It has become an article of faith that American exceptionalism starts with our lack of a feudal past. Settled by sturdy farmers and righteous artisans, the story goes, we were spared the long, bloody transition to capitalism that marked European history. A broad commitment to popular government and Enlightenment values helped solidify the foundations of a middle-class republic whose pragmatism and ability to compromise guaranteed political stability and broad prosperity. This comforting account has served to introduce generations of Americans to the conviction that we are well on the way to overcoming the painful history of slavery.
Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities
NPR Choice page
Buy from other retailers. A groundbreaking exploration of the intertwined histories of slavery, racism, and higher education in America, from a leading African American historian. A report commissioned by Brown University revealed that institution's complex and contested involvement in slavery--setting off a controversy that leapt from the ivory tower to make headlines across the country. But Brown's troubling past was far from unique. In Ebony and Ivy , Craig Steven Wilder, a rising star in the profession of history, lays bare uncomfortable truths about race, slavery, and the American academy. Many of America's revered colleges and universities--from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to Rutgers, Williams College, and UNC--were soaked in the sweat, the tears, and sometimes the blood of people of color. Slavery funded colleges, built campuses, and paid the wages of professors.