Slave Descendants Demand Reparations From Georgetown

Georgetown_sealGeorgetown received considerable national attention last year when it offered preferential admissions treatment for the descendants of 272 slaves sold in 1838.  It also published an apology, announced the creation of an institute on slavery, and renamed two buildings (including one, Issac Hayes Hall, after the first of the sold slaves).  It appears however that the school has hit an impasse with the descendants who feel that Georgetown has not done enough and are demanding reparations. It is not clear if the reparations are in addition to the $1 billion demanded earlier from the University for a foundation.

 

57742eb32ad7b.imageWhile the university accepts responsibility, the 272 slaves were actually owned and sold by Maryland Jesuits, including two prominent Jesuits who served as president of Georgetown. The money was used to pay off the school’s debt.   These enslaved persons included grandparents and pregnant women as well as a child and infant. Families were divided and accounts refer to people being dragged on to ships.

00georgetown8-master180The sale was arranged by The Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy, who served as president of Georgetown from 1829 to 1838. He returned as president from 1845 to 1848.  The Jesuits were receiving diminishing income from Maryland plantations and the school was in financial crisis.  Mulledy proceeded in June 1838, to negotiate a sale with Henry Johnson, whho was a member of the Marylad House of Representatives, and Jesse Batey, a landowner in Louisiana, to sell slaves.  The bill of sale was dated June 19, 1838, and stated: “Thomas F. Mulledy sells to Jesse Beatty and Henry Johnson two hundred and seventy two negroes, to wit.” The agreement allowed for discounts for any slaves deemed to be infirm.  The sale produced $500,000 for Georgetown in today’s money.

440px-Gregory_XVIThe sale however was controversial even at its time.  While Mulledy assured his superiors that the Louisiana owners promised to let the slaves practice their faith, many were outraged and he was called to Rome. He was eventually removed from the presidency and the following year Pope Gregory XVI barred Catholics from engaging in “this traffic in Blacks … no matter what pretext or excuse.”

 

There are 200 descendants identified as part of the GU272 Isaac Hawkins Legacy group and their representatives criticized the actions of the university as “symbolic gestures” and have retained an expert to calculate reparations.  The methodology used in such calculations can be controversial.  Thomas Craemer, an associate professor of public policy at the University of Connecticut  calculated the amount of unpaid and forced labor of the descendants’ ancestors, their subsequent incomes as well as the inheritance that descendants could have received.  This figure is then projected for growth over a couple hundred years.

Lead counsel Georgia Goslee indicated that talks are at a standstill.  She has publicly objected that

“restitution has been conspicuously absent from the actions taken by the school so far to reconcile with the descendant community . . . Our message today to Georgetown, to the Jesuits: Stop. Stop devaluing the descendants. Stop abusing their patience . . . For elder descendants, time is precious, and they have earned the right to demand meaningful action, not just words from Georgetown leaders, and for the younger descendants whose wealth building opportunities have been crippled by the legacy of Catholic slavery, restitution is a vital lifeline to a better future.”

georgetown-university-slavery-records

What do you think?  Should Georgetown pay reparations to descendants as an essential part of any resolution of his great historical wrong?

138 thoughts on “Slave Descendants Demand Reparations From Georgetown”

  1. The request for money is acceptable so long as it includes your renouncing American citizenship and immediate deportation to whatever country you claim your forefathers came from.

  2. No. Utter nonsense. But on the bright side, it triggered the comical “slavery-was-really, really-good-for-the-black-folks” post by georgie down below.

  3. The bill of sale shows that Robert was sold for $45, while Walt only fetched $3 bucks. So Robert’s descendants are entitled to 15x those of Walt. Of course, if I were Walt’s descendant, I would be too embarrassed to step forward and claim my windfall.

  4. Nothing to show your communion with your fellow man like a good guilt hustle. GU will pay the “victims” who suffered not at all. The damages owed the fathers now visited on the sons. Medieval isn’t it? Wonder what the sin eaters will have to consume. Cotton?

  5. Was that a refutation of the immutable facts? You erroneously conflate constitutionality and morality. You simply don’t get to do that. America is not ruled by any individual’s sense, or nonsense, of morality. The Constitution holds dominion.

    Was it moral for “Crazy Abe” Lincoln to kill 1 million Americans?

    Fun fact: slavery didn’t kill 1 million Americans. The slaves probably lived better in America rather than suffering their lot in Africa as, in fact, the original, imported slaves held lower positions and were captured in battle or simply abducted by those of higher position in Africa and brutally mistreated by their countrymen and race then sold.

  6. Paying one penny is a slippery slope for which there is no return. The $10k payment to descendents of the Japanese interred in WWII chapped my dad who proclaimed that he was eating ox tongue on Guadalcanal while the Japanese were living a cozy life in “camps.” Those were the times, everyone made sacrifices in our history, wrongs were righted, injustices were corrected, paying cash to everyone who suffered means we are all owed cash. Where’s my cash for enduring Vietnam?

    1. I agree. My mother remembers growing up a sharecroppers daughter in a home where the wallpaper heaved in and out with the wind. The temperance movement is what killed my family’s money. At one time my familiy made a whiskey that competed head on with a certain brand made in Lynchburg, TN. Temperance came along and with it what was then the family fortune. So, I’d like reparations for that.

  7. Off topic but worth noting: Opportunity just completed 5,000 sols of it’s extended roving on Mars. Congratulations to all those involved!

    1. We need to figure out the amount of labor hours black people expended to make this a reality and deduct that from reparations as it runs contrary to the narrative that black people are to inept to accomplish anything since people they are distantly related to once endured hardship.

  8. Slavery is NOT a moral wrong. Nowhere is it condemned in the Bible. St. Paul returned a slave to his master. Slavery is an institution. Actually, Lincoln had no authority to release the private property of slave owners.

    Even the Early Church did not condemn slavery. Jesus certainly did not condemn it. That slavery is morally wrong is a made-up issue that has no basis in true morality.

    1. Slavery of course is morally wrong and sorry, your attempts at Biblical references don’t hold water. I’ll give you credit for your trollsmanshiip though. As such I must wonder, what’s the weather like where you are in Saint Petersburg or Moscow tonight?

      1. Just because I hold the traditional, orthodox teaching of the Christian Faith, doesn’t make me a troll. Nor do I live in St. Petersburg.

        Canon III of the Council of Gangra 325 A.D., “If any one shall teach a slave, under pretext of piety, to
        despise his master and to run away from his service, and not to serve his own master with good-will and all honour, let him be anathema”.

        Anyone who subscribes to the teaching that Slavery is morally wrong is a Gnostic. Gnosticism is a Christian heresy.

        The Bible, in the OT and the NT, along with the Consistent Teaching of the Early Church, Slavery is an institution. Just that.

        Just because I have the facts and the true teaching of the Church doesn’t make me a troll. That you are steeped in error and heresy is a big problem.

        Lincoln had NO authority to steal slaves away from their masters. That is stealing and if you remember the Ten Commandments, slaves are included in there. “Thou shalt not covet….thy neighbor’s slaves” The Institution of Slavery is protected by “Thou Shalt NOT steal”.

      1. If you know Western Culture and Civilization, one of the hallmarks of a Western Culture is the value, critieria, and definition of Truth. What is Truth?

        Cicero is one of the mainstays of Western Culture and Civilization. Cicero said, “Truth is not one thing in Athens, and another in Rome. It is not one thing yesterday and another thing Today”.

        The Criteria of Truth is consistency. Truth NEVER changes.

        Where does orthodox traditional Christian teaching come from?

        The Bible.

        NOWHERE, either in the OT or the NT, does the Bible condemn slavery.

        Have you not heard the Scripture—-“You shall NOT add to the Word of God, NOR shall you take away from the Word of God”. Obey that.

        Slavery is not wrong. It’s an institution. It is heretical for any Christian to declare that slavery is a moral wrong.

        Canon III of the Council of Gangra 325 A.D., “If any one shall teach a slave, under pretext of piety, to despise his master and to run away from his service, and not to serve his own master with good-will and all honour, let him be anathema”.

        This canon is included in the Ecumenical Councils. NO where does the Church condemn slavery. Any who have done so have become heretics. All the people who engaged in the Underground Railroad are anathemitized.

        The abolitionists, one and all, are Gnostics. This current drive of slave reparations is motivated and instigated by Cultural Marxists and liberals. Marxism is Gnostic and liberals are a form of Gnosticism.

        1. There is no such thing as “Morality advances”. Morality is like Truth. The doctrine of Christianity is the Deposit of Faith. Nowhere in the Deposit of Faith is the condemnation of Slavery.

          What you do promote, David B. Benson, is Marxist values. Just be honest.

    2. The Constitution provided freedom. The British legally purchased slaves from Arab slave traders who legally purchased slaves from African tribal chiefs. 4% of Americans owned slaves. It was always true that slavery persisted through purchases by consumers. Slavery must have been eliminated through employment of free market tools. The American and European people were free to advocate for an end to slavery, boycott slave-labor products and divest entirely from all related industries, effectively abolishing slavery. Abraham Lincoln had no authority to deny secession, confiscate private property, start a foreign war of aggression, suspend Habeas Corpus or forcibly impose freed-slave citizenship. Lincoln must have been arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service and his acts must have been declared unconstitutional by an objective and rational Supreme Court, and Lincoln must have been impeached by Congress and convicted by the Senate.

      Further, all freed slaves and their descendants must have been and must be deported. On the date of issuance of the unconstitutional Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862, the Naturalization Act of 1802 was in full force and effect requiring citizens to be “…free white person(s)…” The legal status of non-white slaves changed from that of “property” to “illegal alien” requiring immediate deportation. No legal,
      constitutional, properly ratified document or document ratified under the duress of post-war military occupation has ever abrogated that requirement.
      ____________________________________________________________________________________

      NATURALIZATION ACT OF 1790

      United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

      “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof…”

        1. Was that a refutation of the immutable facts? You erroneously conflate constitutionality and morality. You simply don’t get to do that. America is not ruled by any individual’s sense, or nonsense, of morality. The Constitution holds dominion.

          Was it moral for “Crazy Abe” Lincoln to kill 1 million Americans?

          Fun fact: slavery didn’t kill 1 million Americans. The slaves probably lived better in America rather than suffering their lot in Africa as, in fact, the original, imported slaves held lower positions and were captured in battle or simply abducted by those of higher position in Africa and brutally mistreated by their countrymen and race then sold.

    3. Nonsense. First, slavery violates the foundational principle of any moral code, which is that persons must be treated as ends rather than means. You’ve forgotten your Kant. Secondly, slavery is contrary to natural law because it denies the integrity of a human being as an autonomous moral agent. It is accordingly a lawless state and precludes the creation of any legal duties owed by the slave to his master.

        1. There certainly is a stigma attached to being a slave, or the descendant of a slave, as one would naturally question, “why us?” As much as the slave descendant blames the slavers, he also has to wonder why his own people were so devalued. For example, during the time that Africans were slaves in the south, Chinese were brought to the U.S. to build the trans-continental railway. It was back-breaking work, but the Chinese were paid for their efforts. They could have been enslaved – it was legal at the time, but they weren’t. So the inference is that Africans were viewed as little more than mules, and after they were given their freedom were seen as obsolete farm equipment and not worthy of social or educational investment. By continuously trying to guilt trip Americans for the plight of their distant ancestors, blacks may get a modicum of charity in the form of welfare and affirmative action, but they keep reminding us of how little value and respect they commanded vis-a-vis other minorities in the U.S.

      1. It would appear that slavery, in fact, did not violate any African law or code, or British law or code. History demonstrates that slavery did not violate laws or codes in Egypt. The American Founders were compelled to perpetuate 182 years of British existence while inventing American maximal freedom. “Moral” American and European consumers were always free to eliminate slavery; to advocate against, boycott and divest of slavery. George Washington freed his slaves upon his death. Enterprises and products are “abolished” persistently as a consequence of free market dynamics.

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