University announces admission preference for Georgetown slave descendants

Sheba Turk talks about how Georgetown University plans on repairing some of the relations between the institution and descendants of slaves it sold to pay off debts.

WASHINGTON – Georgetown University announced plans Thursday to repair relations between the school and the descendants of more than 200 slaves the school sold to get out of debt.

Many of those descendants live in Louisiana.

MORE: 'What about Cornelius?' Local woman learns ancestor was Georgetown slave

In 1838, Georgetown's presidents decided to sell 272 of the school's slaves to Louisiana plantations in a deal that would be worth about $3 million today.

Maxine Crump is the great-great-granddaughter of one of those slaves, Cornelius Hawkins, who was just 13-years-old when he was sold.

“The catholic church owned slaves,” said Crump. I mean priests, Jesuits, whipped and owned slaves and then sold them to save a university to educate white people? That's just not right.”

The current leaders of the university didn’t feel it was right either, so the university's president put together a group to make recommendations on how to move forward.

When WWL-TV spoke with Crump in May, she said she wanted to see scholarships for the descendants and for the slaves to be named as benefactors.

“I mean you put names of the people that sold them and if someone had written a check for $3.3 million in today’s money their name would be posted in their honor,” said Crump.

Thursday, the university’s group came back with some recommendations that are in line with what Crump wanted to see.

Among the recommendations are an apology, the creation of a new Institute for the Study of Slavery at Georgetown, a public memorial to honor the slaves and renaming one of the school's buildings after one of the slaves from the sale.

As for the thousands of living descendants, the group suggested the university look into admission and financial aid initiatives.

CBS News said Georgetown president John DeGioia told news outlets that the university will implement the admissions preferences.

Perhaps, most importantly, the group recommends the university engage with the descendants of these slaves on how to move forward.

(© 2016 WWL)


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