Missouri University Asked to Pay Billions to Descendants of Slaves

Descendants of the enslaved Black people who built a university in Missouri are claiming that they were owed up to $74 billion in unpaid labor.

The Descendants of St. Louis University Enslaved (DSLUE), a state lawmaker, a civil rights attorney and economists announced their estimation of the monetary value of unpaid labor on St. Louis University’s campus.

Reported by Fox News:

Based on “labor for 24 hours per day, 365 days per year for 70 enslaved people from 1823-1865,” economist Julianne Malveaux estimated that $365 million in unpaid labor is owed. Furthermore, adding interest over time amounts to $70 billion.

Areva Martin, a civil rights attorney and the lead counsel for DSLUE, reportedly sent a letter to St. Louis University President Fred Pestello, saying the institution needs to do more to redeem itself even though the institution has already “taken steps to recognize and memorialize its history through the Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project (SHMRP.)”

The SHMRP was a report issued in 2016 based on an investigation of SLU’s ties to the institution of slavery.

“That report revealed that Jesuits forcefully relocated slaves from Maryland in 1823 to St. Louis specifically to exploit their stolen labor and skills to build St. Louis University,” Martin said.

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