Slavery

Harvard University Widener Library
#181

Harvard’s Legacy of Slavery in Cambridge, Massachusetts

USA

By Contested Histories Initiative September, 2022

In the past decade, Harvard University has taken great strides to acknowledge the legacy of slavery on campus. Slavery provided an impetus for the creation of resources at Harvard, and several enslaved Black and Indigenous individuals of former university presidents even resided on campus at specific points. Centuries later, Harvard… Read More

Old Slave Market in Lagos
#130

Old Slave Market in Lagos

Portugal

By Contested Histories Initiative

Hiding in plain sight in Lagos’ central square lies the Antigo Mercado de Escravos, the Old Slave Market, which hosts a unique museum. The building is situated in the square–formerly a beach–where enslaved people would once have been bought and sold, along with other goods such as ivory and Malagueta… Read More

van Riebeecks wild almond hedge in Cape Town
#139

Van Riebeeck’s Hedge in Cape Town

South Africa

By Contested Histories Initiative

Jan van Riebeeck arrived at Cape of Good Hope in 1652. His mission was to create a station for the Dutch East India Company’s ships. This meant colonising the lands inhabited by the Khoikhoi. To keep them from accessing his land, van Riebeeck planted a wild almond hedge. The hedge… Read More

Jose Miguel Gomez Monument in La Habana
#281

José Miguel Gómez Statue in La Habana

Cuba

By Contested Histories Initiative

José Miguel Gómez was a celebrated military general who led Cuban forces during the wars of independence against Spain in the 19th century and served as Cuba’s second president between 1909 and 1913. The monument was first inaugurated in 1936. The statue has consistently been a source of contention. It… Read More

Jan Pieterszoon Coen Hoorn
#235

Jan Pieterszoon Coen Statue in Hoorn

The Netherlands

By Contested Histories Initiative

Nicknamed the ‘Slaughterer of Banda,’ the figure of Jan Pieterszoon Coen has become increasingly contested in recent years. The statue of Jan Pieterszoon Coen in Hoorn has been a disputed monument since its unveiling in 1893. The statue has been smeared with red paint and graffiti numerous times in the… Read More

Plaque from Minneapolis Park & Recreation for Lake Calhoun Bde Maka Saka
#213

Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis

USA

By Contested Histories Initiative

In 2015, a citizen advisory committee including several Indigenous activists proposed that ‘Lake Calhoun’—christened for John C. Calhoun, antebellum politician, slavery advocate, and proponent of the Indian Removal Act—be restored to its original Dakota place name, ‘Bde Maka Ska’, meaning ‘White Earth Lake’. What followed was a contentious legal battle… Read More