Descendants of enslaved who built Missouri university want over $70 billion for unpaid slave labor

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Descendants of nan enslaved Black group who built a assemblage successful Missouri calculated that they were owed up to $74 billion successful unpaid labor.

The calculation was announced connected St. Louis University's campus [SLU] connected Thursday – an effort being pushed by nan Descendants of St. Louis University Enslaved [DSLUE]. 

DLSUE was joined by a authorities lawmaker, a civilian authorities attorney, and economists to denote their estimation of nan monetary value of unpaid labor successful nan building of SLU.

Based connected "labor for 24 hours per day, 365 days per twelvemonth for 70 enslaved group from 1823-1865," economist Julianne Malveaux estimated that $365 cardinal successful unpaid labour is owed. Furthermore, adding liking complete clip amounts to $70 billion.

Areva Martin, a civilian authorities lawyer and nan lead counsel for DSLUE, reportedly sent a missive to St. Louis University President Fred Pestello, saying that nan institution needs to do much to redeem itself moreover though nan institution has already "taken steps to admit and memorialize its history done nan Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project (SHMRP.)"


The SHMRP was a study issued successful 2016 based connected an investigation of SLU’s ties to nan institution of slavery.

"That study revealed that Jesuits forcefully relocated slaves from Maryland successful 1823 to St. Louis specifically to utilization their stolen labour and skills to build St. Louis University," Martin said. 

Noting that SLU owned, sold, and trafficked slaves until 1865, Martin said that "those enslaved were robbed of wages, and treated pinch cruelty and disregarded for their humanity." 

She explained further that though SLU acknowledged its ties to enslaved practices, specified "acknowledgments" do not make her clients "whole."

"I look guardant to moving pinch assemblage activity to travel up pinch a scheme to compensate nan descendants for what they are rightfully owed," Martin said.

Martin is representing complete 200 descendants of Henrietta Mills and Charles Chauvin who are portion of DSLUE. 

Proudie, a great-grandaughter of Mills, said "We’re not asking for a handout."

She explained further, "We’re asking for their indebtedness to beryllium paid."

DSLUE was founded by Proudie who started nan statement aft learning that Mills, her great-grandmother, was calved into slavery astatine St. Louis University successful 1844–information she discovered from original documents from nan Saint Louis University Archives.

According to nan DSLUE website, Proudie studied Saint Louis University, nan USA Central, and Southern Province Jesuits’ "ties to nan institution of slavery."


"The investigation has since revealed that complete a 100 of her ancestors were trafficked by SLU and nan Jesuits successful Missouri from 1823-1865," nan DSLUE stated. They went connected to say, "For Robin, nan names connected nan records breathed backmost to life nan barren bones of a people, ancestors who had been used, slained, and forgotten."

SLU officials did not instantly respond to a petition for comment.

According to Spectrum News, SLU sent a connection that they cannot yet "offer a elaborate response" to nan calculations and remarks made astatine nan property convention connected Thursday.  

"SLU’s information successful nan institution of slavery was a sedate sin. We admit that advancement connected our efforts to reconcile pinch this shameful history has been slow, and we regret nan wounded and vexation this has caused," SLU said. 

"Continuing this activity is simply a privilege for SLU and nan Society of Jesus. As we move forward, we dream to re-establish and build deeper relationships pinch each descendant families, to research together really champion to grant nan representation of those who were enslaved by nan Jesuits."