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Category: Georgetown Magazine, Spring 2023

Title:Reconciliation Fund supports Descendants of enslaved people

Author: Kate Colwell
Date Published: April 17, 2023

Georgetown University has selected its first cohort of grant awardees to support community-based projects with a focus on engaging the Descendants of the men, women, and children enslaved on Jesuit plantations in Maryland.

Inspired by an undergraduate student referendum in 2019, the Reconciliation Fund aims to benefit communities of Descendants, many of whom live in and around Maringouin, Louisiana, where their ancestors were forcibly moved after their sale by the Maryland Province of the Jesuits in 1838. To date, more than 500 alumni have provided financial support for the $400,000 annual fund.

“The Reconciliation Fund is a collective effort—an example of our community’s deep commitment to the possibilities that can emerge when we work in partnership to advance reconciliation,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “This project is one way the university is reckoning with the legacies of slavery that have shaped our past and to respond by advancing justice and equity in our present.”

The university benefitted from the enslavement of people of African descent through plantations owned by the Maryland Jesuits in the mid-19th century and from the practices of slavery and forced labor that took place on and around Georgetown’s campus.

In partnership with the university, a student committee and an advisory committee of Descendants developed the biannual grant application and selection process. “In order for us to grow as a society, we need to acknowledge and right the wrongs of the past,” says Zac Colon (G’26), vice chair of the Student Awards Committee.

Read about how Georgetown is supporting Descendant Communities >

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