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Georgetown University Will Name Two Buildings After Maryland Slaves

The effects of slavery are still being felt in 2017 and Georgetown University, in an effort to make amends for profiting from the sale of 272 Maryland slaves in 1838 to pay off school debts, are renaming two buildings on their campus to honor those who were sold as slaves.

The slave sale was conducted by two Jesuit priests and was worth about $3.3 million in today’s dollars.

They are renaming one building Isaac Hawkins Hall to honor the first person listed in documents related to the sale. The other building will have the name of Anne Marie Becraft. She was a free Black woman who taught Catholic Black girls in what was then the town of Georgetown.

This is just one of the many steps the university is taking in order to make amends for the part they played during a painful time in U.S. history. During a speech Thursday afternoon, Georgetown’s president, John J. DeGioa, announced the school would create an institute for the study of slavery and there will be a public memorial to the slaves whose labor benefited the school.

Dr. DeGioa also offered the descendants of all slaves whose work helped Georgetown University an advantage in admission which is similar to what they offer children and grandchildren of alumni.

Many colleges have tried to hide the fact they benefited from slave labor, but at least Georgetown is not shying away from facts and is owning up to their actions.