Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, the leading provider of COVID-19 data, announced Wednesday that its founder owned slaves, contrary to the long-time narrative that Hopkins was a wealthy philanthropist and abolitionist.
Researchers Martha S. Jones and Allison Seyler uncovered the new information in government census records as they were on a quest to explore the university’s history. For more than a century, the long-held narrative of Hopkins, an abolitionist, whose father freed the family’s slaves in 1807, has recently come into question.
University President Ronald J. Daniels and other school officials published an open letter Wednesday saying the findings “complicate the understanding we have long had of Johns Hopkins as our founder.”
“We now have government census records that state Mr. Hopkins was the owner of one enslaved person listed in his household in 1840 and four enslaved people listed in 1850,” the letter said. “By the 1860 census, there are no enslaved persons listed in the household.”
“It calls to mind not only the darkest chapters in the history of our country and our city but also the complex history of our institutions since then, and the legacies of racism and inequity we are working together to confront,” the letter continued.
Watch: University President Ronald J. Daniels Addresses The Life of Johns Hopkins
Hopkins died in 1873 at age 78. As an entrepreneur and investor, he accumulated a massive amount of wealth that was used to establish a hospital, orphanage, and the university.
Officials said the researchers would continue to dig deeper to get a better picture of the founder’s past.
As more and more schools begin to confront their connection with slavery, such as Princeton and Georgetown, in the last couple of years, they also may consider how to make amends in a world overrun by social justice warriors.
It’s only a matter of time before social justice warriors target a monument to Johns Hopkins at the university.
All Hopkins needs to do at this point is to launch a new scholarship program for slave descendants for everyone to forget about the founder’s history.