Georgetown University Addresses Historical Slavery Ties, Seeks To Make AmendsBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Student protesters achieve victory after Georgetown University has acknowledged its historical ties to slavery. The institution is now seeking to make amends for the injustice.
USA Today reported that the reparation comes nearly a year after student protests urged Georgetown University to change the name of two residence halls on campus. Last Thursday, university president John DeGiola announced that the school will be providing legacy admissions advantages to the descendants of the 272 slaves who were sold to Louisiana plantations in 1838 to fund the university.
"I am grateful to the many members of our community who have thoughtfully and respectfully contributed their perspectives and shared their insights," DeGiola wrote in a letter prefacing the report, via Georgetown University's official website. "I look forward to continuing to work together in an intentional effort to engage these recommendations and move forward toward justice and truth."
This is the first step in Georgetown University's efforts to address its historical ties to slavery. Some of the recommendations include naming Freedom Hall (previously Mulledy Hall) as Isaac Hall, to honor Isaac, the first slave mentioned in the documents of the 1838 sale.
Remembrance Hall, previously known as McSherry Hall, would be renamed as Anne Marie Becraft Hall. Becraft is a woman of color who founded a school for black girls in the Georgetown neighborhood.
The school will also engage with the descendant community and develop a public memorial to the enslaved. This is to make sure that their memory is honored and preserved.
"I think is very much in line with what students demanded last year," Enushe Khan, student body president, said to USA Today. "I feel, as a Hoya, proud that our university is really a leader in taking action here, and I can only hope that other universities follow suit."
Georgetown is one of the many universities facing criticisms for historical ties to slavery. Yale, as well as other universities such as Princeton, Stanford, Georgetown and Harvard, among others, have also faced protests on buildings, programs and legacies that should be renamed to accommodate modern sensitivities.