the pandemic struck nearly seven months ago. The way ahead is uncertain, potential dangers abound. While the stock market remains strong, and the latest monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show unemployment in September on a decline, that’s now slowing, with only about half the jobs lost early in the outbreak having been recovered. Inequality has widened...

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Pondering putting an end to Columbus Day, and a look at what could follow

Pondering putting an end to Columbus Day, and a look at what could follow

October 8, 2020

Celebrated by Italian immigrants in the United States since 1792, Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937 to commemorate the “arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.” The explorer’s reputation has darkened in recent years as scholars have focused more attention on the killings and other atrocities he committed against Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. This year, amid a national reckoning on racial injustice, protesters have toppled and beheaded statues of Columbus in various cities, while pressure grows to abolish the national holiday and replace it with one that...

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New report recommends policies to protect citizens’ rights

October 8, 2020

A report released today by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights offers 80 recommendations for reimagining Americans’ rights and responsibilities. This blueprint for protecting and expanding citizens’ rights proposes policy changes to strengthen democratic processes; safeguard equal protection, equal opportunity, and due process of law; and better protect freedoms of speech, media, religion and privacy.

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Study finds American voters don’t hate ambitious women

Study finds American voters don’t hate ambitious women

October 6, 2020

Hillary Clinton’s surprising loss in the 2016 presidential election was chalked up, in part, to a widely held belief that voters prefer male candidates generally, and that they are especially put off by women who appear too ambitious or aggressive.

Those concerns have been revisited by pundits, in workplaces, and across dinner tables with former Vice President Joe Biden’s choice of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on the Democratic ticket. Some critics have called the former California attorney general overly self-seeking. That buzz has only grown as Harris, a former...

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Khalil Gibran Muhammad on why diversity and inclusion efforts fail

October 1, 2020

Recent killings of African Americans by police officers sparked widespread, multicultural, multigenerational protests and a reckoning around America’s history of anti-Black violence and systemic racism. Many nonprofits and businesses joined in the call for change, making new hiring, financial, and programmatic commitments and pledging to revise priorities and practices. The Institutional Antiracism and Accountability (IARA) Project, a research initiative of the ...

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FAS launches task force on visual culture and signage

September 29, 2020

Claudine Gay, the Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), announced on Wednesday that FAS will form a task force comprised of faculty, students, and staff to examine the College’s visual culture and develop a framework in which to create more inclusive imagery across the campus.

“How and where we memorialize individuals, events, and moments in our institutional history through imagery and symbols should reflect our core institutional commitments to truth, knowledge, and critical thinking,” Gay said in a message...

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Ruth Simmons argues for diversity in education

September 24, 2020

A sharecroppers’ daughter who went on to become the first Black president of an Ivy League institution, Ruth Simmons has a unique perspective on why diversity is critical to preparing students to lead, work, and live in an increasingly globalized world. Simmons, the former president of Brown University and currently president of Prairie View A&M University, testified on Harvard’s behalf during a 2018 trial of a lawsuit challenging Harvard’s right...

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Red tape holding up $11B in relief for Indian Country

September 24, 2020

Like countless state and local governments, the 574 federally recognized American Indian tribes across the U.S. are struggling to respond to the public health crisis caused by COVID-19 — and the resulting economic devastation. Despite the $11 billion in direct relief Congress earmarked for tribal governments last spring, the funds have been slow to reach Native Americans, and legal restrictions and other red tape have hindered tribes’ capacities to adequately respond to the pandemic.

During an online panel hosted by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, tribal...

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Black, Latinx people are overrepresented in prison, study says

Black, Latinx people are overrepresented in prison, study says

September 10, 2020

A new report by the Criminal Justice Policy Program (CJPP) at Harvard Law School shows that Black and Latinx people are overrepresented in Massachusetts’ criminal justice system and that they receive longer sentences than their white counterparts when convicted. The analysis, “Racial Disparities in the Massachusetts Criminal System,” was the result of a 2016 request by the late Ralph Gants ’76, J.D. ’80, chief justice of the state Supreme...

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