On August 23, 2021, an event occurred that students and teachers of Harvard Law School (HLS) have been waiting for more than five years. On this day, the leadership of the school of law finally announced a change in the institution’s emblem, which duplicated the family coat of arms of Isaac Royal, Jr., the founder of the school who was also a cruel slave owner. His family became rich through slave labor in the 18th century. This family is known for its cruelty towards people. The surviving documents confirm the constant torture and killings carried out by the family, including information about the murder of 77 blacks who tried to escape from the reed plantations, unable to withstand the difficult inhuman working conditions and the burning of 88 slaves for trying to raise an uprising.
The growing worldwide movement, associated with the requirement to respect the equality of all peoples, regardless of their skin color, is especially active in student educational institutions. Harvard Law School staff and students supported black activists at Yale, Missouri, outraged by the mockery of portraits of black teachers. This action led to the decision, made back in 2016, to write off the old symbol from all types of documentation, website, advertising, which was never followed – the shield of the slave-owning family even continued to be at the entrance doors of the educational institution.
Now justice has been restored. To create a new visual identity, Harvard Law School conducted a massive survey of students, staff, educators, and alumni about how they see the school’s new logo. Based on the consultations carried out by the working group of the school, a version of the logo was adopted for revision by the designers, which retained the historical spirit and essence of the oldest school in America, paying tribute to the services to the country of its best graduates for more than 200 years of history.
The logo has retained the shape of the shield and the top strip with the word “veritas” printed on three open books. A tape with the Latin phrase “lex et iustitia” has been added under this strip. The rest ¾ of the coat of arms, where the symbols of the slave-owning family were previously placed – 3 separately linked sheaves were occupied by a composition of arched elements, symbolizing the architectural feature of the largest halls institution – Austin and Hauser.
The new emblem, distinguished by its simplicity and elegance, makes it possible to appreciate the complexity of the tasks that the teaching staff solve in the preparation of educated and competent people in society. The logo successfully conveys the diversity and boundlessness, strength, and energy present in the united and cohesive HLS community.