Students At St. Louis University Say It’s Time To Acknowledge Institution’s Ties To Slavery

Descendants of people enslaved by St. Louis University (SLU) are urging the university to formally acknowledge its history with slavery.

Students say it’s time for this university to acknowledge its ties to slavery. Descendants of people enslaved by Saint Louis University are asking the administration to take formal steps toward acknowledging its history, including issuing a formal apology, PBS NewsHour reported.

“Our ancestors deserve to be taken from the darkness and brought into the light,” DSLUE’s Robin Proudie said during the announcement on Feb. 8.

The new 10-point plan from the Descendants of the Saint Louis University Enslaved (DSLUE) also urges the university to create a memorial to commemorate enslaved ancestors and establish an endowment to issue cash payments to “restore to the descendants the economic benefit they were deprived of.” It’s part of a renewed push for the administration to take action after years of advocacy by the descendants and the local community.

Students passed a resolution on April 24 asking the university to outline an action plan, and in a letter to DSLUE, St. Louis County NAACP president Adolphus M. Pruitt II threw support behind “the call for Saint Louis University (SLU) and the Society of the Jesuits (Society) to further acknowledge the harm that was inflicted upon these individuals and their descendants as a foundation for reconciliation and healing,” St. Louis Public Radio reported.

The remedies, laid out by the descendants, also call for a focus on scholarships including tuition, room, board, fees, books, and other related expenses for DSLUE descendants who seek to attend the school as well as entrepreneurial resources.

This, as the descendants pointed out, is consistent with was has been done at other educational institutions including Princeton Theological Seminary, Virginia Theological Seminary, and Loyola University Maryland.

“It is about all of us who are descendants, who have ancestors who helped to build this university, this city, this community, and this nation. And we are doing this for all of us,” Proudie told PBS NewsHour.


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