So Harvard Law School is purging its Shield, because the Shield honored a donor who came from family which had owned slaves, back before that hideous institution was ended by our Civil War. Why stop there? Why not really “clean house?” Is getting rid of the old Law School Shield as a symbol of Isaac Royall’s slave-holding- related wealth really enough? Wouldn’t it be appropriate for HLS to clear its institutional conscience by renouncing everything connected to the Royall family, and to the sin of slavery?
Clearly, HLS should calculate the value of the original gift, compounded at, say, three per cent per annum, and adjusted for inflation. Then track down Mr. Royall’s descendants, and insist that they take this filthy lucre, even if they resist.
William O. Sumner
’54, JD ‘59 Phoenix