Descendants of slaves who built St. Louis University demand $74 billion in reparations

Descendants of slaves involved in building St. Louis University have demanded $74 billion in reparations for their ancestors’ unpaid labor. However, the university’s endowment is only $1.5 billion, meaning the demand exceeds the school’s assets by over 70 times.

Economist Julianne Malveaux suggests the descendants deserve $365 million, calculated based on the assumption that 70 enslaved individuals worked 24/7 from 1823 to 1865, according to the Daily Mail. The Descendants of St. Louis University Enslaved (DSLUE), a group organized by the great-grandchildren of slaves involved in building the university, are advocating for monetary reparations totaling $365 million.

They argue that with interest accrued over time, this sum would amount to $74 billion. The group of descendants joined by economists and civil rights attorneys gathered outside the Jesuit university, founded in 1818, to unveil their demands for reparations on Tuesday.

Civil rights attorney Areva Martin addressed a letter to University President Fred Pestello, urging the institution to improve. She said the university cannot be blind to its history of owning, selling, and trafficking slaves, to the extent that these individuals were denied wages, subjected to cruelty, and stripped of their humanity. She noted that slaves were relocated from Maryland to St. Louis specifically to construct the college.

Martin, representing more than 200 descendants of Henrietta Mills and Charles Chauvin, expressed a desire to collaborate with university leadership to devise a plan for compensating the descendants.

Robin Proudie, a great-granddaughter of Mills, said they’re not seeking a handout but rather payment of the debt owed to them.

“We decided as a family that we would stand up not only for us but for all of the enslaved descendants of those who built this country.”

Economist Malveaux said: “The calculations that we came up with and the method that we used are time-honored methods. The university, quite frankly, is overdue, negligent, and wrong.” Proudie established DSLUE upon discovering her ancestors’ enslavement in St. Louis.

A statement from SLU conceded the university’s historical involvement in slavery which it described as a grave sin. According to the university, it regrets the slow progress in reconciling with this past, though it is aware of the hurt and frustration it has caused.

“Continuing this work is a priority for SLU and the Society of Jesus. 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.”

In December 2022, St. Louis initiated a commission to deliberate on reparations for descendants affected by racist policies, posing significant challenges in a city with a sizable Black population and struggling socioeconomically.

Mayor Tishaura Jones, a Democrat, issued an executive order forming a nine-member volunteer commission to investigate and propose reparations, following the example of cities in Illinois, California, and Rhode Island.

Jones noted that “The people closest to the problems are closest to the solution.”

“I look forward to reviewing this commission’s work to chart a course that restores the vitality of black communities in our city after decades of disinvestment. We cannot succeed as a city if one-half is allowed to fail.”

Stephen Nartey

Recent Posts

1993 Ford Bronco used by OJ Simpson in infamous 90-minute car chase to go on sale for $1.5M

In the aftermath of O.J. Simpson’s death, the infamous white Bronco which is central to…

3 hours ago

Remains of 19-year-old WWII sailor who went missing finally identified

The body of David Walker, a 19-year-old black sailor from Norfolk, VA, who went missing…

6 hours ago

Nigeria’s Eniola Aluko is the first black woman to own a club in Italy

Eniola Aluko has made history by becoming the first black woman to own a club…

8 hours ago

After near-death experience, Serena Williams launches new initiative with Elaine Welteroth to help mothers

Elaine Welteroth, a mompreneur and TV personality, has partnered with 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena…

9 hours ago

How Levi’s stock jumped because of Beyonce’s new song

Levi’s stock rose 20% earlier this month following the release of a Beyoncé song called…

10 hours ago

Nigerian artist Fred Ajanogha to build Tina Turner’s bronze statue in her hometown

Tina Turner, a native of Brownsville, Tennessee, is set to receive a huge honor as…

11 hours ago

OJ Simpson’s family to cremate him amid several requests for his brain to be donated to research

OJ Simpson’s longtime attorney and executor Malcolm LaVergne said the deceased ex-NFL star’s brain would…

11 hours ago

Nigeria: Popular female transgender celebrity Bobrisky serving sentence in male prison

Popular Nigerian female transgender celebrity Bobrisky has been sentenced to six months in jail after…

12 hours ago

Brittney Griner and wife Cherelle announce they’re expecting their first child

WNBA star Brittney Griner and her wife Cherelle took to Instagram over the weekend to…

12 hours ago

TikTok star Mizzy vows to turn over a new leaf as he returns to college after serving prison sentence

TikTok troublemaker Mizzy, known for his controversial stunts, has claimed that he's turned over a…

3 days ago

HERide is the first Black-owned rideshare company authorized to operate at the world’s busiest airport

Jillian Anderson and DeVynne Starks are the founders of the female-friendly rideshare company HERide, which…

3 days ago

Watch: Conjoined twins give answers to people’s burning questions in viral video

Conjoined twins Lupita and Carmen Andrade have stepped forward to address some curiosity-driven questions that…

3 days ago

Oscar Pistorius begins new life as he performs janitorial duties at local church

The stark contrast between winning Paralympic gold and performing janitorial duties at a suburban church…

3 days ago

How this Senegalese entrepreneur grew her luxury tea brand with only $200

Adja Sembene Fall, a Senegalese entrepreneur, emerged victorious in the AgriPitch competition sponsored by the…

3 days ago

Ed Dwight: America’s first Black astronaut candidate will finally get his flight to space at 90

90-year-old Ed Dwight will at long last be able to fly into space. Jeff Bezos's…

3 days ago