The President of the United States and half of the sitting Supreme Court justices went to Harvard Law School while its official seal was a coat of arms from a family (the Royalls) that helped found the law school. The seal read VERITAS — “truth” in Latin — a noble pursuit indeed. But the truth is that in the 19th century the Royall family owned slaves — and they helped found Harvard Law School with money derived from slave labor. Now the next generation of elite legal minds will look at a different truth. Harvard Law School has responded to activists and ditched the controversial seal.
In March Harvard Law School’s Dean, Martha Minnow, wrote in a statement “that the Harvard Corporation will retire the image and trademark of the shield for Harvard Law School adopted in 1936.” After describing the process that led to Harvard’s decision to remove the seal, Minnow concluded: “We cannot choose our history but we can choose that for which we stand. Above all, we rededicate ourselves to the hard work of eradicating not just symbols of injustice but injustice itself.”