Georgetown University's Healy Hall

A creative approach to Georgetown’s sin of slavery

In a comment to one of the many blog posts about a controversy concerning Georgetown University’s past with slavery, we read: “I did not enslave anyone. I did not profit from slavery.” Such an abrupt dismissal of the moral issues is alienating, but the responder who added this comment hung around long enough to quicken some creative thoughts. He rightfully reminded others that “it has been 150 years” since the founders of Georgetown sold 272 people into slavery, a horror story if we ever heard one, and we hear many. But “time has moved on.” What is more, “there is no one to ask forgiveness from, as the last slave died in the twentieth century.” The same responder went on to propose some practical reparatory and constructive attitudes and actions in our twenty-first century. One of the fortunate by-products of a controversy, which could have degenerated into stale rehashing of charges about “Political Correctness” or blame games in which “the other” is always the errant party, results in part because of the locale and heritage of the current controversy.