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Archival Resources: Commission on Race and Slavery

A consolidated view of digitized materials and collections related to facts presented in the Report of the Commission on Race and Slavery, 2020.

About the Commission on Race and Slavery

As explained on the official Commission on Race and Slavery college webpage, this body was "convened to assist the college community in building a comprehensive understanding of the college's history. The Commission guided the development and launch of research projects and additional teaching and learning initiatives through which the Davidson community investigated and acknowledged the college's history with slavery and race as well as its historical relationships with African American communities."

In August 2020, the Commission released their final report which included a timeline of the college’s relationship to systemic racism and the presence and contributions of Black people at Davidson College since its founding. This guide is designed to surface the materials related to those timeline facts while also providing context for events and persons beyond those mentioned in the report.

Appendix 16, Project 87 of the BSC

Appendix 16 of the Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Concerns, also known as Project 87.

Davidson College in the Forties by Jethro Rumple

Jethro Rumple, class of 1850, reflects on life in Davidson in the 1840s. Later in the document, Rumple discusses the work of Esom, the college president's "body servant."

Third page of the 1988 BSC newsletter

This is the third page of an edition of the Rainbow Revue, a newsletter from the Black Student Coalition. Note the reference to the Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Concerns.

1863 Sermon by Robert Zenas Johnston

A selection from a July 1863 sermon delivered by Rev. Robert Zenas Johnston. Note the language used at the height of the Civil War.

Typescript of a Jan 7 1864 letter by Mary Gibson

Typescript of a January 7, 1864 letter by Mary Gibson describing the purchase of enslaved people in the Carolinas during the Civil War.

Advisory Statement

This site contains materials originally published in yearbooks, newspapers, and other Davidson College publications. You may encounter upsetting racist, oppressive, and outdated representations in these documents. They are included for historical accuracy and do not represent the views of the current Davidson College community, which honors the dignity of all persons and commits itself to a quest for truth and the building of a more just and humane future. 

Davidson College Library Research Guides are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Mailing Address: Davidson College - E.H. Little Library, 209 Ridge Road, Box 5000, Davidson, NC 28035