Harvard Law School Changes Shield, Sells Remaining Merchandise
Last week, Harvard Law School announced that the school will change its emblem due to the inclusion of a former slaveholder's family crest. The emblem, introduced in 1936, incorporates the school's motto and wheat sheaves, which are derived from the coat of arms of Isaac Royall Jr.'s family.
Royall, according to The Boston Globe, was the son of a slaveholder and was known to treat his slaves "with extreme cruelty." Royall's wealth helped the school establish its first law professorship in the 18th century.
"The Law School should have the opportunity to retire its existing shield and propose a new one.” https://t.co/AeblaJvEFD
— Harvard Law School (@Harvard_Law) March 14, 2016
Now, the The Boston Globe reported that Harvard University is removing all images of the former emblem from its website, and the Coop, the main retailer of Harvard University merchandise in Harvard Square, is selling off its remaining Harvard Law School inventory.
"Typically, when someone changes a mark, and there are T-shirts and sweatshirts and whatever, you have an opportunity to sell through all of that stuff," Jerry Murphy, president of the Coop, told The Boston Globe. "That's what we are planning on doing as of right now."
The controversy surrounding the crest came to a head in October 2015, when a group called Royall Must Fall brought attention to the symbol's ties to slavery. Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School, launched a committee to examine the use of the shield, which ended in a vote to discard the image. The university's governing board accepted that request today.
Francis X. McCrossan, dean for administration at Harvard Law School reportedly told official merchandise vendors to cease further production of items depicting the shield. The law school also formally has noticed Harvard University's office of trademark programs to withhold approval of any commercial designs that continue to use the shield.