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Georgetown University confronts its slave history

WASHINGTON - Georgetown University has announced it will rename two buildings that had been named for school presidents who organized the sale of slaves to help pay off campus debt in the 1830s.

The Washington Post reports university President John J. DeGioia sent an email to the Georgetown community Saturday evening saying he was changing the names based on a recommendation from his Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation.

Mulledy Hall is a dormitory named for President Thomas F. Mulledy, who authorized the sale of 272 slaves to a Louisiana plantation owner in 1838. It will be called Freedom Hall until a permanent name is chosen.

McSherry Hall, which houses a meditation center and was named for President William McSherry, will be called Remembrance Hall until it's renamed. McSherry advised Mulledy during the 1838 sale.

Student leaders had organized demonstrations and sit-ins over the building names, the Post reports. A Georgetown senior who helped organize the protests said activists "used the momentum" from student protests on other campuses to build support.

The highest-profile incident of race-elated tensions on America's college campuses in recent weeks happened at the University of Missouri, where protests led to the resignation of the school's president and another official. The tensions have also spread into the Ivy League, with Yale University and Brown University recently seeing protests about their school's response to race-related incidents.

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