Georgetown University will be offering scholarships and admissions preference to the descendants of its former slaves that the university sold in 1838.
Georgetown President John J. DeGioia offered a public apology Thursday afternoon for the 1838 sale and outlined what the university plans to do to acknowledge racism in its past.
“Some descendants and their families have joined us in person and some have joined online, and it is with gratitude and humility that I recognize your presence,” DeGioiga said from Georgetown’s Gaston Hall auditorium. The crowd responded with a standing ovation.
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.
I am sure that there are those — especially among the white entitlement class — who will consider this to be “affirmative action.” Yes, it is, in the best sense of the term.