Centre for Reparation Research Supports Antigua & Barbuda’s Call For Reparations from Harvard University


The Centre for Reparation Research (CRR) at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) acknowledges and stands in solidarity with Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s call for reparations from the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Prime Minister Browne in his letter, dated 30 October 2019 and addressed to the University’s president, Lawrence S. Bascow, called for reparations from the Law School as a means of recognizing and compensating for the stolen labour of enslaved Antiguans that led to the very establishment of Harvard’s Law School.

The Centre stands resolutely with the words of Prime Minister Browne, “Reparation is not aid; it is not a gift; it is compensation to correct the injustices of the past and restore equity. “

Harvard’s Law School was established in 1815, 25 years after the death of Isaac Royall Jr. who bequeathed, in his will, 800 acres of land to the Harvard College. Royall Jr. was born to enslaver and plantation owner, Isaac Royall Snr, in 1719, on their Antiguan sugar plantation. He and his father returned to Massachusetts in 1737, carrying with them enslaved Antiguans to labour on their lands in Massachusetts.

Following Royall Snr’s death, Royall Jr amassed the majority of his father’s wealth, including enslaved people and land in Antigua and Massachusetts. It is from this wealth that Royall Jr bequeathed his gift to Harvard College that set the foundation for the establishment of the Law School. It is also Royall’s namesake that the Law School’s “Royall Professorship” is named after.

According to Professor Verene Shepherd, Director of the Centre for Reparation Research at The University of the West Indies, “it is hoped that this bilateral action by Antigua/Barbuda will re-energise CARICOM Heads and cause them to commit anew to the project they started in 2013”. For, she cautioned, while Harvard and other educational institutions are confronting their past and trying to deal responsibly with their moral and economic obligation, the bigger call is on States that developed on the backs of kidnapped and enslaved Africans and created the environment in which universities could flourish with slavery gains. Such States have so far remained unmoved by the demand for reparatory justice for their colonial wrongs and CARICOM will have to find a way to bring them to the negotiating table”.



  1. I fully support the concept of reparations. States, institutions and descendants of families who were slaves owners and or benefited from stolen wages and inhuman has no reason to come to the table. The arguments presented as well as the strategies being pursued will result in token and jesters at best.
    CARICOM needs to build institutional standing for it has none among powerful interest and the international media.

Comments are closed.