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A collaborative project of faculty and students studying the legacies of Indigenous & African slavery and the founding of Brigham Young University, as well as campus histories of race and ethnicity.

Please join us on Friday, February 16, from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM for an all-day conference.

View the full schedule of speakers here.

2024 Truth and Reconciliation Poster.jpg

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Project Origins and Student Research

Established in 2020, the BYU Slavery Project began as an effort to document, clarify, and better understand the connections between individuals affiliated with Brigham Young Academy and Brigham Young University in the late nineteenth century. It began with a research seminar in which 13 students conducted original research on a variety of subjects related to the project’s original scope. Subsequent groups of students followed up and expanded on that research. Based on those findings, the project has grown in size and scope. In addition to detailing the connections of individuals like Brigham Young and Abraham Smoot to chattel slavery in the nineteenth century, students have studied the broader history of slavery in territorial Utah and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the place of race and slavery in early BYA/BYU curriculum, and the historical experiences of students of color at the university.


Read about the origins of the BYU Slavery Project in former BYU student and project research associate Grace Soelberg's article in the Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 9, Number 1, 2022.

View a panel of BYU students presenting on their research at a conference at Emory University

The BYU Slavery Project: Student-Centered Research and the Work of Anti-Racism in History Education

This website is currently under development. Once completed, it will be used to share with the public the findings of the student researchers and to make available sources and resources related to the subject.

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With support from the following Brigham Young University entities:

  • College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences
  • Department of History
  • Charles Redd Center for Western Studies