In 1838, 272 enslaved people who worked on Jesuit plantains in southern Maryland were sold to slaveowners.
One building will be renamed Isaac Hawkins Hall in honor of the first person listed in documents related to the sale. Rev. Tim Kesicki, the president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and United States, delivered the formal apology during the Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope. Per a statement released by the university, more than 100 descendants of the 272 enslaved Black people who were sold in 1838 attended the Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope. Mulledy Jr. and McSherry were both former university presidents in Jesuit plantations in Maryland and Louisiana. She later joined the Oblate Sisters of Providence.
Rev. Robert Hussey, S.J., Provincial of the Maryland Province, and DeGioia met with descendants in the afternoon.
The Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation produced a 104-page report detailing the university's involvement in the American slave trade.
"The actions of Georgetown students have placed all of us on a journey together toward honoring our enslaved ancestors by working toward healing and reconciliation", she said.
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. "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". At the age of 15, Becraft-a free Black teenager-opened a school in Georgetown to educate Black girls in 1820.
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", DeGioia said at the building dedication.