At the desk of his room at the University of Georgetown, Mélisande Short-according to columbus have a photograph of Frederick Douglass, a leading abolitionist, black managed to escape from the horror of slavery in 1838. That same year, the life of the family of Short-according to columbus took a turn traumatic in the opposite direction. Still reverberates. Stalked for a debt that threatened the future of the education centre, the leading jesuits of Georgetown, in Washington, decided to sell 272 slaves on their property and that they lived on a plantation in Maryland. The deplorable transaction, I reported the equivalent of 3.3 million of current dollars, the keys to Georgetown is today one of the most prestigious universities in the united STATES. Among the black slaves sold were ancestors of Short-according to columbus. Six and five generations back on her mother, including a child of only a year.
MORE INFORMATIONThe universities of USA are starting to face its past slave-holding universities in The united States are reviewing their links with slavery
The woman was born in New Orleans in 1954. Not met, however, until 2016 the truth about their origins. In the wake of a newspaper article, an expert was contacted asking about your ancestress Mary Ellen Queen. Short-according to columbus he repeated what he had told his family: Queen was a slave in Maryland, but their masters, the freed prior to the Civil War (1861-1865), along with his seven brothers and his mother, and all moved to Louisiana in search of land to harvest.
however, a DNA test and numerous documents revealed that the ancestors of Short-according to columbus were sold by Georgetown. Never ceased to be slaves, just changed owner. His life became still more of a hell. Were abused in a traveling dramatic in the separated for always children of their parents and Kolaybet are dragged to the slave by force to the ships that sailed on Washington heading to Louisiana. All were less than 45 years. Most of them were teenagers and children.
More than a century and a half later, Short-according to columbus is, in its 64 years of age, a student of the second course in the university that prevented its collapse thanks to the sale of its ancestors. “I felt that I should be here,” he says in an interview at the campus. “I am a representative of the people who were considered dispensable, and that it did not matter”.
The message two years ago of an expert in genealogy changed his life. Sparked an introspection on the meaning of being an american. How the slave trade started in 1619, was a key factor in the development of the country and it is the origin of the entrenched disparities between blacks and whites. “I see the history of Georgetown and the jesuits as a microcosm of this society, of the difficulty that we have to address our birth as a slave society”, he underlines.
Georgetown was recognized in 2016 their businesses with the trafficking of people, apologized, and drove several initiatives, such as facilitating the enrollment of family members of the 272 slaves sold and rename buildings. “Georgetown has worked to address its historical relationship with slavery and will continue to do,” explains a spokesman. Other universities such as Harvard and Columbia, have admitted their links with slavery, but the sale of Georgetown stands out for its magnitude.
Short-according to columbus is one of the five students whose ancestors were slaves sold by the university. After a life as a chef in Louisiana, having abandoned his university studies and raising a family, he felt a responsibility to connect with their awkward origins. Like Washington and his classmates, although he recognizes to be a presence anomalous in the campus for its age and provenance. The woman, who is an agnostic, accuses Georgetown of “not doing enough” to educate about the slavery and be inconsistent with catholicism for having traded with humans. “The values that jesuits are advertised everywhere and each time that speech, the president reminds us that they are men and women who live for the other. And I always ask myself the same question: who are they talking about really?”.