Residence Hall Digital Presentations
Beginning in the 2022 spring semester, a team of student, staff, and faculty researchers examined histories of enslavement, white supremacy, and racism relating to four campus residence halls: John Jay, Hartley, Furnald, and 50 Haven Avenue (formerly known as Bard Hall).
This work reflected our understanding of the significance of symbols and representations at Columbia – particularly, how the geography and history of the campus are experienced by those who live, work, study, and visit here. From the names on the buildings – including those of enslavers such as John Jay and Samuel Bard – to largely forgotten incidents of racial violence – such as a 1924 cross burning in protest of a Black student resident of Furnald Hall – Columbia’s campus encompasses complex connections to histories of enslavement and racism. Although many buildings on campus represent comparable histories, this initiative began with residence halls, believing that these spaces – which literally serve as homes to students during their time at Columbia – demanded priority.
The research team organized, and participated in, a series of webinars and in-person conversations, and worked to create digital historical presentations to be located within the four residence halls. This work was carried out by the Columbia University & Slavery Project and the Columbia University Libraries, with support from the Office of the Provost and the Office of the President and the assistance of numerous campus partners, including CUIT, Columbia Housing Services, CUIMC Housing Services, and Columbia Creative. Digital display panels were installed in the four residence halls in the spring semester of 2023, and the presentations – which are now on display in student lounges – can be viewed below.