Sculptor Martin Puryear has committed an act of genius by finding a common thread of humanity in the caustic legacy of domestic slavery (“Slavery,” Elms, November/December). That said, by harping on Brown’s past connections to slavery, activists are promoting a horrific institution (slavery, not Brown) as the defining narrative of the University’s founding: black slavery by racist whites.

That is a willful distortion which ignores the much larger (if unfashionable) story of abolition, itself a considerably more accurate revelation of any enduring American ethos. Worldwide abolition is one of the finest chapters in American (and British) history. University founders Nicholas and Moses Brown were prominent and outspoken early abolitionists.

Andrew K. Gabriel ’76
South Pasadena, Calif.