Officials at Georgetown University in partnership with the Archdiocese of Washington and the Society of Jesus in the United States have announced services and events that reflect the university’s historical ties to the institution of slavery — specifically, how 272 slaves were sold to save the prestigious school in northwest D.C.
The April 18 “Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope” takes place 10 a.m. at Georgetown’s Gaston Hall, followed by luncheon and two building dedications. The events, which are open to the public, are also expected to be attended by descendants of the enslaved people.
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.
Anne Marie Becraft Hall, formerly known as McSherry Hall and provisionally named in 2015 as Remembrance Hall, will be renamed for a free woman of color who established a school in the town of Georgetown for black girls. The school was one of the first such educational endeavors in the District of Columbia.
The date for the events was selected because it falls two days after D.C. Emancipation Day, which honors the emancipation of slaves in the District on April 16, 1862. Because Easter falls on April 16, the District is observing Emancipation Day on April 17.
The event will be webcast live.