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Who Gains and Who's Left Out of Georgetown's Reparations Plan

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tags: slavery, Georgetown, reparations



Georgetown University says it will try to atone to the descendants of slaves sold more than a century ago. One concrete step is "preferential admissions" for descendants, but it doesn't help everyone.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Four thousand or so people are struggling with a difficult question right now. They recently found out that they are descendants of slaves who were sold to pay a debt owed by Georgetown University. Georgetown is trying to make amends.

Noel King from our Planet Money team has been talking to descendants across the country as they try to figure out what, if anything, they think Georgetown owes them and what they would accept.

NOEL KING, BYLINE: More than 4,000 descendants have been identified. That's 4,000 or so opinions on what should happen next. News of the Georgetown sale broke about a year ago. Scott Williams was at work, a Verizon store in Atlanta, when he got a call from his uncle.

SCOTT WILLIAMS: He said, hey, I've got some news for you. Are you standing up or sitting down?

KING: And then his uncle told him about the sale.

WILLIAMS: I was totally speechless.

KING: Scott is African-American so yes, he thought about slavery before but this was his own family.

WILLIAMS: It's almost like time stopped for a moment.


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