Reckoning with Organizational History

Jun 14, 2021 |
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Over the last few years, organizations across the United States—including corporations, universities, and nonprofits like the American Academy of Arts & Sciences— have begun to reflect on their ties to slavery, Native genocide, and other troubling elements of American history. This program looked at why historical self-examination matters and what can be gained from studies of the past. Leaders from a diverse group of institutions discussed the reckoning process, best practices that other organizations can use, and how this work can create opportunities for a better future.

The discussion highlighted Telling Our Nation’s Story, one of 31 recommendations in Our Common Purpose, the final report from the American Academy’s Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. This recommendation encourages honest conversations that bridge divides and help develop new narratives that incorporate all aspects of our history.

The Academy has collected resources for historical reckoning that offer an introduction to the process of historical self-examination and an explanation of how studying the past can create opportunities for a better future.