Findings show founder William Barton Rogers possessed enslaved persons before coming to MIT; research, community dialogue to ensue:
“MIT was founded in 1861 and began offering classes in 1865, just as the U.S. Civil War was ending the era of legal slavery in the South. But even as the Institute emerged in a new historical period, it bore marks of that older era as well.
“Our founder was a slave owner,” says Craig Steven Wilder, the Barton L. Weller Professor of History at MIT and a leading expert on the links between universities and slavery. Given how often such institutions drew personnel and material support from wealthy families that had profited from slavery, “people shouldn’t be surprised that MIT has these connections,” Wilder notes.
“I think that by looking at MIT’s ties to slavery, what you start to see is the centrality of slavery to the rise of the United States and its institutions,” Wilder adds…”