Historical booklet displayed with its pages open

The Center for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies is home to academic and research initiatives connected to Georgetown’s ongoing commitments in Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation. The Center supports rigorous new scholarship and innovation in disseminating knowledge about the history of enslavement and its past and current legacies.

The history of Georgetown, the Jesuits, and enslavement is one area of focus, as well as the history of slavery and its legacies in the Washington, D.C. area, and in Catholic America.


Two people are looking at a computer screen with an image of a historical document

The Georgetown Slavery Archive is a repository of materials relating to the Maryland Jesuits, Georgetown and slavery. This project was initiated in February 2016 by the Archives Subgroup of the Georgetown Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation and is part of the university’s Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation initiative.

Carlos Simon, Grammy-nominated assistant professor in the Department of Performing Arts, composed “Requiem for the Enslaved” to honor the lives of those who were enslaved by the Maryland Province of Jesuits and their more than 8,000 Descendants.

A blue way finding sign for Isaac Hawkins Hall in front of the building

As part of Georgetown University’s Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation initiative, students in Professor Adam Rothman’s fall 2019 UNXD 272 class researched buildings and sites on Georgetown’s campus to provide historical context for understanding their significance. This Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation Walking Tour, developed by the Georgetown University Library’s Booth Family Center for Special Collections in summer 2020, allows anyone to tour these historic sites, either on campus or virtually.

Here I Am weaves narrative, music, and imagery, inviting the audience on an experiential journey exploring a complicated history and relationship with the religious institution that enslaved writer Mélisande Short-Colomb’s ancestors.

Lauinger Library is participating in a collaborative digital project “On These Grounds” to develop a method of describing its archival records that places the lives of the enslaved at the center. Instead of describing the records of enslavement from the perspective of the Jesuits who created them, “On These Grounds” describes the events of the lives of the enslaved people. This project is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The core institutional partners for this project are Georgetown, the University of Virginia and Michigan State University. Other partners include Hampden-Sydney College, Washington & Lee College, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Georgia, and Rutgers University.