Seminary in Virginia starts slavery reparations fund

September 11, 2019 GMT

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — An Episcopal seminary in northern Virginia is starting a $1.7 million reparations fund to make up for its reliance on slave labor in in the 19th century.

The Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria announced the fund’s creation last week. The endowment will be used for a variety of purposes, including assistance to any descendants of slaves who worked there.

The seminary was founded in 1823 by a group that included “Star-Spangled Banner” author Francis Scott Key. Enslaved workers helped build the campus and worked there after its creation.

The money will also be used to support black clergy in The Episcopal Church, promote justice and inclusion, and support the needs of local African-American congregations connected to the seminary.