Furman Grapples with Historical Role of Slavery
Dr. Brandon Inabinet hopes to emphasize how universities acknowledging their history with racism and slavery can improve inclusion.
“Truth telling about the history, who did what to whom, is the first step. Once you do that you can start to make repairs based on an accurate accounting of the past.”
Furman University: Slave Labor Discoveries at Furman's Downtown Campus
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On Jan. 20, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman delivered a unifying message of hope at the Presidential inauguration by asserting that our nation, “battered and beautiful,” will one day live up to its ideals. To echo this notion, Dr. Brandon Inabinet will speak at an upcoming CLP, where he will discuss how the acknowledgement of universities’ history with racism and slavery can help our nation move forward in creating a just future. This CLP, titled “Battered and Beautiful: Universities’ Legacies,” will discuss the importance and impact of Furman’s Task Force on Slavery and Justice and similar programs at other universities across the nation and how this work can aid in promoting campus inclusion.
The idea for this event originated with Tityana Watts ’21, who shared that she “wanted to give the Freshman and Sophomore class a preview of the Task Force and where it started from.” Watts will moderate the event, an honor that is especially significant as the complicated past of universities “still heavily affects African American students to this day.”
Similarly, Inabinet wants to be a part of the process in bringing universities’ past to light because he feels that sometimes, white people need to take the lead in order to support the hard work of Black activists. As a white Southerner, he hopes to do his part “to lead and not merely react” to the work of activists. “For so long, universities wanted to make progress by hiding that past and so it was easy for schools like Furman to not talk about racism in their history because they wanted to recruit African American and non-white students,” Inabinet said. He believes that Task Force and similar work is long overdue and that we can no longer attempt to bury the racist parts of our history. “Truth telling about the history, who did what to whom, is the first step.” Inabinet said about the importance of this work. “Once you do that you can start to make repairs based on an accurate accounting of the past.”
To learn more about the work Furman and other universities are doing to address their history with racism and slavery, students should attend "Battered and Beautiful: Universities’ Legacies," The Furman community can attend the CLP this Thursday, Feb. 25th at 6:30 over Zoom. Students can register at this link.