Virginia Seminary Partly Built By Slaves Designates $1.7 Million For Slavery Reparations

The Virginia Theological Seminary is setting aside funds for descendants of enslaved persons that worked at the seminary.

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| September 11 2019,

12:31 am

A Christian seminary in Virginia plans to designate a $1.7 million endowment to fund reparations.

The Virginia Theological Seminary announced its plans in a press release, saying the goal is to recognize racism in the past and work toward healing in the future.

"Virginia Theological Seminary recognizes that enslaved persons worked on the campus, and that even after slavery ended, VTS participated in segregation," the seminary said. "VTS recognizes that we must start to repair the material consequences of our sin in the past."

According to the seminary, income from the endowment will be allocated in partnership with key stakeholders annually. 

The endowment is designed to address the needs of any descendants of enslaved persons that worked at the seminary, the work of African Americans in historic Black congregations, as well as other programs that promote justice and inclusion. 

The seminary said the fund is fully financed by Virginia Theological Seminary, with the goal of redressing slavery and its consequences. 

"Though no amount of money could ever truly compensate for slavery, the commitment of these financial resources means that the institution’s attitude of repentance is being supported by actions of repentance that can have a significant impact both on the recipients of the funds, as well as on those at VTS," the seminary said.

According to HuffPost, the seminary benefited from the work of enslaved African Americans on its Alexandria campus since it was founded in 1823. 

"At least one of its buildings, Aspinwall Hall, was built by slaves," HuffPost reported. "The school continued to discriminate against Black Americans even after slavery was abolished ― refusing to admit Black students until the 1950s."

According to CNN, VTS is the first institution to set up a reparations fund, although other colleges have offered scholarships to slave descendants.

"As we seek to mark Seminary's milestone of 200 years, we do so conscious that our past is a mixture of sin as well as grace," said the seminary's dean Rev. Ian Markham. "This is the Seminary recognizing that along with repentance for past sins, there is also a need for action.”


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