Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice
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On Thursday, October 19th, 2023, UNESCO, in partnership with Brown University, The University of the West Indies, and Liberty Hall (Jamaica), had the pleasure of hosting a groundbreaking dialogue on Sports and Racism at Liberty Hall, in Kingston, Jamaica, within the framework of the 4th Convening of the Cost of Racism Project.

As the discussion unfolded, Michael Holding, the renowned Jamaican sportsman, cricketer, and social justice advocate, engaged in a compelling conversation with Professor Anthony Bogues, the Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University, providing insight to the impact of racism on the life and careers of promising sportsmen and women and proposing how the issues of racism and discrimination could be overcome.
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Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Dreaming and acting in the spirit of Martin Luther King

In the Martin Luther King Lecture on October 9, 2023, at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Prof. Anthony Bogues called for taking as an example not the dreaming, but the radical Martin Luther King, and addressing the problems of our present time. ‘Action is what makes us stand out as human beings.’

Prof. Bogues is the inaugural director of the Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice at Brown University and is a visiting professor of African and African diaspora thought at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
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Trailblazer Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, the namesake for Brown University's Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, sits down with TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager to talk about her new memoir “Up Home” in which she shares her journey from poverty in the segregated South to becoming the first Black president of an ivy league university.
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The stage is set for a historic and controversial vote in the 35th Legislature today, during which lawmakers will consider whether to trade Whistling Cay to the National Park Service in exchange for a parcel of land in Estate Catherineberg for the purpose of building a public K-12 school on St. John. During that session, Hadiya Sewer, University of the Virgin Islands Scholar-In-Residence and Visiting Scholar in the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University, made a case for exploring other possibilities and referenced Malcolm X’s assertion that “land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice and equality.”
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The Philadelphia Citizen

ART FOR CHANGE: THE BLACK LIBERATIONIST

Arielle Julia Brown, 2015-2017 Public History of Slavery Graduate Fellow with the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and founder and director of Black Spatial Relics, supports performance artists whose art contends with slavery, freedom and justice.
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Since March 20, the experiences of five Latinx and Caribbean restaurateurs in Providence have been featured in the Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice along with the experiences of four other local restaurant owners. The common thread stringing the stories together: Each restaurant owner migrated to the United States with hopes of bringing a piece of their heritage along with them.

Titled “Serving a Plate Back Home: Migration Stories of Latinx and Caribbean Restauranteurs in Providence, R.I.,” the exhibition consists of an audio interview series and photo collection that “offers a glimpse into the personal journeys and intentions behind five restaurants that function as enclaves for Latinx and Caribbean communities in Providence,” according to the event’s website.
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Diverse: Issues In Higher Education

Brown Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice Celebrates 10 Years

When Brown University released its landmark 2006 report documenting the institution’s historical involvement in slavery, many of its recommendations were one-time fixes: revising the university’s official history, creating memorials, and the like. Some, however, required longer-term engagement, such as the creation of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (CSSJ), a research hub focusing on the history of slavery and its contemporary impacts.
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The Reimagining New England Histories: Historical Injustice, Sovereignty and Freedom project tells Black and Indigenous histories through publications, educational programming and exhibitions. Founded in 2021, the initiative is a grant-funded partnership between Williams College, Mystic Seaport Museum and the Brown Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice.
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The Class of 2021 graduate is working with Rhode Island’s Tomaquag Museum to index 1930s issues of a Native American magazine that sheds light on the lives of Indigenous people in New England and beyond.
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New York Times

How to Protect Massage Workers

Policing and criminalization of sex work hurts massage workers, even when they aren’t sex workers.

The shootings of Asian massage workers in Georgia this month have been framed as part of a surge of anti-Asian violence during the Covid-19 pandemic. But they’re also part of a longstanding problem: the violence against and the surveillance of migrant massage workers.

These women are vulnerable because of their race, their gender, their immigration status — and for the type of work they do. Asian massage parlors have long been a target of law enforcement and anti-trafficking organizations who see “illicit massage businesses” as loci of human trafficking.

Nearly all of these organizations have called for the increased surveillance and policing of massage businesses, and the result has been hundreds of raids across the country which have terrorized and criminalized massage workers. These systemic forms of violence cannot be divorced from the brutal killings of massage parlor workers in the Atlanta area on March 16.
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Brown University

Where Do We Go from Here?

A newly created research position is designed to shed light on some of the most deeply troubling elements of human history while exploring new ways of envisioning the future. Applications are currently being accepted for the two-year Historical Injustice and Democracy Postdoctoral Research Associate position, a joint project of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (CSSJ) and the Watson Institute—just one example of the growing relationship between the two, according to Edward Steinfeld, director of the Watson Institute.
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Brown University

Brown University’s Annual Financial Report for FY20

Annual Financial Report 2020
Like most institutions of higher education, Brown University faced enormous financial and operational challenges in Fiscal Year 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet despite the trying circumstances, Brown remains financially strong and fully committed to pursuing its ambitious plans for excellence.

The annual financial report offers an overview of the University’s financial statements, success in fundraising and investment performance. Covering Fiscal Year 2020, this year’s report highlights the ways in which the financial markets and growth of the economy created opportunities for excellent financial results for Brown, even in the midst of an unprecedented global health crisis.
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The struggles of those who survive epidemics do not end when they leave the hospital, said Adia Benton ’99, an associate professor of anthropology at Northwestern University.

At a talk hosted by the Simmons Center Tuesday, Benton discussed her experiences with survivors of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone — specifically, how the deadly disease brought the survivors new problems.
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Doctors on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis describe an unprecedented health emergency that has exposed the societal wounds among the poor and people of color that have persisted for centuries.
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Instead, universities have taken the lead on what they call reparative justice. Georgetown University apologized to descendants of slaves who were sold to pay school debts and recently pledged to raise $400,000 a year for programs to help those descendants. In October, Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey announced a nearly $28 million plan, including scholarships to descendants of enslaved Africans.
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For a scholar of public health like Professor Ronald Aubert, the work of the interdisciplinary CSSJ Race, Medicine, and Social Justice Research Cluster is of critical importance. The research cluster is conducting desperately needed research in the fields of public health,  probing how racism pervades medicine and how the racialization of medical “evidence” that guides clinical practice has largely been ignored.
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“At our core, we believe that human trafficking and labor exploitation are driven by a system of racialized global inequality, exacerbated by unequal development and excessively punitive policy that often govern border control,” explains Professor Elena Shih, the Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies and faculty leader of the CSSJ’s Human Trafficking Research Cluster.
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On the 400th anniversary of the start of slave trade in the British American colonies, students and faculty at Brown’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice are engaging in research for a PBS miniseries directed by renowned documentarian Stanley Nelson, hosting a two-day symposium on the lasting effects of slavery and more.
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“This is a different way of learning and engaging in history,” notes Professor Zach Sell of the work of the Atlantic Slave Trade Research Cluster. Since 2017, the Simmons Center has been engaged in an ongoing collaboration with Firelight Media to produce a groundbreaking, multi-part documentary series entitled Creating the New World: The Transatlantic Slave Trade.
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Although the destination has a reputation for being a bit melanin deficient, the historical presence of Black people in one of the first and pivotal slave states, is loaded with the contributions of the enslaved Africans that literally built the city of Providence and subsequently its textile industry.
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Immediately upon opening its doors in 2012, Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (CSSJ) launched a rich yearlong series of programs that asked critical questions about the trans-Atlantic slave trade, its legacies and ramifications for the present.
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Anthony Bogues, a professor at Brown University who studies the history and consequences of slavery, said American society is caught between countervailing forces: an increase in overt racism, including recent racist tweets from US President Donald Trump, on the one side, and greater efforts to come to terms with the nation's history of racism and legacy of slavery on the other.
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Elena Shih is interviewed by Thomas Thurston about her work on human trafficking rescue efforts and the politics of labor, gender, and sexuality on last week's Slavery and It's Legacies podcast, out of the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University.
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