Harvard Moves Beyond Portraits of White Men

November 8, 2010

Harvard University has been engaged in a project to diversify the subjects of the many oil portraits that hang in libraries and various other public spaces at the university, The Boston Globe reported. A 2002 inventory found that of 750 such portraits, 690 were of white men, only two were of minority individuals, and the rest were of white women -- generally the wives of presidents, members of benefactors' families, or Radcliffe College professors. In recent years, 10 new portraits of minority individuals linked to Harvard have been added to the collection. The latest, unveiled Friday, is of Chester Pierce, a 1948 Harvard graduate who for many years was a professor of psychiatry and education and who is believed to have been the first black college student to play a football game at an all-white Southern university (the University of Virginia). A Globe slide show features some of the other portraits recently added to Harvard's collection.

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