A quick reminder on how one of America’s most prestigious universities was rescued from its struggling debts.
Georgetown University, one of the oldest Catholic and Jesuit University, was founded in 1789 by Jesuit priests. The priests in those days captured black people and held them as slaves on a plantation farm in Maryland.
There came a time in the early 1800s when the school struggled to pay off their debts and so their solution was to sell slaves they had. The college presidents at that time sold 272 slaves for about $3.3 million in today’s currency, according to investigations. A New York Times journalist Rachel Swarns detailed the sale in her book titled American Tapestry.
“… no one was spared: not the 2-month-old baby and her mother, not the field hands, not the shoemaker and not Cornelius Hawkins, who was about 13 years old when he was forced onboard,” Swarns says.
The present administration had forgotten about this tragic history of African-Americans in their university until last fall when students at Georgetown protested, suggesting ways to find descendants of those slaves and make things right with them.
According to reports, Georgetown alumni, students and genealogists have joined hands to find descendants of those 272 slaves that were sold in 1838 and suggest for reparations.
In order to end racism in our communities, we must first teach the young about its history, how it all started and why. But most universities are not ready to accept their racist past and so racism continues to exist without realizing it.
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