The report that follows represents the culmination of the committee’s work. It contains three sections, reflecting the different elements of the president’s charge. The first focuses on history, exploring different aspects of the University’s relationship to slavery. The second section looks beyond Brown to the problem of retrospective justice around the world. How have other institutions and societies dealt with the legacies of gross injustice – not only of slavery, but also of genocide, “ethnic cleansing,” and other crimes against humanity? In the final section, we turn to the slavery reparations debate in the United States, examining the contours of the current controversy as well as the issue’s deeper historical roots. In keeping with the president’s charge, our object is not to resolve the reparations debate but rather to illuminate questions and contexts that are often overlooked in public discussion today. As should by now be clear, the steering committee does not intend this report as the last word on the subject, but rather as the first words in a dialogue that we hope will continue on our campus and in our nation. Yet in the course of our research, we also reached certain conclusions. We share these at the end of the report, accompanied by a series of recommendations directed specifically at Brown University.
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