Episode 767: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part Two : Planet Money In 1838, the Maryland Jesuits sold 272 people, slaves, to pay the debts of Georgetown University. We talk with the descendants about what - if anything - they're owed.
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Episode 767: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part Two

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Episode 767: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part Two

Episode 767: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part Two

Episode 767: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part Two

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/525769269/525808476" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Maringouin, Louisiana is a town of about 1,100 people.
Noel King/NPR

This is part two of a two part series. Listen to part one here.

In 1838, Jesuit priests sold a group of 272 men, women, and children - slaves - to pay off Georgetown University's debts. The slaves were sent from Maryland to Louisiana. In part one of this two part episode, we told the story of how the residents of a small town discovered where they'd come from. Now in part two, we ask what, if anything, Georgetown owes the descendants of those slaves.

Georgetown has announced that it will offer preferential admissions status to descendants of the 272 who apply there. And the Georgetown Working Group that's studying the school's links to slavery says it has "frequently returned to the question of reparations...convinced that reparative justice requires a meaningful financial commitment from the University."

But there's division among the more than 4,000 descendants scattered across the country about whether Georgetown should pay anything. Some say yes, we are owed money. And others say no, you can't put a dollar figure on our ancestors' lives.

Today on the show, reparations for slavery. We hear from some descendants about what they think they're owed and from people who have spent their entire careers calculating what that number might be.

Music: "This is Life," "Behind the Bayou," and "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere."

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