Yale University issues apology for role in slavery

Students walk on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Yale University on Friday issued an apology for its connection to slavery after several years of research and study that it said it undertook into its formative ties to the slave trade.

"Today, on behalf of Yale University, we recognize our university's historical role in and associations with slavery, as well as the labor, the experiences, and the contributions of enslaved people to our university's history, and we apologize for the ways that Yale's leaders, over the course of our early history, participated in slavery," the U.S. educational institution said in a statement.

In recent years, a growing number of institutions have formally apologized for their historical role in the transatlantic slave trade. A desire to confront racist legacies in the U.S. picked up momentum in 2020 after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

Since October 2020, members of the Yale & Slavery Research Project have conducted research into links to slavery by the New Haven, Connecticut-based university, making their findings public.

"Although there were no known records of Yale University owning enslaved people, many of Yale's Puritan founders owned enslaved people, as did a significant number of Yale's early leaders and other prominent members of the university community, and the Research Project has identified over 200 of these enslaved people," the statement said.

"Acknowledging and apologizing for this history are only part of the path forward," the statement added.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)