Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Willa Johnson

Relational Format



The University of Mississippi was built using slaves, but the enslaved and their descendants were willfully denied admission to the university until forced desegregation in 1962. This interdisciplinary study employs a qualitative content analysis of antebellum university board of trustees and faculty minutes to investigate the benefits that slavery conferred to the university and the harms that slavery inflicted upon the campus enslaved. Analysis finds that slavery was a standard operation, that extrajudicial violence against slaves was a campus tradition, and that white supremacy was an institutional ideology at the University of Mississippi. This thesis integrates African American reparations literature with historical scholarship about U.S. colleges and universities’ investments in slave economies. Policy recommendations propose that the University of Mississippi supply slavery reparations by investing in Mississippi’s African American communities; and by educating the descendants of the enslaved, whom the university unjustly impoverished and mistreated.



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