Reckoning on Campus

How the “Hard Histories” project exploded an abolitionist myth.


Episode Notes

The murder of George Floyd prompted a number of American colleges and universities to reckon with their historic roles in slavery. Three years later, many institutions have abandoned those efforts. One that’s still going strong is the Hard Histories Project at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by historian Martha Jones, the director of that effort. The scholars associated with the project have uncovered many challenging truths, including evidence that the founder of Johns Hopkins—widely hailed as an abolitionist—owned slaves.

Guest: Historian Martha Jones, Director of the Hard Histories Project at Johns Hopkins University

Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola


About the Show

America doesn’t need another conversation about race. At least, not the kind we’ve been having … the ones that are sparked by a crisis and move quickly from shock to empty promises to forgetting. No. What America needs are REAL conversations about race—ones that shine a light on the facts, the history, and the reality of how race plays out in our politics and society. That’s what Slate offers each week on A Word … with Jason Johnson. A veteran political commentator, Johnson will bring his incisive wit to thoughtful discussions with leaders, journalists, and other change-makers who will tell the truth about America’s challenges around race and offer ideas on the way forward.

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