Since the uprising at the University of Missouri led to the resignation of the president, protests have been sweeping across college campuses in the U.S. as students of color flood administration buildings and university quads to make their concerns known.

Wednesday, students at dozens of colleges took part in #StudentBlackOut to demand their respective universities do more to further the cause of racial justice. Since then, several others have joined the call.

After demonstrations at Harvard University, students of the university’s hallowed law school woke up to something disturbing–the portraits of Black law school professors were defaced.

Michelle Hall, a second year law school student, explains how seeing the pictures made her feel.

The portraits of black professors, the ones that bring me and so many other black students feelings of pride and promise, were defaced. Their faces were covered with a single piece of black tape, crossing them out of Harvard Law School’s legacy of legal scholarship. Their faces were slashed through, X-ing them out, marking them as maybe unwanted or maybe unworthy or maybe simply too antithetical to the legacy of white supremacy on which Harvard Law School has been built. Harvard Law School was, after all, founded with the money from the sale of over 100 Antiguan enslaved people (because they were not slaves but people who were brutally and inhumanely enslaved) by the Royall family. To this day, the Royall family crest is the seal for Harvard Law School, and their legacy of white supremacy drips from every corner of the campus, like the blood of the 77 enslaved people murdered after a slave revolt on the Royall plantation. The defacing of the portraits of black professors this morning is a further reminder that white supremacy built this place, is the foundation of this place, and that we never have and still do not belong here.

While disturbing, Hall says this latest example of racism will only inspire more students to speak out.

This morning at Harvard Law School we woke up to a hate crime. And tomorrow you will wake up to a hate crime on your campus too. And they — the cowards who deface the portraits of black professors, who hang nooses in front of black dorms, who draw swatstikas with human feces — want for that to be the end of the story. But we, black students on campus, are not afraid of what you do under the covers of darkness and hatred and cowardice. We will march and scream and sit in and walk out and shout our demands and make ourselves heard and tear down these hallways of white supremacy because we belong here too.

And she’s right.

An emergency meeting was called at Harvard to discuss student concerns and foster dialogue. However, many say the issues go way beyond any one particular incident of racism.

Kendra Albert, a student at Harvard Law shared many of the insights she heard in the meeting on Twitter.

While universities grapple with the concerns of students of color, it’s clear that more and more they will be held accountable for how they respond.

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  • Me

    With all these protests, it looks like black youth are trying to “take this country back”. The next 20 years will look very different for our community thanks to them. I hope it’s longlasting improvement.

  • [email protected]

    The young people are right in saying that we won’t be intimidated. We won’t be intimidated by cowardly racists and other jealous people who are really intimidated by the intellectual strength of black people. We will not back down. The movement of the youth to advance racial justice is inspirational and it is necessary. The youth are not only protesting in colleges and other areas of America. They are making real demands for change. With their actions, the future is in safe hands. In every generation, there will always be a group of black people who will stand up for justice not acquiescence to evil. These young people are eloquent, strong, and determined.

    #Black Lives Matter.