Johns Hopkins, patron of namesake hospital and university, owned slaves

Hopkins died in 1873 and left $7 million in his will to fund training colleges, hospitals, universities, and orphanages

Loading the player...

School officials disclosed that Johns Hopkins, the 19th-century businessman with a university and hospital named after him, owned slaves.

According to the Washington Post, the “entrepreneur with Quaker roots” owned at least five slaves before the Civil War. Newly discovered reports show Hopkins held one person as property in 1840 and four people in 1850.

“The fact that Mr. Hopkins had, at any time in his life, a direct connection to slavery — a crime against humanity that tragically persisted in the state of Maryland until 1864 — is a difficult revelation for us, as we know it will be for our community, at home and abroad, and most especially our Black faculty, students, staff, and alumni,” three Hopkins leaders wrote in a joint message.

They added, “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.”

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Read More: Maryland CEO paid $1.5 million in bribes to get sons in Harvard, prosecutors say

Hopkins died in 1873 and left $7 million in his will to fund training colleges, hospitals, universities, and orphanages. At the time it was the largest philanthropic contribution in history.

Hopkins legacy is celebrated every Christmas Eve, the day of his death, at his gravesite in Maryland.

It is unclear how his legacy will be celebrated based on the new revelations about his life.

Read More: Clemson University finds over 600 unmarked graves, likely belonging to slaves, on campus

“This year, so many of us at Johns Hopkins have taken pride in being affiliated with our colleagues in medicine and public health who have brilliantly confronted the coronavirus pandemic,” wrote Martha S. Jones, a professor of history at Hopkins for The Washington Post.

She continues, “That pride, for me, now mixes with bitterness. Our university was the gift of a man who traded in the liberty and dignity of other men and women.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...