Events & Programs

We Want Your Input

We would like to hear from members of the Columbia community about how they experience the histories of racism and enslavement in the built environment on our campuses, ideas for how these histories can be acknowledged in visible ways, and expressions of interest in assisting with this project, through historical research, art of design aspects for exhibits and displays, or community outreach.

The survey may be answered anonymously,

Samuel Bard's Legacy: Research from the Columbia University and Slavery Project

In August 2020, Columbia University announced the removal of Samuel Bard's name from the CUIMC residence hall at 50 Haven Avenue. Bard was a prominent physician in America in the 18th century, who had served as George Washington's doctor, and helped found New York Hospital and Columbia's first medical school. But he also was an enslaver who claimed ownership in at least a dozen people over the course of his life.

In this talk, Dr. Anne Taylor, Senior Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Career Development, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, and John Lindenbaum Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, hosts a panel of historians that includes Craig Steven Wilder, the Barton L. Weller Professor of History at MIT and the author of Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities; Thai Jones, the Lehman Curator for American History in Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library; and Josh Morrison, Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Columbia's Department of History. Professor Wilder is also a senior fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative, where he has served as a visiting professor, commencement speaker, and academic advisor. For more than a decade, the Bard Prison Initiative has given hundreds of men and women the opportunity to earn college degrees during their incarcerations in the New York State prison system.

This event was hosted and recorded on June 28, 2022.

Program on Columbia Residence Halls and Histories of Racism and Enslavement

In July 2020, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger called for all parts of Columbia to "challenge racism, its systems, and its consequences."  Columbia began a University-wide review, one area of which involves symbols and representations on campus -- particularly how the geography and history of the campus are experienced by those who live, work, study, and visit here.

From the names on the buildings – including enslavers such as John Jay and Samuel Bard – to largely forgotten incidents of racial violence, such as a 1924 cross burning in protest of a Black student resident — Columbia’s residence halls embody complex connections to histories of enslavement and racism.

In the coming year, a pilot project facilitated by the Libraries is planned for the installation of historical markers in select residence halls on campus to commemorate and discuss these events. 

The recording of this event features students, faculty, and staff involved in this work giving short presentations of our latest research findings followed by a discussion of proposals. The event was recorded live on April 28, 2022.