Virginia Theological Seminary designated $1.7 million as a reparations endowment fund.

In September 2019, VTS announced the creation of an endowment dedicated to the payment of reparations, and the intent to research, uncover, and recognize Black people who labored on-campus during slavery, Reconstruction, and segregation under Jim Crow laws. The endowment is a part of the Seminary’s commitment to recognizing its participation in oppression in the past and commitment to healing and making amends in the future. Additional funds have been allocated to support the work of Black congregations that have historical ties to the Seminary; to create programs that promote justice and inclusion; and to elevate the work and voices of Black alumni and clergy within The Episcopal Church.

Click Here for Reparations Intake Form Reparations FAQ

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D. dean
and president of VTS, explained:

“This is a start. As we seek to mark Seminary’s milestone of 200 years, we do so conscious that our past is a mixture of sin as well as grace. This is the Seminary recognizing that along with repentance for past sins, there is also a need for action.”

The program will be administered by the Office of Multicultural Ministries. The Director, the Rev. Joseph Thompson, Ph.D. said, “This initiative has the potential to be transformative.

Though no amount of money could ever truly compensate for slavery, the commitment of these financial resources means that the institution’s attitude of repentance is being supported by actions of repentance that can have a significant impact both on the recipients of the funds, as well as on those at VTS. It opens up a moment for us to reflect long and hard on what it will take for our society and institutions to redress slavery and its consequences with integrity and credibility.”

This fund is fully funded by Virginia Theological Seminary as part of our commitment to recognizing the racism in our past and working toward healing and reconciliation in the future.


Elizabeth Drembus is a genealogist for the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), specializing in patriots of color and the lineages to their descendants. Prior to working for the DAR, she worked for George Washington’s Mount Vernon, educating visitors about the enslaved laborers at the historic site. For over a decade, Drembus has contributed her historical research expertise to projects in collaboration with local organizations, including the Alexandria Archaeology Museum in Alexandria, VA.

Drembus brings her passion for researching Northern Virginia’s free and enslaved African American families and communities of the 18th and 19th centuries to the VTS Reparations Project, where she researches the antebellum period and finds the names of enslaved persons who worked on the campus.  She lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband and two sons.  She enjoys photography and researching her own family tree. Elizabeth is a longtime member of St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, Alexandria, VA.

Char McCargo Bah is the CEO and owner of FindingThingsforU, LLC. She has undergrad degrees in Urban Studies and African American Studies and holds several professional certificates. She has been a genealogist since 1981 with membership in over 30 genealogical societies, historical societies, and authors’ organizations. 

She is on contract with the Virginia Theological Seminary’s Reparations Project, the Sharon Chapel Recognition Project, and several other genealogical projects. McCargo Bah was named the 2020 Virginia Humanity Scholar and 2019 Who Who’s in America. She is the author of two books and an anthology, most recently publishing Alexandria’s Freedmen’s Cemetery: A Legacy of Freedom and is a freelance writer for Alexandria Gazette.  

Maddy McCoy‘s work is primarily focused on the early African American experience in the mid-Atlantic region. She is the founding director of Slavery Inventory Database, an historical research consultancy established in 2005 with the mission of creating connections to those whom history has forgotten. The Slavery Inventory Database primarily works with historic house museums and historic sites by helping them identify and interpret their enslaved populations and narratives.  

McCoy’s experience in the field has resulted in a wealth of earned knowledge of both local history and historical familial connections. Maddy has an intuitive understanding of how historic records can provide a voice to the intentionally silenced and the historically excluded  this allows her to breach the wall of slavery so that people may better understand their roots and restore important foundational connections. Her belief is this work must be done to create a more just, equitable, and empathetic society. 

Christopher Milko is a researcher with Slavery Inventory Database, a historical research consultancy, where he strives to uncover the truths lost to history. The Slavery Inventory Database primarily works with historic house museums and historic sites by helping them identify and interpret their enslaved populations and narratives. Christopher also recently worked as an integral member of the City of Alexandria’s Equal Justice Initiative’s Community Remembrance Project Research Group, where he helped to research and write the narratives detailing two, recorded, fatal lynchings in Alexandria, Virginia.

Multicultural Ministries Contact

The Rev. Joseph Thompson, Ph.D.
Director of Multicultural Ministries

Phone: (703) 461-1732
Email: reparations@vts.edu

Multicultural Ministries Contact

Ebonee Davis
Associate for Programming & Historical Research for Reparations

Phone: (703) 461-1702
Email: reparations@vts.edu

Media Contact

Curtis Prather
Director of Communications and Marketing

Phone: (703) 461-1782 
Email: cprather@vts.edu