“‘A Million Questions’ From Descendants of Slaves Sold to Aid Georgetown”

“Orlando Ward, 55
Great-great-great-grandson of Bill and Mary Ann Hill…
Let’s jump ahead and talk about reparations. How do you really value the damage that was done in a way that’s straightforward and fair? Everybody should have scholarships, yes. But not everybody wants to go to Georgetown. The more important thing to me is to memorialize the 272 and, at the same time, the people who sold them and the people who brought the slaves to Louisiana. What do their descendants have to say about it? I don’t know all the emotions they would go through; I can’t fully get into their shoes. But I think it’s important for both sides to be pointed out and memorialized, not villainized, to begin to build a model for healthy dialogue.
I have a 12-year-old son, and we live in a fairly diverse community where African-Americans are in the minority. He had a history project not too long ago where kids were asked to trace their families. Many of his European-American classmates could go all the way back to Ireland, England and Spain. I could take him to Louisiana, and that’s as far as I could go. As African-Americans, we’ve grown to accept that. But we’ve also known there’s another door there that we didn’t have a key to.”