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Burial of 19 Black Philadelphians' Remains Dating Back To 1800s from Penn Museum's Morton Cranial Collection Sparks Community Dispute

The University of #Pennsylvania has taken steps to address its historic involvement in racist scientific research by burying the remains of 19 Black Philadelphians from its Morton Cranial Collection, which was used for racist pseudoscience promoting white supremacy in the 19th century. The university aims to rectify past wrongs by holding a memorial service for these individuals. However, some community members feel excluded from the decision-making process, emphasizing the challenges institutions face in addressing institutional racism.

Critics argue that the university made decisions about repatriation without sufficient community input, and they assert that justice should involve the community in deciding how to honor these individuals. The university formed an advisory committee, which was primarily composed of university officials and religious leaders, raising concerns about bias.

Furthermore, the university's decision to reenter the remains at Eden Cemetery, a historic Black cemetery, has faced opposition, as some believe that the identities of the individuals were not properly researched. Some argue that the remains should be repatriated through the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, a federal law governing the return of Native American ancestral remains and funerary objects.

While the university has taken steps to address this issue, there is still much work to be done, as more than 300 Native American remains in the Morton Cranial Collection await repatriation. The university has pledged to expedite this process by hiring additional staff.

We'll continue to follow this story as more information comes out.

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