The University of the South has a new course offering, one that the professor says is unlike anything he’s done before: Students at Sewanee will study racial injustice and how their own university played a part in it.
Woody Register, the professor for Sewanee’s “Slavery, Race and the University” course, says one of many factors that led to it was the violence following demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., last year.
“The students themselves are deeply concerned about the university’s history,” Register says. “They want to know more about it. They want to understand more in light of the history of race in the United States.”
Students enrolled in the class will analyze primary sources and documents donated to the university archives that specifically address the school’s relationship to slavery and racism. One goal is to bring awareness to monuments scattered around the campus to the confederacy and slave-holding families.
Despite national controversy, sophomore Colton Williams, who is currently enrolled in the class, says he doesn’t know anybody who outright disagrees with it.
“People may disagree on what to do about it,” Williams says. “But I think most everyone agrees that it’s a worthy topic of study for a history course.”
Register and students just returned from a field trip to Atlanta where they met with classes from Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. Students from those historically black schools will visit the Sewanee campus in November.