The Working Group on the Influence of Slavery on AU’s Founding was formed in 2018. Members of the Working Group conducted preliminary research to identify the history of American University's land, landowners, and connections to slavery. In August 2018, the Working Group released a Report and an Influence of Slavery on American University timeline to share their findings.
In 2020, in response to recommendations made by the first group and community stakeholders, the group was reformed with a larger charge: the Histories and Legacies of Slavery and Settler Colonialism at AU and in Washington D.C. This group is working on a number of different initiatives:
While we have discovered and documented a great deal about the ways in which this campus and people and groups associated with it have participated in, benefited from, and resisted against structural racism and settler colonialism, there’s still work to do--especially concerning more recent campus history. We are hoping to involve the entire campus community in this effort.
This subject guide represents one of the Working Group's efforts to make research available to the campus community. Each section of this guide lists the resources gathered by the Working Group, focusing on the history of slavery and its legacies at American University. Members of the Working Group are in the process of developing a more comprehensive subject guide of Indigenous D.C. and American University.
This subject guide was compiled by public history fellow Mia Owens based on the research of Dr. Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska, Kimberly Oliver, and Leslie Nellis.