Georgetown University and the Enslaved


This story is one of many.  In reviewing the comments to this article, I read arguments on both sides of the fence regarding reparation for the descendants of formally enslaved persons in the African Diaspora. Questions regarding responsibility, who is worthy, who might be blamable, who should is allowed to feel victimize, and who is required to forgive (meaning forget) the past/history are consistently charged well rehearsed scripts of 21st century ideological and racial divide.   Interestingly I rarely hear any of the recipients of the wealth that was culled on the backs and lives of enslaved Africans asking for full social and economic amnesia of the past.  By this I specifically mean the relinquishment the accrued economic value (bank accounts, real estate, and any economic worth that was the result of the lives, blood, and toil of enslaved Africans in this land) as a part of the well-touted promotion of social and historical amnesia.  Where would this wealth go? I have no clear and specific idea as to where this vast wealth should be warehoused, what immediately comes to mind is a public trust (I will write more on this idea later).  My point here is that the ‘let’s forget the past and move on’ folks would do well to be aware of unidirectional-ity of their suggested amnesia rhetoric (and culturally genetic impetus).  As in, those people over there, need to forget the past, and… move on.   This exhaustively rehearsed narrative that leaves  the ‘let’s forget the past and move on’ folks and their allies ruthlessly suckling the milk of enslavement culture and legacy whilst claiming  to not have been alive (to not have been born) at the scene of the crime is a rouse.   For they are alive now.  The wealth borne from the backs, blood and breasts of enslaved Africans of the past is very much a significant part of their 21st century bank accounts and wealth portfolios.  Enslaved blood and bodies still fertilize the land (have you seen the beauty of Georgetown’s campus?) in to which they (the descendants of slaveholders) claim ownership,  and the sweat and tears of enslaved Africans ferment the sweet air.  The very breath one breathes is infused with enslaved Africans’ sweat and tears.  You can definitely taste.


Published by: Dream Without Borders

Artist| Scientist| Creative Entrepreneur| Activist: working at intersections of arts, health, healing, and activism, my practice focuses on the performance and performative articulations of vulnerable bodies, exploring and examining expressions of identity and belonging. I hold particular interest in the lives and aspirations of the African Diaspora/Black Atlantic in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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