Joining a wave of American institutions moving to offer a measure of restitution for their ties to slavery, Georgetown University will raise about $400,000 a year to benefit the descendants of the 272 enslaved people who were sold to help keep the college afloat nearly two centuries ago, the New York Times reports. The Times goes on to say: “The university plans to use the money to support community projects such as health clinics and schools.
The announcement came six months after Georgetown students voted in a nonbinding referendum to impose student fees that would have raised about $400,000 a year to support the descendants. While Georgetown officials said students would play “a substantial role” in the new initiative, but would not be required to pay additional fees. The university plans to seek voluntary contributions from alumni, faculty, students and philanthropists.
At Georgetown, college officials relied on Jesuit plantations in Maryland to help finance the school’s operations, university officials said. The 1838 sale — worth about $3.3 million in today’s dollars — was organized by two of Georgetown’s early presidents, both Jesuit priests.”