Georgetown’s plans on racial injustice (given slavery legacy) & New York Times selective coverage
On addressing its legacy of participation in slavery. At least goes beyond preferential admission for descendants.
- a TL;DR version of the speech of President DeGioia, focused on the concrete plans and commitments the university is making to address racial injustice.
- Comments (with links) on NYTimes’ selective coverage of Georgetown’s efforts
The whole transcript and video is here, from Feb 2016:
Racial Injustice in America: A Framework for Georgetown's Future Engagement
My talk today addresses racial injustice, which persists in our country, is structural in its influence, and seems to…
1) “We are squarely facing unresolved issues of structural injustice in our nation.” Racial injustice is structural, persistent. Now we seem to be talking about it more, and it seems worse. Recent incidents that came to public attention (cell phones!) have shaken many people’s assumption that everything is fine, slavery is history, and we’re post-racial (ahem…)
2) Many of us having been working hard on these issues. Academia included, or else we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But it’s been way too damn slow, and we need to speed it up. We need to be true to our Jesuit values, to live them.
3) “I suggest that we make four commitments as we move forward in the pursuit of ameliorating the structural injustices that pervade our racial divides.”
— Build a campus center of gravity around these issues. Department and/or a broader Interdisciplinary Program of African American Studies. Permanent. With resources and faculty. A Working Group on Racial Injustice to figure out how to make it necessarily interdisciplinary.
— A new Research Center that studies racial injustice and the persistent and enduring legacy of racism and segregation in America. We “must engage the continuing challenges that flow from the tragic history of slavery and segregation of our nation.”
— We will commit to recruit the number of faculty commensurate with the commitments needed (for those two entities), and grad fellowships and post-doc opps. Starting with four faculty this year, four more next year.
— “A new senior officer” to make all these things happen in good form.
Why now? Because our social and political culture has not been remedied, but deterioriated. Moral imperative. And “because there is a holy impatience among the African-American community that delay is just another way of saying NO” (sic).
“I am a product of this place… I hope some of you will recognize your influence on me in these words.”
“I am presenting this charge that we do our part, as an important educational community, to hasten the common good and the shared justice for those for whom it has been too long denied.”
NYTimes’ selective coverage of GU efforts
Georgetown University’s slavery & racial injustice efforts
Georgetown President DeGioia gave a long speech in February laying out the university’s plans for addressing racial injustice and its own legacy of benefiting from slavery.
In the six months since, the New York Times (working with the university) published several stories detailing its findings and efforts, essentially calling for descendants to come forward and be identified.
Here’s what the New York Times chose to highlight in its coverage.
Original article in April, 2016:
272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants?
The hope was to eventually identify the slaves’ descendants. By the end of December, one of Mr. Cellini’s genealogists…
The new measures include naming a building for one of the men who was sold and giving preferential admissions treatment to descendants of those who were enslaved.
Do You Think You Might Have a Connection to the 1838 Slave Sale that Kept Georgetown Afloat?
The New York Times would like to hear from people who have done research into their genealogical history.
May, “A Million Questions”
‘A Million Questions’ From Descendants of Slaves Sold to Aid Georgetown
I thought that we were from Louisiana. It never occurred to me that we were from any place else because we were so…
June 3, editorial “Where Does Georgetown Start? By Listening”
After student protests last fall, the university removed from two campus buildings the names of the two priests who arranged the sale. A working group of students, alumni, professors and others is exploring how to make amends for this history.
On the broader issue of racial injustice, the university will create a department of African-American studies and a research center to explore the enduring legacy of racism and segregation in the United States.
Where Does Georgetown Start? By Listening
The story of the Jesuit priests who sold 272 enslaved African-Americans into bondage in the Deep South to save a…
June 14, about meeting with descendants. “A working group assembled by Mr. DeGioia in September has been considering whether the university should apologize for profiting from slave labor, create a memorial to those enslaved, or provide scholarships for their descendants, among other possibilities.”
Moving to Make Amends, Georgetown President Meets With Descendant of Slaves
More than a century after Georgetown University used some of the profits from the sale of 272 enslaved African…
Intent on a Reckoning With Georgetown’s Slavery-Stained Past
“People said it’s not enough or it’s too late or there should have been a different take,” said Drew Gilpin Faust, the…
The Slaves in Georgetown’s Past
To the Editor: Re “ Georgetown Confronts Its Role in Nation’s Slave Trade “ (front page, April 17): Some Georgetown…
By David J Collins, SJ, professor & chairman of its working group on slavery, memory and reconciliation:
Georgetown University, Learning From Its Sins
The Jesuit cemetery in St. Inigoes, Md., used to be surrounded by tobacco fields. Over the course of roughly 150 years…
A formal apology, create an institute for the study of slavery and erect a public memorial to the slaves whose labor benefited the institution, and rename buildings, and preferential admissions, and hold a Mass of reconciliation. And through the institute, study GU’s legacy from slavery further and engage with descendants, including helping with genealogical research, with a “substantial financial” commitment.
Georgetown University Plans Steps to Atone for Slave Past
But whether the initiatives result in meaningful change remains to be seen, he said. Professor Wilder cautioned that…
NYT also published the entirety of the report, embedded in its site:
Georgetown University Working Group on Slavery Memory and Reconciliation Report
A report released Thursday by a committee convened last year to consider ways the university should address its history…
Reuters piece republished in NYT: