MU founder's descendants seek atonement

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The descendants of the man dubbed the "father of the University of Missouri" are working to atone for their revered relative's slave-holding past.

The Columbia Missourian reports that the great-great grandchildren of James Sidney Rollins grew up hearing about his role bringing the state's flagship university to Columbia and promoting it in the state legislature. But they also learned Rollins was one of Boone County's largest slaveholders.

Since Clay Mering and two sisters provided about $32,000 to create the James S. Rollins Slavery Atonement Endowment in 2008, it has funded 24 research projects in MU's Black Studies Department.

Clay Mering says the whole point was to start a conversation. The 58-year-old nursing assistant and former architect from Tucson, Ariz., says he doesn't know if anything could "right the wrong."


Information from: Columbia Missourian,

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