With VCU's full support, in 2021, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation (HB1980) focused on Virginia’s five oldest colleges and universities – including VCU – researching their historical involvement with slavery to:
- Identify and memorialize the enslaved individuals who were forced to perform labor for those institutions
- And provide a tangible benefit for individuals or communities with connections to enslaved labor to break cycles of poverty
VCU commissioned a national expert to lead our efforts to more fully understand the Medical College of Virginia’s connections to the institution of slavery. The results of the report, which indicated that MCV was built and operated using the labor of enslaved people, were presented to VCU's Board of Visitors in December 2022.
In Spring 2023, Project Gabriel: President's Special Commission on Slavery and Justice was formed to evaluate this report and its findings, and determine a path forward. Leveraging insights from students, faculty/staff and the greater community, the Commission will report back to the Board of Visitors with final recommendations by the end of the fall 2023 academic year.
Based on the findings of the December 17, 2022 report on Slavery and the Medical College of Virginia, the Commission is charged with recommending to the Administration and Board of Visitors of VCU specific ways in which the institution should:
(i) identify and memorialize, to the extent possible, all enslaved individuals who labored on former and current institutionally controlled grounds and property and
(ii) provide a tangible benefit such as a college scholarship or community-based economic development program for individuals or specific communities with a demonstrated historic connection to slavery that will empower families to be lifted out of the cycle of poverty.