Harvard Law is trying to get rid of its slaveholder-celebrating seal

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Harvard Law School has recommended doing away with its official shield due to the seal's ties to a brutal slaveholder, the school announced Friday.

From the Law School's release:

The shield is modeled on the coat of arms of the family of Isaac Royall, whose bequest endowed the first professorship of law at Harvard. Royall was the son of an Antiguan slaveholder known to have treated his slaves with extreme cruelty, including burning 77 people to death. In 1936, the Harvard Corporation and Radcliff Trustees adopted seals for 27 Harvard academic units, naming the Royall crest, with its three sheaths of wheat, as the Law School shield.


The shield had caused considerable controversy at Harvard in the past few months, and Law School Dean Martha Minow set up a committee to examine whether it should be changed. The committee voted overwhelmingly to do so, though the Harvard Corporation, which oversees the entire university, will have the final say on the matter.

Harvard is far from alone in its attempts to grapple with its past ties to slavery and racism. Yale, for instance, has been trying to figure out what to do with Calhoun College, one of its residential buildings, which is named after notorious white supremacist and slavery champion John Calhoun. And universities across the country are being confronted over their monuments and tributes to the Confederacy.

(h/t New York)