In 1838, Georgetown University and the Maryland Jesuits sold nearly 300 enslaved men, women and children to sugar plantations in southern Louisiana in orderto recuse the college from bankruptcy. Until late 2015, Georgetown University folklore said that all of them quickly succumbed to fever in the malodorous swamp world of Louisiana, leaving no trace and no descendants. But this wasn’t true.
The Georgetown Memory Project was founded in November 2015 to discover what really happened to the Georgetown slaves sold in 1838. The GMP was founded by Georgetown alumni, and receives no financial assistance whatsoever from Georgetown University or the Maryland Jesuits.
To date, the Georgetown Memory Project has discovered that 206 of the Georgetown slaves were transported to Louisiana in 1838, while 91 more were left behind in Maryland. In addition, the GMP has identified, located and verified more than 6,178 of their direct descendants (living and deceased). This is their story.
Richard J. Cellini, Esq. is the Founder & Secretary of The Georgetown Memory Project
Richard Cellini graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in 1984, and a law degree in 1988. He received a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge (UK) in 1994.
Richard founded the Georgetown Memory Project in 2015. The GMP is a non-profit research institute focused on the topic of university-sponsored slavery. The GMP is currently working to identify 272 enslaved people sold by Georgetown University to southern Louisiana in 1838, and to locate their lineal descendants. To date, the GMP has documented the lives of 211 of the original GU272, and traced more than 6,100 direct descendants (living and deceased).