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Halifax’s University of King’s College to examine possible links to slavery

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One of Canada’s oldest universities is embarking on a scholarly inquiry to examine its possible connections with slavery in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The study by the University of King’s College in Halifax will include original and independent research by Canadian and U.S. scholars, and is expected to be completed by early 2019.

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University president William Lahey says the idea is to examine King’s past in an open and honest way in order to make the school as welcoming as it can to people of diverse communities – including those from the African Nova Scotian community.

Kings was founded in 1789 by Loyalists, and Lahey says the school is a successor to King’s College in New York City, which became Columbia University.

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He says Columbia recently published research showing how its predecessor was implicated with slavery and it’s important for the Nova Scotia university to follow up on that work.

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Lahey says the timing is right given that another Halifax school, Dalhousie University, recently announced a panel to examine its founder’s record on slavery and race as part of marking its bicentennial.