This site was created at the Boston College Law Library to illuminate the life of Robert Morris, an often overlooked figure in American history, and to inspire further research into his life and contributions to the fight for equal rights. Morris had deep connections to Boston College in its earliest days; his personal library constituted an important part of the University's early collections and is now held by the John J. Burns Library, Boston College.
Much of the research presented here came out of a 2017 exhibit at the Law Library and a 2019 Law Library Journal article on Morris's books and his legacy as a lawyer and activist. For the exhibit, article, and website, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the communities and scholars who have kept Morris's memory alive since his death in 1882.
A Note on Language
We endeavored to be accurate, sensitive, and inclusive with terminology in this project. In an effort to avoid repetition, we often use the terms African American and Black interchangeably in instances where we understood both terms to be applicable. With regard to the language surrounding slavery, we embraced language that reflects the full humanity of the individuals subjected to that brutal institution. For example, we used “enslaved” in lieu of “slave” and “freedom seeker” as opposed to “fugitive slave.” Though there are varying positions on the issue, we made the decision to capitalize “White” alongside “Black” to avoid the suggestion that Whiteness is the default standard or norm. For two important sources that informed our decision, please see below:
- Kwame Anthony Appiah, “The Case for Capitalizing the B in Black.” The Atlantic, June 18, 2020.
- Ann Thúy Nguyễn and Maya Pendleton, “Recognizing Race in Language: Why We Capitalize ‘Black’ and ‘White.’” Center for the Study of Social Policy, March 23, 2020.
- Avi Bauer, Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communication Librarian
- Mary Sarah Bilder, Founders Professor of Law
- Laurel Davis, Legal Information Librarian & Lecturer in Law and Curator of Special Collections
- Nick Szydlowski, Scholarly Communications & Digital Scholarship Librarian at San José State University