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Legacy of slavery investigation announced

Jesus College has announced a Legacy of Slavery Working Party (LSWP) bringing together academics and students - together with external members - to investigate historic links the College may have to the slave trade.

The first meeting will take place on Monday 8 July. An interim LSWP report will be published in the 2019/2020 academic year, outlining findings of investigations into how Jesus College:

  • may have historically benefited from slavery and coerced labour through donations and bequests
  • may have contributed to scholarship that underpinned slavery between the 18th and 20th centuries
  • can acknowledge past links to slavery.

The LSWP’s work will run separately to, but in parallel with, the University of Cambridge Legacy of Slavery Inquiry (LSI). Senior College officers have been in contact with both the Vice Chancellor and University’s Advisory Group Chair to offer full support to the LSI, including opening the College archives to researchers.

Following the conclusion of the LSI, expected in 2021, a full LSWP report will be published considering ways for the College to:

  • publicly acknowledge any past links to slavery.
  • explore reparative justice and consider the memorialisation and use of the names of donors known to have been involved in the slave trade.
  • engage members of the College and wider community with issues surrounding slavery.
  • address the impact of the conclusions of the LSI on Jesus College.

Professor James Clackson, Vice-Master of Jesus College, said: “There has been careful consideration about how to engage in a rigorous examination of our College’s possible links with the slave trade. We are committed to the full and proper investigation of this important issue.”

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