Georgetown University to Offer Admissions Advantage to Slave Descendants

Elizaebeth Chuck, NBC News, September 1, 2016

Georgetown will offer an admissions edge to descendants of slaves as part of a comprehensive atonement for the university’s historical ties to slavery, its president announced Thursday.

Those ties go back nearly two centuries, when the Washington, D.C., school sold 272 slaves and used the proceeds to pay off debt.

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia will offer a public apology Thursday afternoon for the 1838 sale and will also outline what the university plans to do to acknowledge racism in its past.

President John J. DeGioia

President John J. DeGioia

In addition to offering descendants the same preferential status in admissions that Georgetown currently offers children of alumni, the university will develop a memorial to the enslaved and will rename two buildings–one after Isaac Hall, a slave whose name is the first mentioned in the 1839 sale documents, and another in honor of Anne Marie Becraft, an African-American who founded a school for black girls in Georgetown’s neighborhood in 1827.

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Georgetown was founded by Jesuit priests in 1789. It joins a handful of other colleges that have publicly addressed their legacy of slavery, including Brown and Harvard.

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