Tape defaces black professors’ Harvard Law portraits
By Evan Lips | November 19, 2015, 19:08 EST
CAMBRIDGE – Harvard University police on Thursday began investigating whether strips of black tape placed over portraits of black Harvard Law School professors adorning a wall outside a lecture hall was merely vandalism or something more sinister.
Images of the taped-over portraits surfaced on social media Thursday morning, a day after dozens of student activists marched along Massachusetts Avenue to Porter Square to meet with fellow demonstrators from Tufts University in Medford as part of a rally to show solidarity with black activists on other campuses.
Harvard law student Jonathan Wall posted images of the taped-over portraits online via Twitter.com:
— the other one (@imfromraleigh) Nov. 19, 2015
Blavity.com, a multimedia site that describes itself as “the voice of black millennials,” later published an article written by a student:
“The defacing of the portraits of black professors this morning is a further reminder that white supremacy built this place, is the foundation of this place, and that we never have and still do not belong here,” wrote Michele Hall, a student who also referred to another student movement that seeks to scrub the Harvard Law seal of symbols taken from the family crest of Isaac Royall Jr., a Colonial-era slaveholder whose estate endowed the school at its founding.
Hours after reports about the defaced portraits appeared, Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow wrote in a campus-wide email that she felt “saddened and angered” by the act and invited students and faculty to a noon meeting Thursday.
How the tape got on the portraits is under investigation, according to a university police spokesman.
After the tape was removed, students began putting colorful Post-it notes inscribed with positive comments next to the pictures.
— Kendra Albert (@KendraSerra) Nov. 19, 2015