Comments Section: “Beyond the 272 Sold in 1838, Plotting the National Diaspora of Jesuit-Owned Slaves”

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11 Comments

  1. Nick Smith says:

    The beginning sentence is historically inaccurate and part of multiple distortions regarding this issue.

    University records show Mulledy WAS NOT president of Georgetown in 1838 when the slaves were sold and that INSTEAD he was the head of the Maryland Society of Jesus which owned the slaves and was responsible for selling them.

    Georgetown didn’t own the slaves. Georgetown didn’t sell them. Jesuits up in Maryland did.

    Here is the timeline.

    17. Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy, S.J.* 1829 1837
    18. Rev. William McSherry, S.J.* 1838 1840 (GU President when the slaves were sold)
    19. Rev. Joeseph A. Lopez, S.J. 1840 1840
    20. Rev. James A. Ryder, S.J.* 1840 1845
    21. Rev. Samuel Mulledy, S.J.* 1845 1845
    22. Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy, S.J.* 1845 1848

    This means, of course, that neither Georgetown, its employees, nor future Hoyas are in any way responsible. Yet we are to believe Georgetown owes reparations.

    Why?

    Some might say b/c proceeds from the sale went to pay off GU’s debt.

    Even so, that doesn’t make GU responsible for reparations any more than the African countries and tribes whose ancestors originally captured and sold these slaves to white slave traders (minus the ones these black people kept as slaves for themselves or sold to Arabs).

    And one can argue reparations have already been paid via affirmative action, special race-based scholarship programs, and of course, trillions in welfare spending across many decades. Not to mention the fact hundreds of thousands of white people died in a war to end slavery, which if we are being honest, still exists in African countries today, though nobody likes to talk about it.

    Of course, no one ever mentions the history of white slavery either in the colonies or human history, nor the fact that pretty much every civilization had slaves at one point or another, and the historical truth that some black people (yes, black people) in America prior to the Civil War actually owned black slaves themselves.

    No, we should never mention any of that, because it would get in the way of demonizing a certain group of people who every likes to beat up upon.

    All that said, I hope that if GU does get conned into giving “reparations,” they actually go to the descendants, and not the professional black activists who perpetuate a cycle of victimhood and racial identity politics and try to profit off of other people’s misery in order to fill their own wallets.

    • Matthew Quallen says:

      Nick,

      I just want to briefly address a few historical points, concerning strictly the relationship between GU, Mulledy, McSherry, the Jesuits and the sale.

      You are of course correct to highlight the mistake in the Editor’s note: At the time the sale took place, Thomas Mulledy was no longer serving as president of Georgetown; he had just become the provincial of the Maryland Jesuits, who owned the slaves sold in 1838.

      But this misses a few complications. Although Mulledy was not serving as president at the time, Georgetown and the Jesuits were much more closely intertwined in 1838 than they are today. What’s more, Mulledy did not conduct the sale without help. He actually named then president of Georgetown College William McSherry as his “attorney” for the sale, and McSherry conducted much of the business of the sale as president. Henry Johnson, who purchased many of the slaves, addressed related correspondence to “President, Georgetown College” and travelled to Washington and Georgetown — not Maryland — to finalize the deal, whose down payment went mostly the Georgetown.

      In the most technical sense, Georgetown did not sell the slaves. But the more subtle truth — that Georgetown officials, who were also Jesuits, helped sell the Jesuit’s slaves in order to bail out Georgetown, which was then not a substantially separate institution from the Maryland Jesuits — isn’t too far away.

      • Roberto Barreto says:

        SO, in essence what you imply is that because McSherry was the attorney for the transaction and he was the president of the university at the time, Georgetown University is responsible.
        I think that your assessment is flawed. Unless you can establish clearly that McSherry was acting as an official of the college for the transaction, I don’t see how the college can be held responsible for the actions of the Jesuits.
        Further more if this transaction was actually performed by the Jesuits and you want to place blame somewhere, how about the other slaves that the Jesuits owned. The actual count goes to over 400 and only a portion of those are being given special status.
        I don’t believe that this is a correct action on the part of the college and further don’t believe that any special considerations should be given to descendants of slave beyond two generations after emancipation was achieved.
        Where does it ends and what kind of a precedent is Georgetown University setting?

    • Thank you Nick,
      Once again the slippery Jesuits have managed to dodge the bullet and blame those who gave them a place to push their agenda or call it what you want. When this story broke I read up and kept coming up with the same facts that GT will take the blame and Jesuits will continue to rape and pillage to this day around the world only to blame the UN or Military Schools who have agreed to do ‘business with them’.
      Thank you for the best post I’ve ever read
      Neal Gumpel
      Victim of Fordham Jesuit Roy Drake
      Neal2tire@yahoo.com

  2. John Hoya says:

    Absolutely absurd arguments in the NYTimes article regarding reparations or setting up scholarships for descendants. No one is guilty for the sins of their ancestors, and judging the past through the lense of the present is just plain silly. Reparation supporters appear to be a bunch of self-righteous individuals searching for an easy target for their holier-than-thou wrath. By the same logic, France deserves reparations from Italy for Ceasar invading Gaul and much of Asia deserves payment from Mongolia. Yes, those events were long ago…..but on further reflection all of the individuals form the 1820s, their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are all long dead. After all, going by the same logic and using the same time period, I guess the US and Canada should given back most of their territory to native Americans. Such infantile logic. It’s long past time to move on.

  3. Dolores Byrnes says:

    I am writing SLU’s bicentennial history (for 2018) & have been able to verify some primary sources on slave-holding. SLU held a symposium in November 2015 on “Jesuits and Race” (http://www.slu.edu/1111-jesuit_race_symposium) as part of this conversation, meanwhile the library archives staff are compiling a resource guide for the website; I will post it to this thread soon. The SOJ has written key scholarship on this tragic issue over the decades, incl. Beckett and Curran, while Garraghan’s history of the Jesuits covers many details. The Missouri Province Archives has this guide to SLU, incl slave-related history: http://jesuitarchives.org/collections/missouri-province-archive/saint-louis-university-collection/. Also check out Nathaniel Millett and C.Wayne Gollar scholarship. We welcome any information that people wish to share. This is an ongoing project for us to learn more, while we continue our work here in St. Louis. Thank you.
    Dolores Byrnes

  4. Perhaps GU should name many buildings after the slaves in perpetuity?

  5. Patricia Hulting says:

    My brothers and sister are graduates of a Jesuit college, Rockhurst. I could not attend as it was a gendered school and so I attended another Catholic college. I have read this article and the NY Times story today with horror and shame. I was unaware that the institutional church traded in enslaved people. I cannot comprehend the moral depravity of ordained churchmen selling men, women and children. That these monsters took their slaves to the state where my siblings attended a Jesuit college has robbed me of my belief in the decency of their experience.

  6. I just replied to Nick Smith’s initial comment and not sure if it will show up but I feel it’s important to note that the Jesuits have an incredible way of dodging the bullet and setting up those around them to take the blame.
    Take my case in which a Fordham Jesuit (Father Roy Drake) sodomized a 13 year old prep student and low and behold good ole’ Roy is on a four year ‘sabbatical’ at a boys academy in Maine. So when Father Roy Drake Jesuit strangles and rapes me in Maine who am I to blame?
    Anyone in their right mind would say “the Fordham Jesuits” but it seems the Jesuits have told me and my legal team (see movie Spotlight Mitchell Garabedian) that my issue is with the State of Maine….
    To add that Roy Drake was allowed back into the fold at Fordham a few years later when the dust settled. Allowed back as a Jesuit to live out his life in luxury.
    Sorry for getting off course. Who is to blame? GT or the Jesuits. Perhaps it’s best to knock down the buildings built by those dear god fearing victims of slavery or better yet make the Jesuits pay for their shuffling around of guilt.
    Thanks for hearing me out
    Neal Gumpel
    Neal2tire@yahoo.com
    outside the gates of Fordham every other week demonstrating

  7. Laverne Thigpen says:

    The history of Georgetown University is a shame in the face of GOD.

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