From an editorial in Friday’s Washington Post:
Georgetown University has issued a long-anticipated report on what it should do to reconcile the Catholic institution to its historical ties to slavery.
Georgetown President John DeGioia on Thursday released the report and recommendations of a working group that for the past year has been studying the university’s involvement in slavery, including the sale of 272 slaves in 1838 by Jesuits who used the proceeds to keep the school afloat even as they knew they were doing wrong in tearing families apart.
DeGioia said that Georgetown will give descendants of those enslaved people the same admissions boost accorded to children of faculty, staff and alumni; offer an apology for its role in slavery; rename two campus buildings; and take other steps.
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While other universities have had to confront their roles in slavery, Georgetown is unique in that the meticulous records kept by the Jesuits have allowed genealogists to identify and locate their descendants. These are real people whose fates have been affected: That presents Georgetown with both a burden and an opportunity.