Technology and Innovation
Georgetown University is undergoing an extensive review of its relationship to American slavery, including the Maryland Jesuits' 1838 sale of 272 enslaved persons to fund University operations. The University's work includes a year-long investigation by its Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation [http://slavery.georgetown.edu/], which was charged to make recommendations on how best to acknowledge and recognize Georgetown’s historical relationship with the institution of slavery; examine and interpret the history of certain sites on our campus; and convene events and opportunities for dialogue on these issues. The Working Group's work culminated with the issuance of its September 2016 Report [http://slavery.georgetown.edu/report/]. Following the Working Group's effort, Georgetown University Library's Steering Committee on Presidential Working Group Initiatives spent an additional year investigating how to advance the University's stated goal to become world leaders in the study of slavery, memory and reconciliation. In this session, the presenters—the Steering Committee chair, and one of its task force chairs—first will provide an update on the Library's initiatives, including its process for digitizing primary documents that chronicle the 1838 sale of enslaved people and related slavery, memory and reconciliation materials. Next, the presenters will discuss how best to leverage the mission and expertise of research libraries to facilitate creating new digital collections, new forms of scholarship that may emerge from such collections, and how best to use such collections and related work to open dialogues for social, cultural, and racial issues that affect our institutions. Finally, the presenters, both librarians of color, will reflect upon the emotional burdens of working on this initiative amidst contemporary issues like the 45th presidency, Charlottesville and other racially-motivated pressures on or near college campus, and the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in librarianship.