National revelations of this connection were reported in a 2016 article in The New York Times. A discussion is ongoing addressing the question of reconciliation of the university and the descendants; an internal working group at Georgetown recommended that the university offer "the same consideration [they] give members of the Georgetown community in the admissions process" to the descendants. In response to these issues, descendant groups have formed, including the GU 272 Descendants Association.
Isaac Hawkins Hall, formerly Mulledy Hall and Freedom Hall, at Georgetown University
After the revelation around the slave sale gained wider publicity, the university decided to rename two buildings that bore the names of two Jesuits at Georgetown who had played significant roles in the 1838 sale, Reverends Thomas Mulledy and William McSherry. In November 2015, Mulledy Hall was renamed Freedom Hall and McSherry Hall was renamed Remembrance Hall as temporary measures while other names were being considered. In 2017, the two buildings were rededicated in the names of Isaac, the first slave listed in the 1838 sale document, and Anne Marie Becraft, a free woman of color who established a school in Georgetown for black girls.
Isaac Hawkins Hall
Isaac was an enslaved man born around 1773 and is believed to have been baptized in 1777. Historical records do not provide a family name, so his descendants' surname Hawkins was assigned to him. Before the sale he lived on the Jesuits' White Marsh plantation near present-day Bowie, Maryland, and went on to have at least five children. He was 65 years old at the time of the sale in 1838. Most of his family members were also sold and were sent to Louisiana; his son Patrick arrived on the same ship as Isaac, and his grandson Cornelius was sent to Louisiana as well. His name does not appear on bills of sale from the 1850s that include his descendants, so Isaac is assumed to have died before then. Isaac has living descendants as of 2017 .
Isaac was chosen to represent the entire group for the building renaming because his name was first on the list of enslaved people sold. Georgetown historian Maurice Jackson said, "We thought if we take the name of the first person, in which some ways he becomes representative of the other enslaved black people sold". The building and an adjacent one had been built around 1833 and 1904, and housed Jesuits until 2004. After ten years of vacancy, they were renovated as student housing and opened in 2015.
In the February 5, 2019 episode of PBS's Finding Your Roots, actress S. Epatha Merkerson was revealed to be a descendant of Isaac Hawkins.