Virginia Theological Seminary is born, bred, and operates within the economy based on chattel slavery. The vast majority of VTS’s founders, faculty (including the first two eventual deans Sparrow and Packard), governance, and benefactors, as well as the institution itself, hold Black people in bondage. This is not unique in the Episcopal Church in that 82% of the clergy within the Diocese of Virginia in 1860 are enslavers.
Most service jobs on campus are performed by Black people, both free and enslaved, including personal servants and farm laborers. Southern students often bring enslaved servants to seminary with them, and the Education Society provides funds for slave labor for the institution and the students it supports financially. VTS hires out enslaved Black people from local constituents, hires contractors that use enslaved and the discounted labor of freedmen, constructs slave quarters on campus, and operates daily as a traditional Southern, slave-based institution.