Tape defaces black professors’ Harvard Law portraits

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2015/11/19/tape-defaces-black-professors-harvard-law-portraits/

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:

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.

Contact Evan Lips at [email protected] or on Twitter at @evanmlips.