Jesuits Forced To Cough Up Millions in Slave Reparations

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The ‘inspection’ of slaves before they were sold at auction. Pic by ‘Black Then’

The Catholic order of Jesuit priests has pledged to raise $100 million for descendants of the enslaved people it owned in what the New York Times reports is “one of the largest efforts by an institution to atone for slavery.”

The order relied on slave labor and sales for more than a century before “272 enslaved men, women and children were sold by the Jesuit owners of Georgetown University to plantation owners in Louisiana” in 1838 and used as collateral by Citizens Bank of New Orleans, which was later acquired by JPMorgan Chase, according to a statement.

To absolve for this legacy, the order has joined with descendants to create a trust to be used “in engaging, promoting and supporting programs and activities that highlight truth, accelerate racial healing and reconciliation, and advance racial justice and equality in America.” JPMorgan will serve as a co-trustee, per Axios.

Some $15 million has already been deposited to support the new Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation. Georgetown University, which has raised additional funds for descendants, donated $1 million. While the foundation works to raise the remaining funds, about half of its annual budget will go to groups working at racial reconciliation, and a quarter given to descendants as educational grants and scholarships, per the Times.

Genealogists have identified about 5,000 living descendants of people enslaved by the Jesuits, including Joseph Stewart, who now serves as the foundation’s acting president. He says it will “set an example and lead America through dismantling the remnants of slavery and mitigating the presence of racism,” per the statement. Indeed, MIT historian Craig Steven Wilder tells the Times the move “will put tremendous pressure” on other US institutions “that share this history.” (Read more Jesuits stories.)

Edited via Newser.

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Michael John Scott

Mr. Scott is a political junkie, and animal lover. He is also a U.S. Army veteran, career law enforcement executive, and university professor. Did I mention he loves dogs? A lot?
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Glenn Geist
1 year ago

One more thing – note that in the picture above, the slaves are not being sold by White people, but by armed Africans and Middle Easterners.

In today’s political climate I will be abused for not blaming it all on the receiver of stolen goods and ignoring the thief.

Politics distorts everything.

Glenn Geist
Reply to  Michael John Scott
1 year ago

The move to deny race and simultaneously make everything about race is frustrating. I could also ask from what other governments does the moral man demand reparations. Some 14% of african slavery involved the USA, yet no one is asking Holland or Belgium or England or Portugal or Spain or Denmark, inter alia. Most of the African Americans I know are biracial, or from Haiti or Jamaica or South America. a few are from AFrica and many of those are quite successful. But it’s so easy just to growl about “white people” while pretending to to be an angry bigot.

The group from St George is an exception because their names were recorded and there is a group to which most of them belong so names are traceable. But as I’ve said before, a large number of African Americans are recent arrivals and were never slaves. a larger number were not slaves in the US or the colonies that preceded it. A larger number yet are bi or multi racial, so if we pretend we want to be equitable, we have to accept most of this money will be unfairly distributed and the cost of all that genealogy might exceed the distributions.

Yep, the truth is always complicated and uncertain. The opposite is true of politics. I am aware that doing something for currently disadvantaged people is good policy, but I’m one of the many “teach a man to catch fish” advocates. I’m also aware that we offer no benefits but theft, murder and genocide to a whole lot of other people.

I’m also going to say that not all past injustice can be erased, all debts be paid off and that as time goes on it becomes more futile and impossible. There are many more useful and productive options, but as you’ve seen we are not much more than a morally authoritarian country hell bent to overlook democracy.

Glenn Geist
1 year ago

I’m on record as opposing the proposals I’ve heard that support financial payments to people who identify as “black.” I think this one is different.

For one thing payments would come from an organization, not from the general public regardless of individual identity. I don’t see all without African ancestry, Japanese, Navajo, Pacific islander as being involved with enslaving Africans or with ignoring the many, many non-Africans who were brutally enslaved.

I don’t really believe in racial identity, much less “sin”

But the Jesuits? That’s voluntary. That’s different. They not only supported African slavery, they were supported by it and made a living from selling and exploiting them. We all support Georgetown University with tax breaks. Moreover, we would not be taking tax revenue from people whose ancestors were victims of colonial slavery and giving it back to them.

Besides there’s a huge difference between paying some one off and helping them succeed.

But still I remember that many nations got rich from capturing slaves and selling slaves and that about 85% of African slaves were in countries other than ours and that a great many “white people” opposed it in word and deed. I still remember that race guilt is racism and unsupportable. Let the punishment fit the crime as well as the criminals.

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