Aboard the papal plane (CNN) If US President Donald Trump considers himself “pro-life,” he should reconsider his decision to end a program that allows the children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States, Pope Francis said.
“The President of the United States presents himself as pro-life and if he is a good pro-lifer, he understands that family is the cradle of life and its unity must be protected,” Francis said.
The Pope’s comments came during a news conference Sunday aboard the papal plane, as he returned to the Vatican after a five-day trip to Colombia. In the wide-ranging Q&A with reporters, the Pope also said history will harshly judge deniers of climate change.
The Pope acknowledged that he was not familiar with the specifics of DACA. “I think this law comes not from parliament but from the executive,” the Pope said. “If that is so, I am hopeful that it will be re-thought.”
Trump fired back, saying that no religious leader should question another man’s faith.
The US Catholic bishops have also battled a former Trump administration official on DACA in recent days.
Steve Bannon, who until recently was Trump’s chief strategist, accused the bishops of having an ulterior motive in advocating for families affected by the decision to revoke DACA. They have called the decision “heartless” and “reprehensible.”
As the papal plane prepared to cross over Hurricane Irma’s path on its way back to Rome from Cartagena, Francis issued a stern warning to climate change deniers.
“If we don’t go back, we will go down,” the Pope said, referring to a study which suggested the world must reverse course within the next few years or suffer dire consequences.
Francis said he was particularly struck by news last week of a Russian boat that managed to go through the North Pole without an icebreaker.
“Whoever denies it has to go to the scientists and ask them,” he said. “They speak very clearly, scientists are precise.”
“Then they decide and history will judge those decisions.”
When asked why some governments refused to see the importance of the issue, Francis quoted the book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
“Man is a stupid and hard-headed being,” he said.
Francis said he did not fully understand the crisis in North Korea. “I’ll tell you the truth, I don’t really understand the world of geopolitics,” he said. “I think what I see there is a fight for political interests.”
Francis’ message throughout his five-day visit to Colombia had been one of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is a hard message for many Colombians, who still have the trauma of kidnappings and killings fresh in their minds, but one which seems to have already had an important effect.
The leader of the guerrilla group FARC, Rodrigo Londono, asked forgiveness on Friday for the suffering his group caused to the Colombian people, in an open letter to Pope Francis.
“Your repeated expressions about God’s infinite mercy move me to plead your forgiveness for any tears and pain that we have caused the people of Colombia,” Londono wrote.
CNN’s Daniel Burke contributed to this report.
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Colombian President: Pope has ‘tremendous leadership’
Villavicencio, Colombia (CNN)Amid lush greenery and tropical humidity, Pope Francis touched down in Villavicencio on Friday, bringing his message of peace to one of the most notorious sites of guerrilla warfare in Colombia for the past 50 years.
Here, in one of the last major cities before the vast expanse of the Amazon, the Pope listened to powerful testimonies from ex-guerrilla fighters and from victims of their violence, such as Pastora Mira Garcia, who lost her father, husband and two children during the civil war.
“Do not be afraid of asking for forgiveness and offering it,” the Pope told them. “It is time to defuse hatred, to renounce vengeance.”
It is a message the Pope has echoed throughout this five-day visit in the country, aiming to help Colombians, many of whose memories are still fresh with crimes committed against them, embrace the historic peace agreement reached in December 2016.
Rebels ask for forgiveness
There are signs that Francis’ words may be having an effect.
In an open letter to the Pope published on Friday, Rodrigo Londono, former leader of the leftist guerrilla group FARC, asked for forgiveness from Francis for the actions of his group during five decades of war.
“Your repeated expressions about God’s infinite mercy move me to plead your forgiveness for any tears and pain that we have caused the people of Colombia, Londono wrote.
At a Mass on Friday, Pope Francis beatified two Catholic priests who were murdered during the years of the civil war, calling their martyrdom a sign “of a people who wish to rise up out of the swamp of violence and bitterness.”
Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve of Arauca was kidnapped and shot twice in the head by Colombian Marxist guerrillas in 1989.
The Rev. Pedro Maria Ramirez Ramos, known asNM! the “martyr of Armero,” was killed at the start of the Colombian civil war in 1948. The conflict claimed an estimated 220,000 lives.
Pope meets Venezuelan bishops
On Thursday, in an unscheduled private meeting, Pope Francis briefly spoke with bishops who had come from Venezuela.
Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, told reporters in Bogota that the bishops had come to ask the Pope for help for the “desperate situation,” in their country.
“There are people who eat garbage,” Urosa said, “yes, the garbage, and there are people who die because there is no medicine.”
“So we want to remind the Pope of this again and especially the serious political situation, because the government is doing everything possible to establish a state system, totalitarian and Marxist.”
Francis continues his visit in Medellin on Saturday and Cartagena on Sunday, before returning to the Vatican later that evening.
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Video footage from the city showed residents crying over a list of missing children, along with their ages, pinned to a family welfare centre.
“We have lost a baby, who has gone missing,” one resident told reporters. “A little baby, we can’t find him anywhere.”
President Juan Manuel Santos declared a state of emergency in the region and flew in to oversee the rescue effort.
“We will do everything possible to help,” he said. “It breaks my heart.”
A senior UN official in Colombia, Martin Santiago, blamed climate change, saying it had caused “tremendous results in terms of intensity, frequency and magnitude of these natural effects” in the region.
Others said deforestation has also played a role. “When the basins are deforested, they break down. It is as if we remove the protection for avoiding landslides,” said Adriana Soto, a Colombian conservationist and former environment minister.
The Colombian Air Force is bringing supplies to the area as the search operation continues.
With no running water in Mocoa, one resident told El Tiempo newspaper that they had been collecting rainwater. Power lines are also out across the area.
Photos posted to social media by the air force showed some patients being evacuated by air.
“Our heroes will remain in the tragedy zone until the emergency is over,” the army’s statement said.
Colombia’s director of the National Disaster Risk Management Unit told the AFP news agency that a third of the region’s expected monthly rain fell during one night.
Although rainfall is abundant in the area, this downpour was unusually heavy and caused rivers to burst their banks.
The overflow then picked up mud and debris, creating a cascade.
Video footage of the aftermath showed currents so strong that abandoned lorries were propelled through the flooded streets.
Local resident Mario Usale, 42, told Reuters he was searching for his father-in-law.
“My mother-in-law was also missing, but we found her alive 2km (1.25 miles) away. She has head injuries, but she was conscious,” he said.
Landslides have struck the region several times in recent months.
In November, nine people died in the town of El Tambo, about 140km (90 miles) from Mocoa, during a landslide that followed heavy rain.
International flight regulations require aircraft to carry enough reserve fuel so they can fly for 30 minutes after reaching their destination in case they need to circle before landing or fly to another airport. (AFP)
The plane that crashed in Colombia killing 71 people including most of a Brazilian soccer team had no fuel on impact, according to initial findings by aviation officials, prompting an investigation into why the plane flew under those conditions.The comments by the civil aviation authority late Wednesday night confirmed Bolivian pilot Miguel Quiroga’s final words to the control tower at Medellin’s airport on a crackly audio obtained by Colombian media.
“When we arrived at the accident site and were able to inspect the remains we could confirm that the aircraft had no fuel at the time of impact,” said Freddy Bonilla, secretary of airline security at Colombia’s aviation authority.
A recording of the pilot’s final words can be heard telling the control tower the plane was “in total failure, total electrical failure, without fuel.”
He requested urgent permission to land before the audio went silent. The BAe 146, made by BAE Systems Plc, slammed into a mountainside next to the town of La Union outside Medellin.
Only six on board the LAMIA Bolivia charter flight survived, including three of the Chapecoense soccer team en route to the Copa Sudamericana final, the biggest game in their history, a journalist and two crew members.
International flight regulations require aircraft to carry enough reserve fuel so they can fly for 30 minutes after reaching their destination in case they need to circle before landing or fly to another airport.
“In this case, sadly, the aircraft did not have enough fuel to meet the regulations for contingency,” Bonilla said in Medellin. “One of the theories we are working on is that finding no fuel at the crash site or in the alimentation tubes, the aircraft suffered fell for lack of fuel.”
LAMIA Chief Executive Officer Gustavo Vargas said on Wednesday it is at the pilot’s discretion to refuel en route. He said plane should have enough fuel for about four and a half hours, more or less depending on weather.
“Weather conditions influence a lot, but he had alternatives in Bogata in case of a fuel deficiency. He had all the power to go to refuel. It’s a decision that the pilot takes,” Vargas told reporters in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Bonillo said weather conditions in Medellin at the time were optimum for a successful landing.
Some have also questioned why Chapecoense used the charter company instead of a commercial airline.
Investigators from Brazil have joined Colombian counterparts to check two black boxes from the crash site on a muddy hillside in wooded highlands near La Union.
Bolivia, where LAMIA is based, and the United Kingdom also sent experts to help the probe.
The club’s vice president, Luiz Antonio Palaoro, said LAMIA had a track record of transporting soccer teams around South America and it had used the airline before.
“We are dealing with the humanitarian aspect of the families and the victims,” Palaoro told reporters in Chapeco. “After that, we are going to have to think about restructuring the team and also in the appropriate legal measures.”
Among surviving players, goalkeeper Jackson Follmann’s right leg was amputated, while defender Helio Neto was in intensive care with severe trauma to his skull, thorax and lungs, and fellow defender Alan Ruschel had spinal surgery.
Two of the Bolivian flight crew, Ximena Suarez and Erwin Tumiri, were bruised but not in critical condition, while journalist Rafael Valmorbida was in intensive care for multiple rib fractures that partly collapsed a lung.
Rescuers have recovered all of the bodies, which are to be sent to Brazil and Bolivia.
The bodies of Brazilians on the plane have been identified and are being embalmed and prepared for transport by military aircraft back to Brazil, Chapecoense soccer club Communications Director Andrei Copetti told reporters.
He said the coffins will arrive in Chapeco as soon as midday Friday and be taken directly to the club’s stadium for a collective wake that Brazilian President Michel Temer is expected to attend.
Since there was no fire on board, bodies are being identified by fingerprints, Julio Bitelli, Brazil’s ambassador to Colombia, told Reuters.
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BOGATA — Colombia’s Congress approved a new peace deal with FARC rebels late on Wednesday, despite objections from former President and now Senator Alvaro Uribe, who said it was still too lenient on the insurgents who have battled the government for 52 years.
The agreement was approved in the lower house by 130-0, a day after the Senate ratified it 75-0. Lawmakers from Uribe’s Democratic Center party left the floors of both houses in protest just before voting began.
The ratification — and signing last week — begins a six-month countdown for the 7,000-strong FARC, which started as a rebellion fighting rural poverty, to abandon weapons and form a political party.
President Juan Manuel Santos and rebel leader Rodrigo Londono signed the revised accord last week in a sober ceremony after the first deal was rejected in a national plebiscite.
Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in October for his peace efforts, wants to get the deal implemented as quickly as possible to maintain a fragile ceasefire.
Uribe’s supporters argued the deal offered too many concessions to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and did not serve as a deterrent for other groups involved in crime.
“Let’s not forget what we are doing today, we’re trying to end more than 50 years of war,” government negotiator Sergio Jaramillo said.
The new agreement to end Latin America’s longest insurgency was put together in just over a month after the original pact — which allowed the rebels to hold public office and skip jail — was narrowly and unexpectedly defeated in an Oct. 2 referendum.
While the government says the accord includes most of the proposals put forward by those who rejected it, the new document did not alter those two key provisions. That angered many among Colombia’s largely conservative population, who are also furious that Santos decided to ratify the deal in Congress instead of holding another plebiscite.
The government and FARC worked together in Cuba for four years to negotiate an end to the region’s longest-running conflict that has killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions in the Andean nation.
An end to the war with FARC is unlikely to end violence in Colombia as the lucrative cocaine business has given rise to criminal gangs and traffickers.
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A plane carrying 81 people, including a top Brazilian football team, has crashed on its approach to the city of Medellin in Colombia, officials say.
Reports say there are 25 dead and six survivors.
The chartered aircraft, flying from Bolivia, was carrying members of the Chapecoense football team, airport officials said.
The team was due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, against Medellin team Atletico Nacional.
The first leg of the final of the cup, South America’s second most important club competition, was scheduled for Wednesday, but has now been suspended.
The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) said it was suspending “all activities”.
Chapecoense issued a brief statement saying: “May God be with our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation.”
It said it would refrain from any further statements until it had assessed the extent of the crash.
Reports suggest that at least two members of the team – Alan Ruschel and Danilo – may have survived.
The sports network Telemundo Deportes tweeted (in Spanish) that Ruschel was in shock but conscious and talking, and asked to keep his wedding ring and to see his family.
The mayor of the nearby town of La Ceja confirmed that a 25-year-old footballer was among the survivors.
He said that 25 people were known to have died.
The team, from the southern city of Chapeco, was promoted to Brazil’s first division in 2014 and reached the final last week after a victory against Argentina’s San Lorenzo.
Reports say the British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by Bolivian charter airline Lamia and carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, crashed in Cerro Gordo in the municipality of La Union shortly before midnight local time (05:00 GMT).
According to an airport press release, it was reporting an electrical fault to the control tower.
Medellin’s Mayor Federico Gutierrez described it as “a tragedy of huge proportions”.
The Jose Maria Cordova de Rionegro airport, which serves Medellin, posted on its Twitter account: “Confirmed, the aircraft licence number CP2933 was carrying the team @ChapecoenseReal. Apparently there are survivors.”
It later said in a statement that “all possible aid was being mobilised because six survivors are being reported”.
Poor weather has meant that the crash site, in a mountainous area, is only accessible by land.
However, there was no fire on impact, which has given rescuers hope that more survivors may be found.
Conmebol said in a statement that its president, Alejandro Dominguez, was on his way to Medellin.
“The Conmebol family greatly regrets what happened. All activities of the confederation are suspended until further notice,” it said.
Chapecoense football team
Founded in 1973.
Promoted to the Brazilian top division, Serie A, for the first time in the club’s history in 2014. Currently ninth.
Were flying to play in the first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana – winner qualifies for Copa Libertadores, top continental competition in South America.
Were underdogs – facing current Cope Libertadores holders Atletico Nacional
Based in the Brazilian city of Chapeco in the state of Santa Catarina.
Brazil’s 21st biggest club in terms of revenue at 46m reais ($13.5m/£10.9m)
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The world as a whole is witnessing many horrible events around the world today, each day, everyday beamed straight to our phones, watches, radio’s and TV’s. Many of these horrible events are generated from the Middle-East and North Africa and most are evolved from the strife caused within the Islamic religion. Whether you like the Islamic religion or not is not the issue of this post to you today. What the post is about is that I am going to point out a few obvious things that some on the pro and or con side of this issue my possibly not be considering the full consequences of this current human tragedy occurring in Islams breadbasket.
Here in the States we debate putting a wall from one side of our southern border to the other to keep all the bad folks from the south of us from invading us, yet nothing about a wall to the north side between us and those Canadians. Does this mean that if you come into our country that you need to have snow on your boots (not the famous Colombian kind)? Or is it more an economics issue? I say yes to that, but it is much more. There is also the issue of increased crime and yes, there is always that truth. Yet economics is THE reason that almost all have made the dangerous journey in the first place. If you are forced to leave your home city, county, state, and even country because you and your family are going to starve if you don’t, then when you get to your new country you still need food and shelter. If you can’t get work and you can’t get help from anywhere or anyone, most people will at least then steal for food and shelter for their families even if they wouldn’t do the same for themselves. Yet these same acts will label you as a criminal. Our friends to the north tend to be content living in their own country because there is a very good infrastructure in Canada and the people there have far more opportunities and abilities to have a good job and be able to self sustain their own families. Our friends to our south, not so much for them. Until their own governments can supply jobs and infrastructure for their citizens many have no choice but to migrate. There is also the drug wars and it’s migration issues from our south. Then there is in many people a race issue and a language issue with our neighbors to our south. But on neither border is there really a religion issue but with the current events throughout Europe it is very much an issue, a HUGE one.
Most all of the people fleeing violence from all the Islamic hate groups are people who were driven out of their homes, cities and countries by these people of their very own faith. This is not Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or Hindu driving them out, Islam itself is kicking the ‘slackers’ out. If they won’t fight with them they kill some to drive the rest out. In doing so they are doing the will of Allah, they are dispersing the faithful throughout all the nations thus spreading their teachings into all the nooks and crannies of the world. So now, does the world stand together and try to find a way to wipe out all of these Islamic hate groups? Would that be racist, would the non-combatant Islamic people even allow ‘the west’ to try to wipe those groups out? Or is that a jihad on Islam? Should it matter what others think? Islam is at war with everything and everyone that is not part of their ‘hate groups’ personnel version of Jihad. Now, the west must decide how this horrific event in Syria and other places in the area are going to be resolved. The west can do nothing and just open your borders completely and be totally over run on their resources causing their own people to starve or they can come together and wipe out these hate groups, as in carpet bombing. Doing nothing is also an option, the whole world is watching including all of the Islamic world, the good people and the bad ones.
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THIS ARTICLE IS FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES–I DID A COPY PASTE SO THAT YOU CAN SEE THIS STORY ALSO.
It is my own personal belief that once you get past the third generation (your grandparents) on any issue then no one owes you any thing, period. In this case where these 272 human beings were sold as slaves so that money could be raised to pay off the debts of George Town University in 1838. So should their very distant relatives whom they never knew or ever met and whom have themselves never been slaves receive financial compensation almost 200 years later? Two observations I would like to bring to your attention also please. 1) The people whom are alive today at the University had nothing to do with that tragedy in 1838. 2) There is the reality that these 272 people were already slaves and were simply sold to other owners, one hell whole situation traded for another. All slavery is a sickening event even in the slave markets within the Islamic world and in southeast Asia but there is no reason for this issue to be more than just a talking point. Okay, that is my opinion on this issue, now if you would please read this article and see what you think okay?
WASHINGTON — The human cargo was loaded on ships at a bustling wharf in the nation’s capital, destined for the plantations of the Deep South. Some slaves pleaded for rosaries as they were rounded up, praying for deliverance.
But on this day, in the fall of 1838, no one was spared: not the 2-month-old baby and her mother, not the field hands, not the shoemaker and not Cornelius Hawkins, who was about 13 years old when he was forced on board.
Their panic and desperation would be mostly forgotten for more than a century. But this was no ordinary slave sale. The enslaved African-Americans had belonged to the nation’s most prominent Jesuit priests. And they were sold, along with scores of others, to help secure the future of the premier Catholic institution of higher learning at the time, known today as Georgetown University.
Now, with racial protests roiling college campuses, an unusual collection of Georgetown professors, students, alumni and genealogists is trying to find out what happened to those 272 men, women and children. And they are confronting a particularly wrenching question: What, if anything, is owed to the descendants of slaves who were sold to help ensure the college’s survival?
More than a dozen universities — including Brown, Columbia, Harvard and the University of Virginia — have publicly recognized their ties to slavery and the slave trade. But the 1838 slave sale organized by the Jesuits, who founded and ran Georgetown, stands out for its sheer size, historians say.
At Georgetown, slavery and scholarship were inextricably linked. The college relied on Jesuit plantations in Maryland to help finance its operations, university officials say. (Slaves were often donated by prosperous parishioners.) And the 1838 sale — worth about $3.3 million in today’s dollars — was organized by two of Georgetown’s early presidents, both Jesuit priests.
Some of that money helped to pay off the debts of the struggling college.
“The university itself owes its existence to this history,” said Adam Rothman, a historian at Georgetown and a member of a university working group that is studying ways for the institution to acknowledge and try to make amends for its tangled roots in slavery.
Although the working group was established in August, it was student demonstrations at Georgetown in the fall that helped to galvanize alumni and gave new urgency to the administration’s efforts.
The students organized a protest and a sit-in, using the hashtag #GU272 for the slaves who were sold. In November, the university agreed to remove the names of the Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy and the Rev. William McSherry, the college presidents involved in the sale, from two campus buildings.
An alumnus, following the protest from afar, wondered if more needed to be done.
That alumnus, Richard J. Cellini, the chief executive of a technology company and a practicing Catholic, was troubled that neither the Jesuits nor university officials had tried to trace the lives of the enslaved African-Americans or compensate their progeny.
Mr. Cellini is an unlikely racial crusader. A white man, he admitted that he had never spent much time thinking about slavery or African-American history.
But he said he could not stop thinking about the slaves, whose names had been in Georgetown’s archives for decades.
“This is not a disembodied group of people, who are nameless and faceless,” said Mr. Cellini, 52, whose company, Briefcase Analytics, is based in Cambridge, Mass. “These are real people with real names and real descendants.”
Within two weeks, Mr. Cellini had set up a nonprofit, the Georgetown Memory Project, hired eight genealogists and raised more than $10,000 from fellow alumni to finance their research.
Dr. Rothman, the Georgetown historian, heard about Mr. Cellini’s efforts and let him know that he and several of his students were also tracing the slaves. Soon, the two men and their teams were working on parallel tracks.
What has emerged from their research, and that of other scholars, is a glimpse of an insular world dominated by priests who required their slaves to attend Mass for the sake of their salvation, but also whipped and sold some of them. The records describe runaways, harsh plantation conditions and the anguish voiced by some Jesuits over their participation in a system of forced servitude.
“A microcosm of the whole history of American slavery,” Dr. Rothman said.
The enslaved were grandmothers and grandfathers, carpenters and blacksmiths, pregnant women and anxious fathers, children and infants, who were fearful, bewildered and despairing as they saw their families and communities ripped apart by the sale of 1838.
The researchers have used archival records to follow their footsteps, from the Jesuit plantations in Maryland, to the docks of New Orleans, to three plantations west and south of Baton Rouge, La.
The hope was to eventually identify the slaves’ descendants. By the end of December, one of Mr. Cellini’s genealogists felt confident that she had found a strong test case: the family of the boy, Cornelius Hawkins.
There are no surviving images of Cornelius, no letters or journals that offer a look into his last hours on a Jesuit plantation in Maryland.
He was not yet five feet tall when he sailed on board the Katharine Jackson, one of several vessels that carried the slaves to the port of New Orleans.
An inspector scrutinized the cargo on Dec. 6, 1838. “Examined and found correct,” he wrote of Cornelius and the 129 other people he found on the ship.
The notation betrayed no hint of the turmoil on board. But priests at the Jesuit plantations recounted the panic and fear they witnessed when the slaves departed.
Some children were sold without their parents, records show, and slaves were “dragged off by force to the ship,” the Rev. Thomas Lilly reported. Others, including two of Cornelius’s uncles, ran away before they could be captured.
But few were lucky enough to escape. The Rev. Peter Havermans wrote of an elderly woman who fell to her knees, begging to know what she had done to deserve such a fate, according to Robert Emmett Curran, a retired Georgetown historian who described eyewitness accounts of the sale in his research. Cornelius’s extended family was split, with his aunt Nelly and her daughters shipped to one plantation, and his uncle James and his wife and children sent to another, records show.
At the time, the Catholic Church did not view slave holding as immoral, said the Rev. Thomas R. Murphy, a historian at Seattle University who has written a book about the Jesuits and slavery.
The Jesuits had sold off individual slaves before. As early as the 1780’s, Dr. Rothman found, they openly discussed the need to cull their stock of human beings.
But the decision to sell virtually all of their enslaved African-Americans in the 1830’s left some priests deeply troubled.
They worried that new owners might not allow the slaves to practice their Catholic faith. They also knew that life on plantations in the Deep South was notoriously brutal, and feared that families might end up being separated and resold.
“It would be better to suffer financial disaster than suffer the loss of our souls with the sale of the slaves,” wrote the Rev. Jan Roothaan, who headed the Jesuits’ international organization from Rome and was initially reluctant to authorize the sale.
But he was persuaded to reconsider by several prominent Jesuits, including Father Mulledy, then the influential president of Georgetown who had overseen its expansion, and Father McSherry, who was in charge of the Jesuits’ Maryland mission. (The two men would swap positions by 1838.)
Mismanaged and inefficient, the Maryland plantations no longer offered a reliable source of income for Georgetown College, which had been founded in 1789. It would not survive, Father Mulledy feared, without an influx of cash.
So in June 1838, he negotiated a deal with Henry Johnson, a member of the House of Representatives, and Jesse Batey, a landowner in Louisiana, to sell Cornelius and the others.
Father Mulledy promised his superiors that the slaves would continue to practice their religion. Families would not be separated. And the money raised by the sale would not be used to pay off debt or for operating expenses.
None of those conditions were met, university officials said.
Father Mulledy took most of the down payment he received from the sale — about $500,000 in today’s dollars — and used it to help pay off the debts that Georgetown had incurred under his leadership.
In the uproar that followed, he was called to Rome and reassigned.
The next year, Pope Gregory XVI explicitly barred Catholics from engaging in “this traffic in Blacks … no matter what pretext or excuse.”
But the pope’s order, which did not explicitly address slave ownership or private sales like the one organized by the Jesuits, offered scant comfort to Cornelius and the other slaves.
By the 1840’s, word was trickling back to Washington that the slaves’ new owners had broken their promises. Some slaves suffered at the hands of a cruel overseer.
Roughly two-thirds of the Jesuits’ former slaves — including Cornelius and his family — had been shipped to two plantations so distant from churches that “they never see a Catholic priest,” the Rev. James Van De Velde, a Jesuit who visited Louisiana, wrote in a letter in 1848.
Father Van De Velde begged Jesuit leaders to send money for the construction of a church that would “provide for the salvation of those poor people, who are now utterly neglected.”
He addressed his concerns to Father Mulledy, who three years earlier had returned to his post as president of Georgetown.
There is no indication that he received any response.
A Familiar Name
African-Americans are often a fleeting presence in the documents of the 1800’s. Enslaved, marginalized and forced into illiteracy by laws that prohibited them from learning to read and write, many seem like ghosts who pass through this world without leaving a trace.
After the sale, Cornelius vanishes from the public record until 1851 when his trail finally picks back up on a cotton plantation near Maringouin, La.
His owner, Mr. Batey, had died, and Cornelius appeared on the plantation’s inventory, which included 27 mules and horses, 32 hogs, two ox carts and scores of other slaves. He was valued at $900. (“Valuable Plantation and Negroes for Sale,” read one newspaper advertisement in 1852.)
The plantation would be sold again and again and again, records show, but Cornelius’s family remained intact. In 1870, he appeared in the census for the first time. He was about 48 then, a father, a husband, a farm laborer and, finally, a free man.
He might have disappeared from view again for a time, save for something few could have counted on: his deep, abiding faith. It was his Catholicism, born on the Jesuit plantations of his childhood, that would provide researchers with a road map to his descendants.
Cornelius had originally been shipped to a plantation so far from a church that he had married in a civil ceremony. But six years after he appeared in the census, and about three decades after the birth of his first child, he renewed his wedding vows with the blessing of a priest.
His children and grandchildren also embraced the Catholic church. So Judy Riffel, one of the genealogists hired by Mr. Cellini, began following a chain of weddings and births, baptisms and burials. The church records helped lead to a 69-year-old woman in Baton Rouge named Maxine Crump.
Ms. Crump, a retired television news anchor, was driving to Maringouin, her hometown, in early February when her cellphone rang. Mr. Cellini was on the line.
She listened, stunned, as he told her about her great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Hawkins, who had labored on a plantation just a few miles from where she grew up.
She found out about the Jesuits and Georgetown and the sea voyage to Louisiana. And she learned that Cornelius had worked the soil of a 2,800-acre estate that straddled the Bayou Maringouin.
All of this was new to Ms. Crump, except for the name Cornelius — or Neely, as Cornelius was known.
The name had been passed down from generation to generation in her family. Her great-uncle had the name, as did one of her cousins. Now, for the first time, Ms. Crump understood its origins.
“Oh my God,” she said. “Oh my God.”
Ms. Crump is a familiar figure in Baton Rouge. She was the city’s first black woman television anchor. She runs a nonprofit, Dialogue on Race Louisiana, that offers educational programs on institutional racism and ways to combat it.
She prides herself on being unflappable. But the revelations about her lineage — and the church she grew up in — have unleashed a swirl of emotions.
She is outraged that the church’s leaders sanctioned the buying and selling of slaves, and that Georgetown profited from the sale of her ancestors. She feels great sadness as she envisions Cornelius as a young boy, torn from everything he knew.
‘Now They Are Real to Me’
Mr. Cellini, whose genealogists have already traced more than 200 of the slaves from Maryland to Louisiana, believes there may be thousands of living descendants. He has contacted a few, including Patricia Bayonne-Johnson, president of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society in Spokane, who is helping to track the Jesuit slaves with her group. (Ms. Bayonne-Johnson discovered her connection through an earlier effort by the university to publish records online about the Jesuit plantations.)
Meanwhile, Georgetown’s working group has been weighing whether the university should apologize for profiting from slave labor, create a memorial to those enslaved and provide scholarships for their descendants, among other possibilities, said Dr. Rothman, the historian.
“It’s hard to know what could possibly reconcile a history like this,” he said. “What can you do to make amends?”
Ms. Crump, 69, has been asking herself that question, too. She does not put much stock in what she describes as “casual institutional apologies.” But she would like to see a scholarship program that would bring the slaves’ descendants to Georgetown as students.
And she would like to see Cornelius’s name, and those of his parents and children, inscribed on a memorial on campus.
Her ancestors, once amorphous and invisible, are finally taking shape in her mind. There is joy in that, she said, exhilaration even.
“Now they are real to me,” she said, “more real every day.”
She still wants to know more about Cornelius’s beginnings, and about his life as a free man. But when Ms. Riffel, the genealogist, told her where she thought he was buried, Ms. Crump knew exactly where to go.
The two women drove on the narrow roads that line the green, rippling sugar cane fields in Iberville Parish. There was no need for a map. They were heading to the only Catholic cemetery in Maringouin.
They found the last physical marker of Cornelius’s journey at the Immaculate Heart of Mary cemetery, where Ms. Crump’s father, grandmother and great-grandfather are also buried.
The worn gravestone had toppled, but the wording was plain: “Neely Hawkins Died April 16, 1902.”
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