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UIC Strips Chief Justice Name From Law School Over Slave Ownership

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The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is removing the name of John Marshall, the longest-serving US Supreme Court chief justice, from its law school after confirming his active role in the slave trade. 

The Board of Trustees voted 6-1 for the name change following a month-long review conducted by a university task force. Beginning on July 1, the UIC John Marshall Law School will be changed to the UI-Chicago School of Law.

UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said in a written statement that the task force recommendation came after a thorough process that gathered input from “all corners of the institution and beyond.” After careful deliberation, it was decided that Marshall’s name would be inappropriate for the school, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The law school faculty senate and members are also in favor of the name change.

Tainted Legacy

The task force submitted a report in February identifying Marshall’s legacy as significant, but after discovering that he was a slave trader that owned hundreds of slaves and supported pro-slavery jurisprudence, removing his name from UIC campus was the right call. 

“The name of the school has changed, but it doesn’t erase its proud history or the impact of its faculty, alumni and students,” said UIC law school dean Darby Dickerson

“As Chicago’s first and only public law school, our mission continues to center on academic excellence, diversity, student success and bettering the lives of the people of Chicago and beyond,” she added. 

UIC merged with the John Marshall Law School in 2019. As part of the agreement, the university agreed to retain “John Marshall Law School” in the name for a period of five years. The trustees’ vote was required to officially amend the merger and allow the revision to happen soon.

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