“The gathering [at Harvard], which featured a keynote address by Ta-Nehisi Coates, drew an overflow crowd of about 500, including researchers from more than 30 campuses. Between sessions… one scholar was overheard saying that ‘something we’ve been talking about for 200 years has suddenly become urgent.’
“Alfred L. Brophy, a legal historian at the University of North Carolina and the author of ‘University, Court and Slave,’ a study of pro-slavery thought at antebellum Southern colleges, described what he called a ‘sea change’ in attitude.
“ ‘People who engaged in this research were once criticized, or had their jobs threatened, or were rejected by their administrations,’ he said in an interview. ‘Now the people doing this work are lifted up.’ ”
— From “Confronting Academia’s Ties to Slavery” by Jennifer Schuessler in the New York Times (March 5)