COLLEGE FIX STAFF
JUNE 24, 2016
Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia has promised a “vigorous” and “wide-ranging” response to help rectify his school’s role in the American slave trade.
One hundred seventy-eight years ago, the college had sold 272 slaves. The monetary value of these transactions equals $3.5 million today.
“This is an important moment in the life of our university,” DeGioia said. “I don’t think putting a plaque on the wall is going to be an answer.”
Part of the actual “answer” was announced by DeGioia in February: more faculty in the African-American studies and establishment of “a research center focused on racial injustice.”
Back in November of last year, the names of two past college presidents “who organized or played an advisory role in the sale of the slaves” were removed from campus buildings.
DeGioia said he recently received a draft report from the university’s “Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation,” a panel of administrators, faculty and students formed last year to study the issue.
[He] plans to travel to Louisiana next week to meet with descendants of the slaves to hear their views. Last week he met with another descendant, Patricia Bayonne-Johnson, in Spokane, Wash.
“We knew our history, but we had not appropriated it,” he said. “It was not alive in us.”
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