Slave Descendants Of Georgetown Demand Billion-Dollar “Reconciliation Fund”

The descendants of slaves sold by Georgetown University are calling on the school to create a billion-dollar “Reconciliation Fund,” one week after the school apologized for its role in the slave trade and promised several (much cheaper) efforts to make up for it.

In 1838, Georgetown sold off 272 slaves in order to pay its debts, selling them for $115,000 (over $3 million in today’s money). In recent years, the school has faced demands from activists who want it to atone for its actions almost 180 years ago.

A week ago, following the release of a report on the matter, Georgetown president John DeGioia announced Georgetown would offer a special admissions preference for any descendants of the 272 slaves the school sold. He also promised to build an on-campus memorial and renamed two buildings, one after a slave sold by the school and another after a woman who founded a local school for black girls.

The school’s decision to confront the more sordid parts of its past won praise from some quarters, though several black writers criticized the move as hopelessly insufficient.

 But some descendants of the 272 slaves told The Washington Post the school’s recent announcements aren’t enough. They want more. Much more. A billion dollars more.

“We appreciate the gestures of a proposed memorial to our enslaved ancestors on Georgetown’s campus and President John DeGioia’s visits with some descendants, but recommendations developed without the meaningful participation of descendants can only be seen as preliminary,” descendant Sandra Green Thomas said in a Thursday statement.

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