Human Rights

Harvard Might Change Law School's Seal That's Linked To Slavery

A Harvard Law School committee recommended getting rid of the seal as an official symbol.

Harvard Might Change Law School's Seal That's Linked To Slavery
Richard Howe / CC BY 2.0

Harvard Law School committee recommended removing the school's seal as an official symbol because of its ties to slavery.

The seal features the family crest of the Royalls, a family who owned slaves and gave an important endowment to the law school in the late 18th century.

The committee's recommendation comes shortly after Harvard dropped the name "masters" to refer to faculty overseeing residential halls because of the term's association with slave holders.

At the law school, the main group pushing to change the shield started organizing in October. The group, Royall Must Fall, is also trying to reform curriculum and other symbols.

The recommendation represents a big win for student activists, but it wasn't unanimous.

The Harvard Crimson reports two members of the committee argued to keep the seal as an "honest" reminder of the school's connection to slavery.

The Harvard Corporation, one of Harvard's governing boards, still has to make its decision before the seal can be changed.

This video includes clips from Harvard Law SchoolHarvard UniversityRichard Howe / CC BY 2.0 and Abi Skipp / CC BY 2.0.