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Georgetown University Renames Two Buildings for Former Slaves

In partnership with the Archdiocese of Washington and the Society of Jesus in the United States, Georgetown University renamed two buildings on its campus on April 18 in honor of the 272 enslaved men, women and children sold by Maryland Jesuits in 1838.

The Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition, and Hope took place in Gaston Hall as part of the day’s events, attended by descendants of the enslaved people as well as members of the university community and the general public.

Two campus buildings were dedicated for Isaac Hawkins and Anne Marie Becraft. These halls were formerly named for two Jesuits involved in the 1838 sale to Louisiana plantation owners.

Isaac Hawkins Hall, formerly known as Mulledy Hall and provisionally named as Freedom Hall in 2015, will be named for the first enslaved person listed in documents related to the 1838 sale.

The renaming of the buildings is part of the university’s effort to atone for profiting from the slave sale, which was orchestrated by two Jesuit priests to pay off debts at the school. Georgetown is also giving preference in admissions to descendants of the 272 people who were sold.