Messages to the Community

From the Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation

November 3, 2015

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:

As the Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, we are writing you to provide an update on our work so far this semester, to announce some events, and to encourage your participation in our common project.

The Working Group has met three times so far to consider the task assigned us by the President of the University. Several other universities have engaged in similar assessments of their historical relationship to slaveholding and its legacy, and their experiences offer us helpful examples. Yet each community must develop a way of conducting this process that is true to its own ideals and attentive to its present needs. There is thus no clear model for us to follow as we investigate Georgetown’s history with slavery and consider how to remember it, especially through the naming of buildings, such as Mulledy Hall.

As we move forward with an eye toward making recommendations to the President and Board of Directors, we wish to invite your participation in a conversation about Georgetown’s history of slavery in the early nineteenth century and its legacy to the present. We begin this conversation in two steps in the coming weeks: first, the Working Group will sponsor “conversation circles” in mid-November that will foster a respectful and honest discussion of how the renewed awareness of this history has affected us as members of the University community. Second, we will convene a larger community meeting to bring to light the history itself, which is more extensive and complex than one man and one bill of sale. Our hope is that these events will inspire a wide and deep reflection on this disturbing part of our history. Details on both events will be forthcoming. We look forward to your participation.

Please note that the Working Group has put up a website and has been assigned an email address (SMRworkinggroup@georgetown.edu). We encourage you to visit our website for background readings, and soon, digitized archival materials on Georgetown and slavery, as well as updates on our activities. We welcome your suggestions and reflections via email. In the meantime and throughout this process, we especially hope that you will continue with the discussions you are already having among yourselves and expand the circle of conversation partners; this is our shared history and our common project.

Sincerely,

The Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation

Fr. David Collins, S.J., Ph.D., Chair of the Working Group

Ayodele Aruleba (C’17)

Fr. Matthew Carnes, S.J., Ph.D.

Marcia Chatelain, Ph.D.

Haben Fecadu, J.D. (F’08)

Carolyn Forché, M.F.A.

John Glavin, Ph.D. (C’64)

Maurice Jackson, Ph.D. (G’95, G’01)

Rosemary Kilkenny, J.D. (L’87)

Connor Maytnier (C’17)

Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., J.D. (C’88)

Matthew Quallen (F’16)

Adam Rothman, Ph.D.

Daviree Velazquez, M.Ed.

Chris Wadibia (C’16)

Crystal Walker (F’16)