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Georgetown Reflects on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation

Georgetown is engaged in a long-term and ongoing process to more deeply understand and respond to the university’s role in the injustice of slavery and the legacies of enslavement and segregation in our nation. Through engagement with the members of the Descendant community, collaborative projects and new initiatives and learning and research, the university pursues a path of memorialization and reconciliation in our present day.

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Continuing the Support

With the ongoing support and active participation of Georgetown, the Jesuits and Descendants of the 272 enslaved individuals sold in 1838 by the Maryland Province of Jesuits establish a new charitable foundation focused on racial healing and educational advancement.

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2021 Spring USS Conference

Thank you for joining us for the 2021 Spring Universities Studying Slavery Virtual Conference, April 15 -16.  

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Public History and Memorialization

Major improvements to the historic cemetery that includes many unmarked graves for enslaved Black people as well as marked graves of free Black people, including family members of the pioneering DC educator Anne Marie Becraft, have now been completed by Georgetown and Holy Trinity Church.

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Academic Initiatives

The Georgetown Slavery Archive serves as a valuable outreach tool for the university and broader public community with events, workshops, lectures and panel presentations.

Spring 2021 Public History & Memorialization Project

A digital display was created and installed in The Thomas & Dorothy Leavey Center in conjunction with D.C. Emancipation Day as a memorial honoring the lives of the enslaved people who are part of Georgetown University’s history and to support ongoing community outreach and engagement on our campus.

Engage with this history here.

Discovery and Making an Impact

“Studying abroad in Scotland solidified my passion for history. I received a Penner Family Experiences Grant during my junior year and completed an independent research project on the Trans-Atlantic activism of Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells-Barnett.”

“It is important to deal with things in present and to choose specific issues to dive into deeply. For me, it’s … figuring out what racial reconciliation looks like.”

“Uncovering the stories and history of the people the Jesuits enslaved is necessary and a step in the right direction to repairing a broken and whitewashed historical narrative.”

A woman flips through an old ship's logbook.

Georgetown acquires and digitizes a rare logbook depicting the experience of enslaved Africans aboard a ship that landed in Georgia 224 years ago.

Cover of Georgetown report on What We Know: Georgetown University and Slavery, Georgetown Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation with names of working group members.

Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announces next steps in the university’s ongoing process to acknowledge and respond to its historical ties to the institution of slavery.