University of Mississippi Slavery Research Group

The University of Mississippi

Henry

Henry or Harry was an enslaved man owned by a University of Mississippi professor of Latin and Modern Languages Wilson Gaines Richardson. Henry likely worked in one or more of the stables reserved for faculty on the campus of the University of Mississippi. Henry may have driven a horse and carriage for Professor Richardson or other faculty when they made the short trip into town.

When Chancellor Barnard came under scrutiny during a board of trustees meeting for taking the word of an African American female slave over a white male student, Barnard appealed to Professor Richardson for support with a hypothetical involving Henry. “If your servant Henry were to tell you he had seen a certain student take your horse or saddle from your stable,” Barnard asked Richardson,“would you not believe him?” Professor Richardson responded that he would not trust Henry “over the word of a white man.”

In addition to appearing in the proceedings related to the enslaved woman Jane’s rape by a University of Mississippi student, Henry also appears in the Board of Trustees minutes and the Faculty Minutes. In the latter he is referred to as Harry.

See University of Mississippi, Record of the Testimony and Proceedings in the Matter of the Investigation by the Trustees of the University of Mississippi, on the 1st and 2nd of March, 1860, of the Charges made by H. R. Branham, against the Chancellor of the University (Jackson, Miss.: Mississippi Office, 1860), [page number needed]; Journal of the Minutes of the Board of Trustees of the University of Mississippi, 1845–1860 Florence E. Campbell transcription, 394–409 [double check page number range], Archives and Special Collection, J. D. Williams Library, University of Mississippi; Faculty Minutes, Folder 4, 174–178, Archives and Special Collections, J. D. Williams Library, University of Mississippi.

Profile written by Anne Twitty