Georgetown University renames buildings to atone for slavery ties

21 Avril, 2017, 03:15 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • Georgetown University Renames Two Buildings for Former Slaves

The leader of the Roman Catholic religious order that helped found Georgetown University in Washington D.C. apologized Tuesday (April 18) for the university's role in selling slaves in the 1800s, according to the Religion News Agency.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Georgetown University is set to rename two buildings on campus in honor of people who were sold as slaves in Maryland in 1838.

Hawkins was the first enslaved person listed in the 1838 sale document. "It is our very enslavement of another, our very ownership of another, culminating in the tragic sale of 272 women, men and children, that remains with us to this day, trapping us in an historic truth, for which we implore mercy and justice, hope and healing".

And the former McSherry Hall-named for past president William McSherry, who was also involved in that sale-was changed from the temporary Remembrance Hall to Anne Marie Becraft Hall.

FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2016, file photo, students walk past a Jesuit statue in front of Freedom Hall, center, formerly named Mulledy Hall, on the Georgetown University campus, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Washington.

"Our work as a group was to help teardown the walls, the walls of mystery and silence and (the) unknown surrounding Georgetown's historical ties to the institution of slavery", said working group member Connor Maytnier (C'17) at the dedication.

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The Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation produced a 104-page report detailing the university's involvement in the American slave trade. "Our history has shown us that the vestiges of slavery are a continuum that began with the kidnapping of our people from our motherland to keeping them in bondage with the brutality of American chattel slavery, Jim Crow, segregation ... the school-to-prison pipeline and the over-incarceration of people of color".

"To me, for them to say they're sorry and then for them to publically announce what they did to my ancestors, I'm happy", Tilson said.

After the ceremony, Georgetown's Black Movements Dance Theatre performed.

Georgetown is also offering a preference in admissions to descendants of those sold.

"This is a moment for all of us to more deeply understand our history, and to envision a new future informed and shaped by our past and the values we uphold", Georgetown President John J. DeGioia said at the building dedication.

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