University of Maryland students take up their school President's challenge and write a local history of slavery and its role in its founding. This is a serious work (only 48 pp, rtwt), with wonderful graphics, full of information and sober insights: The Declaration did have a great influence on freeing slaves. Did you know, though, that free blacks could not own dogs, but that they did own slaves?
The students conclude that their University had antebellum roots in both slavery and free labor policies. After the Civil War state segregation policies thwarted national policy, which was color-blind:
By the end of the 19th century, the Maryland Agricultural College had become the University of Maryland, a federal land-grant college. In 1890, new congressional legislation, the second Morrill Act [the first was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln], stipulated that there be no "distinction of race or color" in the use of funds the federal government supplied. However, the school's trustees, deeply committed to maintaining a racially exclusive institution, refused to accept black students at the College Park campus. Instead, they allocated one-fifth of the Morrill funds to the Princess Anne Academy on the Eastern Shore for the education of black students. Black students were no longer excluded from higher education in Maryland, but they were segregated and barred from the College Park campus.
Given the bad stuff we have seen coming out of the University, it is a relief to see some good work.