Since Last We Met

The Descendants Documentary Project

Since Last We Met is a multi-year, multi-film documentary project developed by Bernie Cook in collaboration with members of the GU272+ community, the living descendants whose ancestors were owned by the Jesuits of Maryland. Many of these ancestors were sold by the Jesuits to two plantations in Southern Louisiana in 1838. The premise of this project is that the living descendants provide the closest connection to the ancestors and their lives under Slavery and after Emancipation.

Since many of the primary documents about the enslaved were written and archived by the Jesuits themselves, family narratives are essential to a fuller understanding of the ancestors’ experiences and perspectives. The project began in 2016 when Cook joined Adam Rothman (Director of Georgetown’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies) in hosting Cheryllyn Branche and her husband James in Special Collections at Georgetown University. Cook interviewed Branche after she examined the Bill of Sale and other primary documents of the 1838 sale of her ancestors Hilly and Henny Ford. Since Last We Met has involved interviewing and filming with Patricia Bayonne-Johnson, Onita Estes-Hicks, Leroy Baker, Jessica Tilson, Debra Tilson, Bernadine Poole, Mélisande Short-Colomb, Shep Thomas, Karran Harper Royal and Kenneth Royal, among others.

What We Do

Our projects

I Am The Bridge (2023)

Currently screening, I Am The Bridge (2023) is from the point-of-view of Mélisande Short-Colomb, a chef, mother, teacher, and GU 272+ descendant who leaves her New Orleans home to enroll at Georgetown University.

IM4REAL (2018)

IM4REAL (2018) is a short documentary film showing Jessica Tilson’s ingenious approaches to maintaining and interpreting the graves of her ancestors in Immaculate Heart of Mary Cemetery in Maringouin, LA.

This Will Not Stop Here (2023)

This Will Not Stop Here is a short film featuring Miles Aceves-Lewis (CAS ’22), who shares a personal narrative of the first student vote endorsing reparations for Slavery in American History.