Mercer University has joined Universities Studying Slavery (USS), a consortium of more than 70 institutions created and led by the University of Virginia to collaborate in sharing best practices and guiding principles about truth-telling projects addressing human bondage and racism in institutional histories.
All member schools commit to research, acknowledgment and atonement regarding institutional ties to the slave trade, to enslavement on campus or abroad, and to enduring racism in school history and practice.
“With 28% of the current student body identifying as African Americans, Mercer has done a remarkable job at recruiting and retaining students whose experience varies greatly from Mercer students of an earlier era,” said Dr. Douglas E. Thompson, professor of history and Southern studies and director of Mercer’s Spencer B. King Jr. Center for Southern Studies. “We recognize that a fuller accounting of the University’s history will affirm for those students the University’s commitment to a better understanding of its past.”
The Spencer B. King Jr. Center for Southern Studies will lead the work of examining the historical record to narrate with greater clarity the University’s engagement with slavery, while also drawing upon models established by student research projects in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Africana Studies and History departments.