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March 04, 2016

Harvard Law School's official shield contains the family shield of 18th century slave-owner Isaac Royall (Associated Press)

A committee at Harvard Law School has recommended the school change its official shield, which contains the family crest of 18th century slave-owner Isaac Royall.

Issac Royall left an endowment that helped establish Harvard Law School, and the school adopted the Royall family crest in 1936. But Royall was a slave-owner, and his family's fortune was built on slave labor.

Last November Law School Dean Martha Minow created a committee of faculty and students to research the shield and make a recommendation. In its report out Friday, the committee recommended retiring the shield.

Two members of the committee -- a student and a professor -- dissented with the recommendation, writing a separate brief on why the Law School should keep the shield.

Dean Minow says she endorses the recommendation to retire the shield, but the final decision will be made by the Harvard Corporation.

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