(NEXSTAR) — Georgetown has produced a president of the United States, two Supreme Court justices, more than 20 Rhode Scholars and a NCAA Championship basketball team. So, what’s the connection between Washington D.C. and the small town of Maringouin, Louisiana, which is located just west of Baton Rouge. Well, dozens of acres of land, mostly sugar cane fields are owned by the descendants of the 272 slaves are buried right here in this small cemetery and many of those slaves bought and sold by the priests at Georgetown University.
“When I got the first call telling me that there were names of slaves that were sold from Georgetown, that some of them were probably my relatives. As soon as he mentioned the name Cornelius Hawkins, it stood out to me, this is real,” said Maxine Crump.
Maxine Crump is the great-great granddaughter of Neely Hawkins, who died in 1902 at the age of 70. He was aboard one of those slave ships and was one of the 272.
Enter Georgetown University itself. The university has acknowledged and embraced the debt it owes to these folks and is doing something tangible to correct the wrong.
“To be able to walk this ground, which was once walked by some of the 272 that were sold in 1838 and to be able to experience this place is part of me trying to understand how best to bring immediacy of all of this into our current reality,” said John Degioia, Georgetown University President.
Degioia announced the university’s plans to make amends. Among the reparations, the school will offer priority admissions to the descendants of the slaves it sold.