William & Mary, as a public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and an institution built by and tended by enslaved Africans and their descendants since our founding in 1693, must acknowledge our history and respond to it as a community.
In this year of 2019, we mark the four-hundred-year anniversary of the arrival of the first captive Africans in Virginia with an array of projects focused on remembrance: the Lemon Porch Talks, the Lemon Project Symposium in March, the tenth biennial conference of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) in November, and our commitment to erect a Memorial to the Enslaved on campus. Other significant events include: Universities Studying Slavery (USS) Consortium, the International Forum on the Future of Representative Democracy, the COLL 300 Fall 2019 theme of “Movement/Migration”, and our close partnership with Norfolk State University and Hampton University with the Making of America Summit. Together, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, staff, and community members will gather and work together to learn from the past so that we may build a better future.
The Board of Visitors have passed two important resolutions concerning William & Mary's role in slavery, discrimination and exclusion. In April 2009, the Board adopted a resolution that acknowledged William & Mary's role in slavery and Jim Crow and established "The Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation." In April 2018, the Board adopted a resolution in which they acknowledged that William & Mary enslaved people, exploited them and their labor, and perpetuated the legacies of racial discrimination. The Board profoundly regretted these activities and apologized for them. They also acknowledged the important work of the Lemon Project and recognized the continuing need to examine and learn from William & Mary's role in slavery, session and segregation.