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Finding Your Roots - GU272 & The Louisiana Connection


Explore a shocking historical event whose effects are still resonating with Louisianans today.

Within us, there is a desire to know who we are and where we come from. It is a powerful component to the human experience. For many African-Americans, the desire to trace their genealogy is made more difficult by slavery.


Approximately 90 people braved the severe weather that hit the Capitol City area Wednesday, Feb. 5 to attend LPB’s screening and panel discussion on “Finding Your Roots: The GU272 and The Louisiana Connection.” Part history lesson, part fact-finding mission; participants explored a shocking historical event that still resonates with Louisianians today.

The evening began with a discussion about just who the GU272 are. Their story begins in the summer of 1838 when the Jesuit priests of Georgetown College in Maryland (now known as Georgetown University) were faced with mounting debts. To raise money, the priests decided to sell their most valuable assets; the enslaved people that worked their tobacco plantations. The Jesuits signed a contract to sell them to Catholic plantation owners in Louisiana, sealing the fate of approximately 272 men, women, and children, forever altering the lives of generations of their descendants.

The sale of the GU272 (as they became collectively known) raised about $115,000 – equivalent to about $3.3 million today and saved Georgetown College. Once this piece of history was uncovered, researchers learned the enslaved people were split among three locations in Louisiana: plantations in Iberville, Terrebonne, and Ascension Parishes.

The LPB event was hosted at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library on Goodwood Blvd. in Baton Rouge. LPB’s Natasha Williams moderated the evening. She was joined by Karran Royal, Executive Director of The GU272 Descendants Association; Judy Riffel, a genealogist working with the Georgetown Memory Project; and David Laatsch, a Genealogy Librarian with the East Baton Rouge Parish Library.

Along with discussing the history of the GU272, we were able to hear personal stories from some of the confirmed descendants as well as enlightening details about the genealogical research necessary to determine your ancestry and about the amazing amount of free research options available at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library.



CLUES YOU MIGHT BE A DESCENDANT:

Am I Connected to the GU272? (pdf)


IMPORTANT RESOURCES



Major corporate support for FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Season Six is provided by Ancestry, Johnson & Johnson, and AT&T. Major support is also provided by the Ford Foundation, Candace King Weir, and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.

EVENT ALBUM​


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LOUISIANA: THE STATE WE'RE IN | 02/07/2020



Louisiana: The State We're In - Louisiana's weekly news magazine. Issues affecting Louisiana are discussed.

GU272 & THE LOUISIANA CONNECTION | LOUISIANA: THE STATE WE’RE IN | 2/7/20


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