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. I guess Egypt owes the Jews a sh*tload of cash according to the mythical accounts of slavery in the Bible.

    As late at the early 1800’s, it’s estimated that 3/4 of the world’s population was bonded in slavery or some sort of serfdom. The world owes the world a sh*tload of cash. Yet it’s only American blacks clamoring for reparations. I wonder why that is.

  2. It’s like blaming the people who made cigarette vending machines, but not the people who made the product sold in the machines.
    NIce try, man affirmative action is proving to be affirmatvely parasitic.

  3. Should GU search for the African decendants that captured and sold these 272 and sue them? Why aren’t the decendants of the 272 seeking reparations from the group responsible for them entering the slave trade in the first place? Should reparations be required for actions allowed by law?

  4. How about an opportunity to return from where they claim their ancestors were taken. First class airfare, revocation of US passports and all US identity and $3000.00.

  5. Well to be objective. My family never ‘owned’ anyone but in the past were ‘slaves’ being from Western Europe but that was then this is now. I don’t know anyone who was a slave and other than the draft which is still up running and ready on call for instant use know of no operating slave system in North America except Selective Service. and .. hmmmm oh yes there is a group of sort neo aristocratic ruling class wanna be’s that tend to treat their non ruling class members that way. but that’s their problem. Progressing along for real ha ha maybe it’s time to get rid of the last vestiges by repealing selective service. Since they are the only one’s that want to keep it in force. . As a Regular Army type I always felt it was more of a problem than it was worth. It’ s sexist and treats women as second class citizens relegating them to the historic role of baby factories to the men’s cannon fodder status.

  6. Would it have been better if they had remained slaves on the plantation? Why aren’t they demanding reparations from the people who bought them and then resold them? Oh, yeah, they’re dead. A definite no to reparations.

  7. Is it Isaac Hays or Isaac Hawkins? In the first paragraph it says Isaac Hays, but later you refer to the “Isaac Hawkins Group.” I’m guessing it autofilled Hays.

  8. I am beginning to believe that whatever we do to aid blacks will never be deemed enough and only increases demands for more.

    Peaceful separation is the only answer.

  9. We have spent untold riches on trying to help the descendants of African tribes people who sold their rivals into slavery. After all the blood, sweat, and treasure Americans have spent because of slavery that ended 160 years ago – and these people are STILL stuck in victimhood ? Just no. In the words of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas: “get outta here…”

  10. The money the Jesuits received went to save/build the school. Reparations shouldn’t be a function of what the slaves lost, but instead the gain from what the Jesuits did with the money.

    Give them Georgetown.

        1. Yes, I’m familiar with H.U. Not particularly impressive overall, but among the best as far as black colleges go. If it merged with Georgetown, the latter’s reputation would decline significantly. I can’t imagine any Georgetown albums wanting a Howard degree.

          1. Glad you mentioned HBC’s. We’re already expected to treat HBC grads as akin to one of the federally protected six categories. This leads me to wonder, is the true objective then to render Georgetown akin to a HBC?

  11. The correct measure of economic damages would be the value of the slaves’ labor, that is, what a slave would have earned had s/he been free, less the cost of subsistence. Since apparently these slaves worked on a plantation, they were farm workers and associated laborers such as blacksmiths. Because at the time most farm workers led a subsistence lifestyle, that is, they earned enough to stay alive but no more, the value of the slave labor had it been free less the cost of subsistence would be zero.

    Then, there is the matter of non-economic damages, i.e., the value put on loss of freedom. This would be highly subjective and could very well fall upon a major stumbling block, namely, Georgetown’s sale of the slaves did not change the condition of servitude of the slaves. They were slaves before the sale and they were slaves after the sale. Nothing Georgetown did worsened their condition, unless someone could establish that being enslaved in Louisiana was somehow worse then being enslaved in Maryland.

    The upshot of all of this is that the attorneys for the slaves’ descendants have the wrong class of people as clients. Assuming that there is a potential lawsuit here (and I am doubtful that there is), the plaintiffs are the descendants of all the people enslaved by Georgetown, not only the descendants of those slaves sold by Georgetown. By extension, every slave owner would be liable to the descendants of his/her/its slaves. Natural persons are no longer around to be sued, so that leaves institutional slave owners as potential defendants in lawsuits.

  12. Use the money to set up day care facilities for poor kids of EVERY race. One way, but not the only way, to break the cycle of poverty is to give a person an advantage before they get into the school system. A kid coming into the system behind other kids, living with dysfunctional parents, living in an area with the wrong models, etc needs something. If a kid enters the first grade with the same advantages of those of well to do families, then the chances that the kid will see an opportunity rise. It is only one of the many factors but that is how to solve these entrenched problems, one facet by one facet.

    Of course the closet racists will immediately produce statistics, charts, and other select material to argue that the poor, especially the blacks, have been given all the help they deserve; given the situation.

    1. The first step is to make birth control and termination of pregnancies easily available to those who want them.

      1. Birth control and abortion are issues that pertain to everybody. Unique to the poor, which include a disproportionate population of Blacks, is the neglect by parents for their children. Regardless of whether or not the neglect is justifiable, explainable, or whatever, it draws the children into the cycle. Aside from the nutritional problems and other physiological issues the most effective way to break the cycle is to expose the child at the earliest age to focused education. There are many factors and no one solution. The only way to go about this, as with just about everything, is by addressing each factor.

        This takes money and society’s input. The money should be spent directly on education and nurturing the child, not given to the parents for them to decide. The US give billions in foreign aid and it ends up in Swiss bank accounts. This is human nature. The society does owe the Black population, but not money. The society owes the Black population access to the facilities that change lives for the better. Either the institutions that were responsible and still exist today or the government, it doesn’t matter.

        The cycles that exist today were created hundreds of years ago and reinforced until only recently. There is an easy hypocrisy in pointing to some success stories and listing all the freebees along with the abuse.

        1. You racissst!, you!!! You don’t think poor blacks can raise their own children and decide how to spend the welfare money and benefits??? You White Supremacist! You Kloset Klansman!

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

          Note. Not really, I kind of agree with you. But there are not enough social workers in the world to intervene in these single black mother families. The best approach is, cut off the money in the first place, That should work over time to reduce the illegitimate birth rate.

          Then, no more “affirmative action on the sly” crap in school. You are either proficient in 1st grade skills, or you don’t pass to 2nd grade. Period. Too many disciplinary problems and your parents get jailed and you get put in joovy.

          Further, start locking up women who have more children than they can support, just like you lock up men. You are single, and have one child, and you have to get food stamps and housing vouchers, Then, your next kid means you lose your first and your second, and you must pay support to the State for the foster family.

          That is just for starters. But the really big thing is, that people like you, Isaac, need to quit making excuses for this crappy behavior. it isn’t Institutionalized Racism, and it isn’t White Privilege. Put the onus on back on them.

    1. Darren – Your response doesn’t really answer the question as to whether the University “should” make reparations. Most arguments against reparations rely on not being able to identify specific benefits to the slaveholders or who should claim direct harm from their actions. It seems both are known in this case including the acknowledgment of Georgetown of its actions. Should they receive reparations?
      The USA has paid reparations in the past to Japanese-Americans after Internment, and several Native American tribes as a result of broken treaties.

      1. Well to be objective. My family never ‘owned’ anyone but in the past were ‘slaves’ being from Western Europe but that was then this is now. I don’t know anyone who was a slave and other than the draft which is still up running and ready on call for instant use know of no operating slave system in North America except Selective Service. and .. hmmmm oh yes there is a group of sort neo aristocratic ruling class wanna be’s that tend to treat their non ruling class members that way. but that’s their problem. Progressing along for real ha ha maybe it’s time to get rid of the last vestiges by repealing selective service. Since they are the only one’s that want to keep it in force. . As a Regular Army type I always felt it was more of a problem than it was worth. It’ s sexist and treats women as second class citizens relegating them to the historic role of baby factories to the men’s cannon fodder status

        1. Are you looking for one treaty that has been broken or one example of reparations? 1986 – $32 million to Ottawas of Michigan for breech of 1836 treaty. 1985 – $31 millian to Chippewas of Wisconsin, 1985 $12.3 million to Seminoles of Florida, 1985 – $105 million to Sioux of South Dakota, 1980 – $81 million to Klamaths of Oregon. There are still multiple case in litigation.

            1. My comment implied no such thing. I spoke of broken treaties with Native Americans, Internment of Japanese, and the specific cause and effect of Georgetown University and it’s trafficking in slavery and the identified descendants.

              1. YOur interpretation of your coment implied no such thing. An average person reading your comment would come away with you had implied that there should have been agreements or treaties that would have validated your”Should Have” mentality.

                    1. You are the one that can’t read. I made no reference to black people outside the specific case at Georgetown University. You read that as implying broken treaties. Before you get further mixed up. Japanese Internment which was mentioned in -between the Georgetown discussion and Native American treaties, didn’t imply treaties either.

                  1. Honestly, you try so hard to establish yourself as a counter point alternative, when in fact you just turn out to be a simplistic stooge for people that have failed you in the most miserable and pedantic way.

    2. How manyh of the operators of Georgetown today were alive prior to 1865? How many actively practice slavery today? Many variations of the same question but the answer somehow always come up zero.

      There fore objectively speaking I am in no way responsible for that which happened before both my birth aqnd my majority status but I am completely responsibile for anything and everything since turning 21. We didn’t get to vote at 18.

      If this gets anywhere past the operators of Georgetown donning the yellow stripe it will no doubt be some rogue judge from Hawaii ordering the nationa as a whole to pony up so it’s a basic shake down and do I dmell Jesse int he background or just the example he set?

    3. The “law” doesn’t have anything to do with it. It’s a shakedown. Give us some money or we will call you racisssts!

      And what earthly good is preferential treatment for college for the descendants??? My guess is that half of them are probably sub high-school proficiency. Plus, preferential entry does not mean they don’t have to study and do their homework. Sooo, what good is that to most of them???

      That’s like offering them a belt, so their pants won’t sag.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

Leave a Reply