Johns Hopkins, the founding father of the Baltimore analysis college and hospital who was was lengthy believed to be a staunch and early abolitionist, owned slaves, the establishment introduced Wednesday.
Census information lately uncovered throughout analysis checklist Hopkins as proudly owning a number of slaves within the mid-1800s.
“We now have authorities census information that state Mr. Hopkins was the proprietor of 1 enslaved individual listed in his family in 1840 and 4 enslaved folks listed in 1850,” college President Ronald J. Daniels; Paul B. Rothman, dean of medical school; and Kevin W. Sowers, president of the Johns Hopkins Well being System, wrote in a letter to the Johns Hopkins group. “By the 1860 census, there are not any enslaved individuals listed within the family.”
It had been lengthy thought that Hopkins’ father freed the household’s slaves in 1807, they wrote. It’s now much less clear if that was the case and whether or not Johns Hopkins was an abolitionist.
Johns Hopkins College was America’s first analysis college, and it has been acknowledged and relied upon for a undertaking to trace and supply info surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hopkins based the college by means of a multi-million greenback bequest after his loss of life.
The philanthropist left $7 million in his will to open a hospital, orphanage and college; on the time it was the most important philanthropic bequest within the nation’s historical past.
The information had been uncovered as a part of a analysis undertaking, and the undertaking’s staff realized in late spring concerning the attainable existence of the 1850 census doc exhibiting Hopkins as a slaveholder, the varsity officers mentioned.
The directors referred to as for extra analysis to ascertain a clearer image of Hopkins’ life. There isn’t any complete biography, and his private papers are thought to have been destroyed earlier than his loss of life or misplaced all of the sudden.
The earlier narrative of Hopkins as an early abolitionist is generally from a ebook that additionally mentioned his father freed their slaves and was written by Hopkins’ grandniece Helen Thom and revealed in 1929, the varsity officers mentioned — they usually admitted the college believed that with out totally investigating the claims. Hopkins died in 1873.
However the analysis by Martha S. Jones and Allison Seyler “finds no proof to substantiate Thom’s description of Johns Hopkins as an abolitionist,” the college’s message to the group says.
“They’ve been unable to doc the story of Johns Hopkins’ dad and mom liberating enslaved folks in 1807, however they’ve discovered a partial liberating of enslaved folks in 1778 by Johns Hopkins’ grandfather, and likewise continued slaveholding and transactions involving enslaved individuals for many years thereafter,” Wednesday’s message says.
Jones, a historical past professor on the college, wrote in an op-ed revealed in The Washington Publish on Wednesday that Thom’s account of Hopkins was “a set of reminiscences that erased her uncle’s function in slaveholding.”
“This 12 months, so many people at Johns Hopkins have taken delight in being affiliated with our colleagues in drugs and public well being who’ve brilliantly confronted the coronavirus pandemic,” Jones wrote. “That delight, for me, now mixes with bitterness. Our college was the present of a person who traded within the liberty and dignity of different women and men.”
However, she wrote, “displacing fantasy with historic reality is tough however obligatory.”
The college officers mentioned that they do not know the names, circumstances or relationships of the enslaved folks within the uncovered census information. They mentioned it additionally not clear why in 1860 his family was listed as now not having any slaves.
Particulars concerning the lives of these enslaved are amongst a number of questions raised by the analysis, they wrote.