Jeremy Alexander, an executive assistant in Georgetown’s office of technology commercialization, had his DNA tested in 2014 so that he could find his ancestors, and he was able to find his great-grandmother, Anna Jones, before he hit a dead end.
However, this past fall, a woman named Melissa Kemp, who was a distant cousin of his, reached out to him about working on their family history. Kemp was able to go back two more generations to discover his paternal great-great-great grandmother, Anna Mahoney Jones, who was one of the 272 slaves that were sold by two Jesuit priests in Georgetown in an attempt to stop the school from going bankrupt, according to the New York Times.
The realization blew Alexander away, especially because he currently works at the university.
“Now I work here—to realize that this is my history, this is my story, blows me away,” said Alexander. “I have been really emotional as I learned about my ties to the university.”
The Georgetown Memory Project, a nonprofit started by Georgetown alum Richard J. Cellini, is working to find these 272 slaves and learn more about their lives and their descendants, and Georgetown has promised preferential admission status to such descendants.