The Banyan Tree, like a family, is ever growing. The Banyan Tree, also known as the Ficus Benghalensis, puts forth aerial rootlets, which, on reaching the ground, take root to form secondary trunks to support the giant horizontal limbs. Branches from these trunks ultimately send down more such prop roots and expands the base of the tree. The process continues until the Banyan is grovelike in appearance, often covering large areas.
We, as the descendants of the GU272 are like a Banyan Tree. Our common ancestors, the original 272, are represented by the trunk of the Banyan Tree. Each offspring of the GU 272 is like an aerial rootlet, sprung forth to form new roots. Those roots formed new aerial rootlets and new offspring. Like a family, the process continues as does a family with each marital union and with each new birth.
The descendants of the GU 272 are spread around the globe like the far-reaching roots of the Banyan Tree. The Banyan Tree was selected as our logo as it well represents the strength of the original GU 272, their remarkable legacy, and their ever-growing list of descendants.
In 1838 272 slaves were sold by Maryland Jesuits
Today it is estimated that there are 2000+ descendants of these slaves, with 900 of them living in Maringouin, LA
The selling of slaves was, of course, a common practice in the South, but what makes this case special and memorable, besides that the sale was made by a Catholic university to stave off bankruptcy, is that the individuals sold are known to history – as practicing Catholics, their names were registered, allowing the tracing of their descendants to this day.
Many of the sold slaves ended up in Maringouin (Cajun French for “mosquito”), a little town outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana that is desperately impoverished. Of the roughly 1,110 people living there, approximately 900 are direct descendants of the human beings whose sale price bolstered the university’s endowment.
This website traces the descendants of Cornelius (Neely) Hawkins, one of the slaves that wound up at the West Oak Plantation in Maringouin.