Our mission is to contribute to healing the self-inflicted, racist wounds that prevent America from being “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” – an ideal which has been, and continues to be, far from reality. Through learning and unlearning, we develop white allies to partner, indivisibly, with African American individuals and communities to practice the words from our Declaration of Independence in every aspect of our lives.
We were inspired to form Louisiana Rising, Ltd. when we learned about the GU272 Descendants Association. GU refers to Georgetown University, (formerly Georgetown College) which was built by enslaved people, owned by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in Maryland. In 1838, 272 of the hundreds of Jesuit-owned slaves were “sold down the river” to Louisiana sugarcane plantations by the leadership of the college to finance its survival and growth. This was one of the largest single slave sales in American history, and was unusually well documented
, with a shipping manifest that listed the enslaved people individually, as cargo.
Efforts by GU students, faculty, alumni, and descendants have found over 4,000 living descendants of the original 272, many of whom still live near the plantations where their enslaved ancestors toiled and died generations ago. The descendants have been afflicted by slavery’s legacy and by America’s historic systemic racism that continues today.
Anyone who wants to learn if they might be a GU272 Descendant may use the GU272 database, which shows the genealogy of many family groups. Hosted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, it can be found at gu272.americanancestors.org
For context on the history of slavery and the legacy of descendants of America’s enslaved people, The New York Times’s “The 1619 Project” is an excellent resource.
Louisiana Rising, Ltd. supports the NAACP and its Legal Defense Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Color of Change, American Civil Liberties Union, and Black-owned businesses. We operate independently of, and collaborate with the GU272 Descendants Association, of which we are Non-Descendant Members. However, we do not represent that association.