In a new report out today, Harvard University acknowledges a history that included being run by slaveholders right from the start:
Over nearly 150 years, from the University’s founding in 1636 until the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found slavery unlawful in 1783, Harvard presidents and other leaders, as well as its faculty and staff, enslaved more than 70 individuals, some of whom labored on campus.
Enslaved men and women served Harvard presidents and professors and fed and cared for Harvard students.
The report continues that Harvard didn't stop benefiting from slavery just because it was outlawed here:
Moreover, throughout this period and well into the 19th century, the University and its donors benefited from extensive financial ties to slavery. These profitable financial relationships included, most notably, the beneficence of donors who accumulated their wealth through slave trading; from the labor of enslaved people on plantations in the Caribbean islands and in the American South; and from the Northern textile manufacturing industry, supplied with cotton grown by enslaved people held in bondage. The University also profited from its own financial investments, which included loans to Caribbean sugar planters, rum distillers, and plantation suppliers along with investments in cotton manufacturing. The balance of the university's financial ties shifted over time; with the development of industrial capitalism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the plantation economy evolved, and cotton began to take center stage. Northern textile industrialists interacted with the institution of slavery through the cotton trade; enslaved laborers produced the cotton that was the engine of textile production and, therefore, of the region's economy. Senator Sumner called this vital economic link between the industrial North and the slaveholding South an "unhallowed alliance between the lords of the lash and the lords of the loom."
And then, in the 20th century, Harvard turned its attention to Jews, but that's a whole other report.