University of Mississippi Professors Research Legacy of Slavery at State’s Flagship UniversityHistorians in the News
tags: slavery, Mississippi, University of Mississippi
Five University of Mississippi professors, along with local community organizations and other campus partners, are exploring the history and impact of slavery at the university and in the Oxford community.
The University of Mississippi Slavery Research Group (UMSRG) started as a 2013 book club consisting of several faculty and administrators where they read and discussed historian Craig Steven Wilder’s book, “Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities,” in efforts to “develop a set of preliminary initiatives that faculty and students on the campus might be able to tackle with regard to the history of slavery at the University of Mississippi,” according to the group’s website.
Seven years later, UMSRG still upholds its core mission to “explore new scholarship on slavery and the legacies of slavery” and “to address these historical omissions and social neglect.”
So far, the group has been able to name and identify 11 enslaved people who labored on the campus, has led campus slavery tours and has completed many other stories and projects in order to bring to life the connection between slavery, the University of Mississippi and the greater Oxford and Lafayette County community.
“For me, studying the institution of slavery on the university’s campus is a part of giving people who say they love the university a full and accurate and complete history of that institution,” Anne Twitty, an associate professor of history, told Mississippi Today.
Twitty, who is one of five professors from across the disciplines of history, sociology, anthropology, African American Studies and Southern Studies to lead UMSRG, also said the value of studying slavery at the University of Mississippi connects to more recent eras in history.
“The fact that slavery was such an integral part of Mississippi, not only at the university’s founding, but that racism and Jim Crow and white supremacy continued to be absolutely essential features of the university,” Twitty said. “I think that that history deserves to be a part of the university’s narrative.”
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