Descendants of slaves sold by Jesuits to raise money for Georgetown University 188 years ago are calling on the institution and the religious order to establish a $1 billion foundation to promote racial reconciliation, The Washington Post reports.
The descendants said they have raised $115,000 — equivalent to the price their 272 forebears fetched in 1838 to pay off a university debt — in seed money to “create a model for healing and redress in our nation,” said Joseph Stewart, a leader of the group and a former chairman of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation board.
Following months of public discussion of how the university should make amends for benefiting from slavery, Georgetown President John DeGioia announced last week that it will apologize for its role in the trade, give admissions preferences to descendants of the so-called GU272, and name two campus buildings in honor of the slaves.
Representatives of the descendants said they were not included on a panel that formulated the response and called on the university and the Jesuits to embrace a broader approach. “Our vision is not about reparations. It’s not about getting anything that just benefits descendants. It’s about having an opportunity to have a common good,” Mr. Stewart said.