By Andy Levine

This incredible story of intergenerational legacy and healing goes back 181 years to 1838. That’s when 272 men, women, and children were sold by an order of Jesuit priests and the proceeds of the sale was used to pay the debts of Georgetown College, now Georgetown University. The slaves had lived on plantations belonging to the Jesuits in Maryland. They were put on a boat and moved to their new owners in Louisiana.

Melisande Short-Columbe is a descendant of this group known as the GU-272. Two-and-a-half years ago she left her work as a chef in New Orleans and entered Georgetown University as a freshman. She was 63 years old.

She is now in her junior year at Georgetown. Melisande sat down with Andy Levine, the host of the Second Act Stories podcast, for a candid discussion about her great, great, great grandparents Mary Ellen Queen and Abraham Mahoney and about becoming a full-time college student in her 60s.

Special Note: We’d also encourage you to read “Through a Glass Darkly: Georgetown, Jesuits and Beyond the Legacy of Slavery,” an article by Onita Estes-Hicks, one of last year’s Encore Public Voices Fellows who is also a GU-272 descendant.

Second Act Stories is a podcast that shares the stories of people who have made major career changes to pursue more rewarding lives in a second act. You can subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, GooglePlus or wherever you get your podcasts.