Student activists in front of Isaac Hawkins Hall on Georgetown’s campus. | André Chung for Politico Magazine., Featured Image
Quallen’s demand was effectively the first shot in what has become a 4½-year debate over how the school should atone for its slave-holding past. In September 2015, Georgetown’s president, John J. DeGioia, impaneled a working group of academics, administrators and students to study the issue. Two months later, black students staged a sit-in in his office successfully demanding the removal of names like Mulledy’s, which still graced several prominent buildings on campus. In 2016, the university agreed to give admissions preference to descendants of the 272 slaves; and the first two descendants arrived in the fall of 2017. College officials and the Jesuits held a mass of contrition in the spring of 2017 as a formal mea culpa for the sale.