As the University honors Juneteenth—the day commemorating June 19, 1865 as the end of the enslavement of people of African descent in the United States—we also recall the date of June 19, 1838. This date marks the sale of enslaved people by Fr. Thomas Mulledy and the Maryland Jesuits to Henry Johnson and Jesse Beatty of Louisiana.
Acknowledging the triumph of freedom, as celebrated in the day of Juneteenth, we cannot forget those times when freedom was denied.
The Georgetown Slavery Archive includes a number of historical documents relating to emancipation and freedom. These include the successful freedom suits lodged against founders of Georgetown in the 1790s and early 19th century; the occasional manumissions of enslaved people owned by the College; and emancipation in Washington, D.C., as well as Maryland and Louisiana.
A selection of documents relating to enslavement and emancipation:
- Edward Queen’s petition for freedom, 1791
- Nancy buys her daughter Sophia to set her free, September 19, 1803
- Priscilla Queen’s petition for freedom, 1810
- “We are in the dark as long as we keep slaves”: Br. Joseph Mobberly, S.J. calculates the cost savings from emancipation, February 5, 1815
- Fanny & her family 1815
- The Manumission of Jane Smith 1818
- Claims to freedom, 1819
- William Gaston entrusts Augustus to Joseph Carberry, S.J., 1824
- Questions regarding slavery: Rev. Thomas Mulledy, SJ to the Jesuit Superior General, January 7, 1830
- She was once a slave” Sarah Brook, a slave of the Fenwick Family, requests her freedom papers, May 29, 1832.
- Articles of agreement between Thomas F. Mulledy, of Georgetown, District of Columbia, of one part, and Jesse Beatty and Henry Johnson, of the State of Louisiana, of the other part. 19th June 1838
- Alms for freedom, 1845
- The College Hires Enslaved Worker Aaron Edmonson, 1859-1862 (the last known enslaved laborer at Georgetown)
- Mrs. Emily Woolfolk contract with employees at West Oak Plantation in Iberville Parish, LA., April 12, 1864
- Louise Mason and her children: the last slaves of the Maryland Jesuits 1864
Additional documents are available by searching the Georgetown Slavery Archive.