Elizabeth Thomas, a prospective Georgetown student has found out that the university had sold her family to slavery among 270 other slaves in 1838.
Getting into Georgetown
Elizabeth Thomas, a prospective Georgetown student, has always felt a connection to Georgetown’s campus, as her mother used to push her stroller through it when she was younger. However, she recently learned that the school sold her family into slavery in 1838, along with 270 other slaves.
“I never thought I was gonna be able to go to Georgetown. Not because I’m not academically smart, but I just know it’s such a prestigious school to get into,” she told HuffPost. “So now being here today, being accepted into this school, that in itself is super exciting. So I had this exciting moment, and then rededicating two of the buildings on the campus and my mom going up there being able to speak, it was so incredible. But now, I’m kind of in a stage where OK, I’ve been accepted into the school but there’s no scholarship opportunities.”
“I feel like this is a good start and I hope that if we continue, if the descendant group continues communications with Georgetown, we can push them further,” she said. “I think it’s just about doing what’s right and I think definitely more can be done. This is a start, but I definitely don’t think it’s enough, what they’ve done, to compensate for the things that my ancestors provided to the Jesuits and to Georgetown.”
When She Found Out
NY Times had written about slave women, children and men that were sold at the university back in 1838. When Elizabeth read it, she saw that apparently some of the slaves were sold and landed in her hometown, Maringouin, Louisiana. She then decided to follow up on the story and found that her great great great grandparents were among the 272 slaves that were sold at the time.
“Almost every African American in this country has some idea that they possibly came from slavery or more than likely did. But actually knowing the story ― and I was raised Catholic, I went to Catholic high school, so I know the Catholic Church isn’t perfect by any means ― but just having that whole story directly related to my family was really, really sad at first,” Elizabeth said to HuffPost.
“[It’s] really disheartening to think what my ancestors had to go through just to make it. Not just to survive through slavery but then to survive all the way to Louisiana, how mentally and physically strong they must have been.” she said.