Seminary built by slave labor pays cash reparations to workers’ descendants

The president of Virginia Theological Seminary says the school “felt an obligation as Christians” to make amends.
10:08 | 06/17/21

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Seminary built by slave labor pays cash reparations to workers’ descendants
A seminary in Virginia built with slavery and Jim Crow labor is creating a program that's one of the first of its kind. Providing cash reparations to descendants of black Americans who are forced to work there. The Virginia theological seminary started a program in February authorizing payments to the members of the generation closest to the original workers. Fifteen people have received payments so far but that number is expected to rise. As geologists comb through more and more records dean and president of Virginia theological seminary reverend Ian as Marco joins us now. For more on this reverend thanks for being here tell us a bit about how this idea for reparations started. Sarah only cost us are breaking up to hundreds milestones in the institution. And we can't Maher real quick to as Christians to push to let reflecting on the Jenny at those two years and acknowledged there are actually an. Eased accrual participation. Means she shouldn't slavery and subsequently cheering crowd and push. And not needs to recognize undated we're very thin client and urged local institutions throughout his intent to get. Ash and in the end that's not the right to know the Christian inked. And reverend Martin can I follow up on that about. What what that work as you sue what it is that console war what does it accomplish for some people mask. At this date. With the direct victims of this cruelty long gone. What are we accomplishing with these reparations program I'm. So Ruth is a basic moral Acxiom. The woman should proceed compensation. From the Ada. You'll let her crewmates I suspect you pays an uncertain age and so we think that's right and then you're about to do about many what you will should impossible mule to New Orleans everybody does is. Leaves something to our study and guns and trust she says that it acts all denying compensation. To all those who were slightly and those who worked and cheering crowd didn't earn significantly. Less than why can't. Willis was wrong in moral we exploited those who work trusts. And cruel wicked ladies cash so are if you're into repentance and you can she need to make amends who's a prominent Christian youth. Put them together. And you have to recognize that the descendants of those who slavery expletive still on each. I did not receive should be a state it would heritage. That compensation engines that all. And that whole we need to do residual tumor had. Make in Manhattan's. Negative news and news sent. And reverend we've seen other institutions create similar programs that really cash reparations. How did you decide to go with cash payments here and what's the process been like the research process to try to locate these former workers and then their descendants. So study was there such question I mean that's been really interesting and complicated as you can imagine bush. So we've got despite directional. We were both in the periods. Couples civil war our founding in 1923 and civil war she and that's largely working really articles Olson's. This summary and amount and then push. And is very new Danish she did call for example was born in 1923. Year are mounting. At the tender age of 21. We hate Chunnel costs us Washington. Tube and am done. The princely sum of twelve toes. On all hell is that you don't three months. As she was 21. I know to 21 year old look. While scientists and people. And mean it it got some real tests shouldn't the knowledge and into the scene when you have to pass. And you can actually sort of understands. And vigilant while asking my talent as they navigate two lying around as. 21 year old Tempe is. And then we have to do homework and I'll try to work and then out a way to go is true immediately African American communities manner Zion ranch have connections during that full civil war with seminary. Had all and grandfathers and uncles and great grand isle is who welcomed us so. Suggest that we have been able to attend are sentenced. And Jim O'Brien we are unique. In actually making cash payments. Let's get back to the general preschool care you know laying there should be compensated. People who shouldn't be told other people to do with compensation. United in Britain you inherited money from those who go on patrol. Is in their states. You didn't have anybody telling you how money should peace and should solely doing here is we're just making a direct payments any knowledge of the they should have been paid when they were sending ring they estates have been does teach. And tell to sentence her to spend money that they're entitled in cash. The sun. Analysts actually uses his modest you know and last one. Perry Farrell is the importance of trying to choose a mate is some real transit connection church so it's not just a direct payment amount to missiles that the relationship building. I. And let me ask there are fifteen people I understand from six different families. Have received payments so far harms are being received by these descendants and what can we expect to see from the program in the future. Well who lead the numbers will grow. And so. What are important awful it's is building the relationship if it's news because these human lives. Apple says the not a moment on campaigns such groups and singing and boats. Apple's Lauren pension crunch. So that could pocket is building relationship. That all the participants in the program while they eat and factory on campus. And lunch every game and were a coach so there's a whole host of initiatives are relatives. I think what you'll see is this. This program grow. Good to send him some. Actually east all being it is its. Rule and you know that we're releasing something. To acknowledge. You know people worried chances culture and trust me. You know. White institutions Tripoli like institutions not translating and rejecting an cops. Eight they just want to generic slavery they want to generic action crowded I don't won't notice Judea and whose 21 new soul. And will so. The person who went to three months and I'll tell us how late this papal went to something entirely different on costs Washington that we want to council black church so what we're trying to do is is some. Beneficiaries at least chill there's sometimes takes me it's too little too lights. Bristol. Aaron violated and angry. And I get that reaction to push. The right thing to do you know your opinion is that just basic Christian values. Right thing to do when in situations. Would send is to do the work Walsh recognition do the work of repentance. To the welcome prepare. And do the work can create your future and that's true and Tibetans were ready to reach and top notch and that's what we're trying to do. And reverend on a wider scale the conversation around reparations on a federal level has grown. Over the past couple years and while support for that has also grown it's still a very controversial and divisive topic and it just wonder. Having now worked on this project and worked on this first hand. Is other elements that conversation that you feel a lot of people are missing when they think about this issue. I think she. I think there are elements you know I think you did the temptation watch America. Business we won't soon a culture that's what happened. We don't mind promising the future what indeed. We don't really want to carry. And acknowledge that d.s. Human lives. What competence and or states which is on each. And as a result those living now. Pets had eaten and did not eat all the troops that opens its. Adams. Indians unit we can't just carry on duty easy things here. Apologies in the end cost. Promising future ridiculous costs us. It didn't work can remembering. And doing the work. Shouldn't be trying to repair Austin some way however the mall it's now we don't want to touch. And I think that one of the reasons why me oh. Race relations in the United States that continuing injection cruel. It is white Americans just doesn't want. We don't want to remember. And we don't want to do in keeping it and fine with me. In America's saying the unit you can't just imagine what it apology in the prosecution be to this issue because you don't carry credibility. So I. An engine the end the United States needs to them and just racial unity not an ending bishops and I am an American sentiment came one in 2010. I'm very proud being there. Reverend in as mark in the great conversation. We appreciate your time today thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"10:08","description":"The president of Virginia Theological Seminary says the school “felt an obligation as Christians” to make amends. ","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/US","id":"78344758","title":"Seminary built by slave labor pays cash reparations to workers’ descendants","url":"/US/video/seminary-built-slave-labor-pays-cash-reparations-workers-78344758"}