The Catholic college of Georgetown University is working to downplay its historic connections to slavery. The school, which was founded in 1789, was originally funded because of the sale of 272 slaves. The University is reportedly going to change the names of some buildings that reflect its historic connections.
Georgetown University’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation has recommended to the University president John J. DeGioia that the Mulledy Hall residence hall and the McSherry Hall mediation center be renamed. The working group demanded that the changes be made by conducting a sit-in outside of DeGioia’s office. Both of the buildings are being temporarily renamed until more permanent names can be determined.
Mulledy Hall was only recently constructed. It was named after former Georgetown president Thomas F. Mulledy. In order to finance his debt in the 1830s, he oversaw the sale of 272 slaves. Additionally, it has been shown that Mulledy broke up many slave families in the process. Mulledy Hall is temporarily being renamed Freedom Hall.
McSherry Hall was named after another former president of the university William McSherry. Reports indicate that McSherry advised Mulledy on the sale. McSherry Hall is temporarily being renamed Remembrance Hall.
The Georgetown University Working Group has been in operation since September of this year. It was created in order to come up with ways that the University can reconcile its present with its prior connections to slavery. According to the group’s website, the group consists of 16 members of the school’s administration, student body and community. The website also includes suggested readings and statements regarding the practice of slavery.
However, not all of the demands of the Working Group have been met. The group has also demanded the renaming of another hall, the discussion of the school’s historic slave connections in campus tours, the marking of the graves of slaves on campus and the endowment of new professors of color.
For now, the Working Group says that they will continue to protest on Twitter until all of their demands are met.