Mulledy/Healy Legacy Committee Report

During the 2015-2016 academic year, Holy Cross, like many other colleges and universities in the United States, spent time reflecting on its historical connection with the institution of slavery. The history and legacy of Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy, S.J., founder, and the Healy family of Georgia, whose four biracial sons were among the first graduates of Holy Cross, played a distinguishing role in the College’s early years. Their individual and interrelated connection to slavery is complex, and both Fr. Mulledy and Bishop James Healy, the College’s first valedictorian, have residence halls named after them. In mid-November 2015, Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., charged a committee of faculty, staff and students to review our history, so that we as an educational community might engage the consequences of that history in our own time.

Drawing from that committee’s report, Fr. Boroughs has decided that Mulledy Hall be renamed Brooks-Mulledy Hall. The year after founding the College, Fr. Mulledy accepted and nurtured the Healy brothers as students, fully aware of their legal status as slaves in their native state of Georgia. Consequently, Fr. Mulledy’s history at Holy Cross is worth remembering, without ignoring his sale of slaves five years earlier when he was the Jesuit provincial. His story, in both its shame and in its growth, plays a part in our institutional narrative. At the same time, we include the Brooks name as a way of signaling another transformative moment in the history of the College. Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J., president from 1970 to 1994, actively recruited a number of remarkable African-American men in a deliberate effort to integrate our campus in 1968, while he was a faculty member of the theology department. Shortly thereafter, in the early days of his presidency, Fr. Brooks opened the college to women. Linking the names of these Jesuit presidents and the evolving openness to racial inclusiveness they promoted, creates a bridge between our more recent history and our past, and sets the stage for engaging ongoing issues of inclusivity now and in the future. The full report from the Mulledy/Healy Legacy Committee can be found on the committee website at http://www.holycross.edu/mulledy-healy-legacy-committee/final-committee-report.  ■