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Slave descendants want $74,000,000,000 from Saint Louis University

‘We’re not asking for a handout. We’re asking for their debt to be paid’

Saint Louis University should hand over $74 billion in reparations to the descendants of slaves who reportedly built the Jesuit Catholic school, an advocacy group announced recently.

The Descendants of the St. Louis University Enslaved group laid out their demands during a press conference last week. The $74 billion number came from economist Julianne Malveaux who apparently believes the slaves never slept.

“An estimated $365 million in unpaid labor was announced, and with added interest over time, amounts to $70 billion, according to Malveaux,” as reported by Spectrum News. “The number was based on labor done 24 hours per day, 365 days per year for 70 enslaved people from 1823-1865, she said.”

“We’re not asking for a handout. We’re asking for their debt to be paid,” one descendant said.

The group is represented by Areva Martin (pictured), a “civil rights attorney” and CNN commentator.

While the university usually caves to demands from racial activists, they weren’t as promising that they’d hand over $74 billion.

“SLU’s participation in the institution of slavery was a grave sin. We acknowledge that progress on our efforts to reconcile with this shameful history has been slow, and we regret the hurt and frustration this has caused,” the university told the media.

“Continuing this work is a priority for SLU and the Society of Jesus,” the university stated. “As we move forward, we hope to re-establish and build deeper relationships with all descendant families, to explore together how best to honor the memory of those who were enslaved by the Jesuits.”

Georgetown University, which is also run by the Jesuits, created a $1 billion fund to compensate for its past involvement in slavery. However, there are no direct payments and descendants have questioned where the money is going.

“NOBODY( Georgetown /SOJ/ The Descendant Truth and Reconciliation) TALKS TO US,” one descendant told The College Fix in 2022.

Georgetown first announced the plan to much fanfare, including a New York Times write-up. The D.C. university planned to raise $1 billion, according to an April 2021 announcement, with a short-term goal of $100 million.

In May 2023, the university announced the first five recipients of grants from a $400,000 per year pool.

Georgetown announced:

The five projects, located in Maryland and Louisiana, have a variety of goals and communities they’ll reach, including engaging young adults in rebuilding blighted homes in New Orleans; providing free legal services to families of loved ones with severe mental illnesses; uniting and connecting members of the Descendant community; launching a high school tutoring program that’s co-organized by a Descendant and Georgetown community members; and providing educational programming for children.

Should SLU pay reparations to the slave descendants? Probably not. It is not clear how they have suffered direct harm from their ancestors being enslaved. It was morally wrong for anyone to be enslaved, but what is there to be repaired?

There is a case to be made for using some money to honor the past slaves.

For example, if they did not have a proper burial due to being slaves or living in poverty, the university might consider setting up a quality cemetery near or on campus to bury the remains.

That could uphold the horrific truth of slavery – while also moving toward reconciliation.

MORE: Columbia professor wants $2 trillion in education reparations

IMAGE: KSDK News/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.