Monday, February 26, 2024

The Shame of Slavery via University of Chicago.

June 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Education, Money, News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

( Georgetown University professor, Michael Eric Dyson, suggested in January that whites should open up “individual reparations accounts” to literally pay back black Americans for slavery. Consequently, in March of this year, I wrote an article titled, “The Case for Reparations.” That article resonated deeply with many that have an appreciation of History from the perspective of those of us who have lived it! The concept of reparations is a familiar one within the United States judiciary system. Recently, a group of plaintiffs has filed claims for reparations against several large corporations that are allegedly built by virtue of the manual labor of the largely African-American Trans-Atlantic slave workforce. These assertions have been marred and decried, yet the underlying reasoning behind them conforms to an oppressive and prejudicial foundation for America’s wealth and prosperity. The primary industries associated with these exploitative enterprises include financial, railroad, tobacco, insurance, and textile companies.

Even today, many companies in the aforementioned fields are operating in a moral gray area in relation to underpaying workers, unsustainable use of resources and general corruption. However, these issues pale in comparison to the multitude of horrors our country’s forefathers visited upon the African-American workforce. Case in point; The University of Chicago; a powerhouse in the halls of academia and a bastion of the upper echelon of education; has some explaining to do. Consider this snippet of American History: The great desire of Julia Leakes was to reunite with her family. In the Lawrence County of Mississippi, Julia had two sisters, thirteen nieces, and nephews who came to be sold in the year 1859. Julia, as an enslaved woman, did everything she could just to negotiate the sale of her family to Stephen A. Douglas, the man who owned her.

The plantation manager to Douglas said to him, ‘’these black slaves are pleading for you to buy them.’’ Instantly, Julia’s siblings, all of her nephews and nieces are kept on the auction block, where eventually they all vanished from historical records.

In the year 1859, in Washington County, Mississippi, Julia Steaks almost died under the leadership of a new overseer for Douglas. The maltreatment of Douglas’ slave was known everywhere. He had no regard for them.

In a particular report, it was said that on the plantation of Douglas, slaves were without clothes and hardly got any food. Dr. Dan Brainard of Rush Medical College stated that the Douglas’ slaves were forced to go through situations that were disgraceful and inhumane. He also said that it was so terrible that even Douglas’ fellow slaveholders who were present in Mississippi branded him as a disgrace to their occupation.

The sufferings of Julia Leakes and her family has a lot to do with the existence of the University of Chicago today. Douglas became very wealthy in the year 1848 to 1857 from the capital and labor gotten from his slaves’ efforts. This also made his political career to take on a new height. The money he made from slavery made him so financially secured to the extent of providing ten acres of land to begin the University of Chicago which is valued at about the sum of $1.2 million dollars today.

The foundation of the University of Chicago is soaked in the blood of black men and women who were enslaved by Stephen A. Douglas. The University of Chicago borrowed over $6 million dollars to create its Gothic campus, organizational framework, vast network, and institutional structures, and before the year 1881, it also got an endowment of $4 million.

It is worthy to say that the past of the University of Chicago has everything to do with the fortune made from slavery.

The University of Chicago is not the only institution or organization that has deep roots in the slavery of black men and women. So many businesses, universities, and elite colleges have their roots in slavery. So many schools and organizations owe big endowments to the finances of the slave economy. The universities continue to leverage their grants to develop students that are talented and create still more physical plants.

The University of Chicago sits on the south side of the city that bears its name. It is rightly positioned to address slavery legacy in various forms. For a long time, Chicago has been a major place to witness the life and culture of black people. Creating an African-American studies department should have been implemented years ago.

A “Faculty of Color” should also be created; the university should also mentor and recruit students who are underrepresented to attend the University. This is not reparations; it is simply the right thing to do. Organizations and individuals residing on the south side of Chicago should not be ordered around while leading the way, as details of the University of Chicago’s involvement in slavery and various discrimination posts in 1967 are recorded. This can be a completely new way of human interactions, social organization, and self-governance. If this project is completed in the right way, reparations can show a better side of politics being filled with love and justice, not just impishness built on self-interest.

A new and better America is what reparations will bring us. Though it might not be easy and sweet initially; reparations have to continue until slavery is totally eradicated in all its contemporary forms and a new order takes place. The moral obligation to provide recompense to the descendants of African-American slaves is not the only driving force behind this action. It is possible that a meaningful demonstration of sympathy, guilt, and empathy for the plight of the African-American’s past and present, might be swept aside along with the ingrained prejudices still plaguing a large proportion of the African populace. This could create a heightened degree of social awareness within the American people regarding the disparity between the ‘per capita’ income of ‘white’ and ‘black’ neighborhoods. There are dramatically large incarceration statistics for African-Americans, predominantly male, and a distressing prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse within this stratum of African-American culture. The American upper class largely holds to the belief that they cannot be held accountable for the sins of their forefathers—false!

The University of Chicago must fully accept that its foundation is built on slavery. The financing of the institution was with slaves’ blood money. Presently, the establishment has only an abysmal 1.8 percentage of black men enrolled. The fact that the University is located in Chicago where about 34% of black people comprise its population should speak to the need for an immediate change and a heartfelt apology from the University of Chicago to the African-American community at large.

Staff Writer; Stanley G. Buford

Feel free to connect with this brother via Twitter; Stanley G. and alsofacebook


6 Responses to “The Shame of Slavery via University of Chicago.”
  1. Jeff Credle says:

    Why does the discussion only focus on reparations for African Americans by the US government instead of reparations by Europe and the US for descendants of slaves living in the Caribbean and South America (especially Brazil)?

    True reparations would not result in much for African Americans because they already live in a first world country. The money would be used to pull South Americans and people in the Caribbean out of poverty.

    The people marching for this are selfish and fail to admit that they got a better deal compared to the slaves in the rest of the “New World”. They should call for reparations by Europe and the US to descendants of slaves in South America and the Caribbean.

  2. Arthur says:

    The slave trade and the unpaid toil of Africans is the basis of the modern day capitalist economy. And, yes, many highly ranked colleges and universities were established with monies that came directly from slavery. However, the University of Chicago was established by John D. Rockefeller, an abolitionist. They offered to name the school after him, but he modestly refused. Rockefeller also established an historically Black college, and consented to have not his, but his wife’s maiden name, Spellman, used as its moniker.

  3. Stanley G Buford says:

    Thanks for your positive perspective on the article Dr. Ray Winbush. My daughter, Dr. Kathryn C. Buford was a student at the University of Chicago briefly. I would like to compare notes with you someday. I will try to connect via Linkedin. Be Blessed! 🙂


  4. Question says:

    Wasn’t the donation of land to the “Old” University of Chicago, which was a different enough that the current University of Chicago, which was founded by John D. Rockefeller. See

  5. Ray Winbush says:

    Thanks for a brilliant article about enslavement and its connection to the University of Chicago. I received both my Masters and Ph.D. from there (1973, 1976) and never knew this history. It’s ironic that I’ve written two books on reparations and had John Hope Franklin as my professor while there and STILL did not hear about this sordid history. Anything I can do as an alum, please let me know. And BTW, ignore idiots like JC; people like her/him are the dying spawn of a nation drunk with white supremacy.

  6. JC says:

    Ignorant bullshit. Get your facts straight and get your head out of your ass. You’re a terrible historian. The intolerant left likes to call Trump a liar–well, you’re a liar for printing this kind of nonsense.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!