Georgetown University Renames Buildings for Enslaved People

In this Sept. 1, 2016, file photo, students walk past a Jesuit statue in front of Freedom Hall, center, formerly named Mulledy Hall, on the Georgetown University campus, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Washington. Freedom Hall was renamed Isaac Hawkins Hall on April 19, 2017, in honor of the first person listed in documents related to an 1838 sale of slaves in order to pay off the school’s debts. The school and the group of Catholic priests that founded it apologized for the sale. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Georgetown University and the group of Catholic priests that founded the Washington, D.C. school have apologized for selling slaves in 1838 in order to raise money to pay off the college’s debts.

The school has renamed two buildings in honor of two of the 272 people sold. Their descendants gathered on the Georgetown campus for a dedication ceremony Tuesday.

One building is named Isaac Hawkins Hall in honor of the first person listed in documents related to the sale. Another bears the name of Anne Marie Becraft, a free woman of color who taught Catholic black girls in Georgetown.

Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States president Rev. Timothy Kesicki said during a prayer service that the group has “greatly sinned” and is “profoundly sorry.”

Georgetown is also offering a preference in admissions to descendants of those sold.

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