VTS Reparations Program

Date: August 22, 2023

Almost four years have passed since VTS announced that it would undertake a reparations program for the descendants of those who were enslaved on campus, as well as Black persons who worked at the seminary after the Civil War up through the end of segregation.

Since that time, numerous individuals have played a role in the development of the program, including the descendants themselves, a team of dedicated genealogical and historical experts, and many seminarians, staff members, and faculty members—with special thanks to my colleague Ebonee Davis in the Office of Multicultural Ministries for her dedication to the project.  All of those different hands have contributed to creating a robust program that has garnered the interest and support of many descendant families.

At present, there are more than three hundred individuals associated with the program, including the approximately 140 shareholders who are entitled to receive an annual share from the reparations endowment.  Descendants have gathered several times at VTS in order to connect with one another and remember the contributions of their ancestors.  Several descendant families regularly have lunch in the refectory and attend various seminary programs during the academic year.

On the financial front, approximately $265,000 from the yield of the $2.2 million reparations endowment has been provided to shareholders since the program started.  Approximately $15,000 has also been awarded in the grant program for Black alumni working in predominately Black contexts, which is another feature of the program.

There is always room for improvement in any project, but I am thankful to every person who has helped the program thrive thus far.  May it be a lasting tribute to all of the ancestors who made VTS what it is today.

The Rev. Joseph D. Thompson, Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Multicultural Ministries

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