Saturday, April 16, 2016

272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown

This just in, too late to be included in the Weekend Roundup: 272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown: What Does It Owe Their Descendants? is an extraordinary article in the New York Times by Rachel L. Swarns on a horrific incident in the history of Georgetown University and its consequences.


Shag from Brookline said...

Growing up in Catholic Boston (1930), I have heard quite a bit of the good Jesuits do, especially in education. (I am not Catholic.) In more recent years in semi-retirement I have been delving into history. King Phillips' War of the 17th century included the role of Jesuits based in Canada aiding Native Americans in their fight against the colonists' expansion. Deerfield was at the frontier at the time. I was surprised to learn of the militaristic leanings of the Jesuits back then because of what I had been told growing up in Boston. I later learned that there had been some sort of a reorganization of the Jesuits perhaps after the American Revolution. The 1832 incidents at Georgetown regarding slaves has me wondering when the Jesuits changed. If the change was earlier, was this an aberration of the new Jesuit Order?

The article references other Ivy League schools, including Harvard, being involved somewhat with slavery. Harvard Law School was recently in the news regarding its slavery crest "honoring" a slave owning donor. My studies of Boston area history in the 1850s when HLS was known as the Law School at Cambridge, revealed the split at the law school of both faculty and students on the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 playing out in Boston in the 1850s. The student body at the law school even back then was diverse, with many from the Deep South. Perhaps the faculty split was an early sign of originalism versus non-originalism.

Better late than never.

Charles Paul Hoffman said...

Shag - the Jesuits were suppressed by Papal decree from 1773 until 1814, so many of the changes have to do with the pre-/post-suppression periods.