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Anthony Foxx will lead commission examining Davidson College’s link to slavery

The former Charlotte Mayor and Davidson College graduate will play a major role in selecting members of the commission, the school said.

U.S. President Barack Obama listens to Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx after naming him to replace Ray LaHood as U.S. Transportation Secretary, April 29, 2013. Larry Downing/Reuters


Davidson College has named Anthony Foxx to lead a new commission that will examine the school’s ties to slavery.

Foxx, a former Charlotte Mayor and 1993 Davidson graduate, will play a major role in selecting members of the school’s Commission on Race and Slavery, the school announced Friday. Foxx also served as secretary transportation under the Obama administration.

Davidson officials announced the commission in September as some U.S. colleges and universities were re-examining the role slavery paid in their founding and as a growing number of cities were debating the fate of Confederate monuments.

The debate over America’s slavery-linked history gained momentum last August when far-right extremists and neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Va. – an event that turned violent and led to the killing on counter protestor.

Davidson President Carol Quillen described the commission’s work as “even more urgent” after recent events “cast a spotlight on hatred that runs squarely against Davidson’s values and the nation’s promise.”

Davidson was founded in 1837 by Presbyterians.

Foxx, who recently took a job with a New York-based developer, said the commission’s initial mission will be to develop a framework for asking questions to better understand the school’s past.

“I am even more proud of Davidson College today than I have ever been—for having the courage to look in the mirror and attempt to understand itself through the prism of history,” he said in a statement.

The commission will include students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, Davidson said. Foxx will work with faculty, staff and students to develop a curriculum and programs that further the commission’s work.

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