Reparations for slavery became the unexpectedly hot topic of the Democratic primaries this year, but broadly speaking, they’re still a semi-utopian dream. On a smaller scale, individual reparations are possible, but are the institutions capable of making them willing to do so?
Georgetown University’s president, John DeGioia, has announced that the university will be taking steps to make amends for the school’s prior dealings in slavery. Chief among those steps is their plan to give preferential treatment to any student seeking admission who is descended from one of the 272 men, women, and children sold in 1838 when the school was facing financial difficulties. That information comes from an April report in the New York Times; today, Buzzfeed is reporting thtat DeGioia will give a longer address about the reparations this afternoon.
Here’s what Buzzfeed says will happen:
In that address, DeGioia will offer a formal apology for the university’s historical relationship with slavery; rename two campus buildings after a slave and a free woman of color; formally introduce the new Institute for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies; and build a public memorial both to the slaves whose labor helped construct the university, but also those who were sold in order to sustain it.
When the slaves were sold in 1838, they brought in what would be $3.3 million today.
[image via screengrab]
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