Back in 1838, Georgetown University sold 272 slaves in order to pay off school debts. Now, all these years later, they are renaming two buildings on their campus after some of those who were sold like cattle.
The sale was done by two Jesuit priests and by today’s standards was worth approximately $3.3 million.
One of the buildings will be named Isaac Hawkins Hall. Hawkins was the first person listed on sale documents. The other will be named Anne Marie Becraft. She was a free black woman who taught Catholic black girls.
This is just the latest step Georgetown University is taking in order to attempt to make amends for their role in that painful chapter of US history.
In a speech on Thursday, Georgetown’s president, John J. DeGioa, stated that the university would be creating an institute where students could study slavery. They also plan to erect a public memorial to the slaves whose blood, sweat and tears benefited the school.
Dr. DeGioa also reiterated that the descendants of the slaves who worked in relation to the school get an advantage in admission. This is quite like what they offer to the children and grandchildren of alumni.
Where other schools are trying to cover up the fact they dealt with slaves, Georgetown is facing it head-on and taking the appropriate steps to make amends.