Tulane hosts ‘400 Years of Inequality’ in observance of slavery’s impact

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine will bring together scholars, activists and community members for a day-long event observing the 400-year anniversary of the beginning of slavery in America and exploring its lasting impact on inequalities for communities across the country.

The event, “400 Years of Inequality: Changing the Narrative,” will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, in the Diboll Auditorium, 1440 Canal St. It will feature a speaker series, a panel discussion about mass incarceration, local performers, an art exhibit and a documentary screening.

“This community event aims to encourage an open discussion surrounding the impact of slavery on the United States,” said Thomas LaVeist, dean of Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. “We hope that by commemorating 400 years of inequality, we can promote reconciliation and healing while joining the community in reaffirming our commitment to a future of equality.”

LaVeist and others recognized the importance of this anniversary in an American Journal of Public Health editorial, 400 Years of Inequality Since Jamestown of 1619proclaiming the significance of this observance and the call to schools of public health around the country to lead the charge in being a part of the solution to transforming systems of inequalities. 

In 1619, about 20 enslaved Africans were brought to Old Point Comfort in the English colony of Virginia. The event acted as a catalyst for the system of slavery to spread, fueling racial inequities that persist long after the institution was abolished.

A schedule of events is online at https://sph.tulane.edu/400.  

Tulane School of Public Health plans to hold additional events as part of the “400 Years of Inequality” series throughout the academic year.