In 2016, Rachel Swarns wrote an article in the New York Times that changed my life, and the life of my family. The article titled, "272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants?" told the incredibly sad story of the 272 enslaved people by the Jesuits at Georgetown University in 1838 whom were sold to Maringouin, LA to save the university. My mother read this article and decided to do some further research because our family is from Maringouin. While reading the inventory of the enslaved to be sold, she saw the names of my great-great-great grandparents Sam and Betsy Harris. How incredible!
This discovery has begun a journey like no other. Georgetown has taken steps to right this wrong, one of those being giving descendants preferential status if they choose to apply to the university. When they made this announcement, I immediately decided to apply. I always wanted to further my education and I thought this would be a great opportunity to not only attend a prestigious university, but to go back to where my family’s roots began in the United States.
After 6 long weeks of waiting, I finally got the news that I was accepted into the Spring 2018 MPS-Journalism program! While this news made me extremely happy, a harsh realization quickly set in. Even though I was accepted and may perhaps receive some assistance with tuition, I will still face the daunting task of securing and paying for housing in Washington, D.C. Which means that to attend the university that my ancestors were forced to build and sold to help ensure its' future, I must go into debt.
Which brings me to why I created this GoFundMe Page. My mother is a widow with 5 children and does not have the funds to support me moving and attending Georgetown. While I am currently employed, the amount of money I make cannot begin to cover the tuition, moving and housing costs. I have attached links to the various stories written about my ancestors, others enslaved by the Jesuits, and the New York Times Live Feed that featured my brother, my mother and me.
Wishing you the best,
- Victoria Chamberlin
- William Thomas
- Alex Troesch
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