God on Wall Street
In an overwhelming move towards racial justice, the undergraduate student body at Georgetown University voted to pay reparations to the descendants of 272 slaves who were sold by the university in 1838 to help the financially struggling school.
Strategically nestled in the back yard of Wash., D.C., Georgetown was founded in 1789, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit-affiliated institution of higher education in the United States.
The school plays a prominent role when it comes to developing policy for America, whether political or financial, and always has.
Pres. James Madison signed into law Georgetown’s congressional charter on March 1, 1815, creating the first federal university charter, which allowed it to confer degrees with the first bachelor’s degrees being awarded two years later. Much like all of the other Ivy League Schools, Georgetown has benefited from a wealth of prestige and boasts such alumni as President William Clinton and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
But in 1838 the school had fallen on hard times, and Jesuits in the state of Maryland concluded that they would sell their slaves to pay for the renovation of not only Georgetown, but several institutions in the state.
A year later, the Catholic Church would decry slavery as W.E.B DuBois mentions in his book, “Suppression Of The Slave-Trade.” In 1839, “Pope Gregory XVI stigmatized the slave-trade as utterly unworthy of the Christian name.”
There is no debate about the evils associated with slavery. We can no longer hide behind a cross that symbolizes human redemption and use it to cover the debauchery of slavery. If America wants to heal itself of this bombastic act against human freedom, reparations are a must.
The Prophet Isaiah said, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.”
And the children are leading. These Georgetown students took a courageous stance and we owe it to the integrity of this generation who continue to push the button around this issue. The ability to legislate the need for reparations is a model for the entire country to follow.
And if students care more about this issue than everyone else, then this is the wake-up call that America needs. Reminiscent of the Little Rock 9, John Lewis, The Greensboro Four, and The Tougaloo 9 college students, the future of this country have said enough is enough. When we consider the importance of Georgetown University’s relationship to America, it becomes even more resounding.