Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

The Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (Simmons Center) at Brown University is a scholarly research center with a public humanities mission. 

Recognizing that racial slavery was central to the historical formation of the Americas and the modern world, the Simmons Center creates a space for the interdisciplinary study of the historical forms of slavery while also examining how these legacies continue to shape our contemporary world.  

Crowd during commencementSince its inception in 2012, the Center has organized hundreds of public programs to examine issues of social justice and racial equality, including the impact of anti-black racism on our nation’s educational systems, and racial segregation and its persistent structural legacies. As well we have paid attention to issues around contemporary human trafficking. As part of its mission to examine the history and legacies of slavery in ways that engage a broad public, the Simmons Center has built a global network of scholars, museums, and universities. The Center has initiated joint projects with universities and museums around the world and fostered relationships with high school educators across the nation. Through its research, exhibitions, convenings, and curriculum, the Center has become a leading institution for understanding how slavery’s legacy directly impacts all of our lives, yet is “hidden in plain sight.”

The Center's work is organized around a set of research clusters, projects, seminars, and public engagement initiatives that drive our scholarly and public humanities focus.
Visit us in our renovated 19th century house, which includes a gallery exhibition space, the stunning glass wall art piece Rising to Freedom, and a symbolic garden.
Embedded within the American social, political, and economic systems are various forms of structural violences. The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice's series This Is America explores how these structures and systems are rooted in anti-Black racism.

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