Historically Speaking: Rachel Swarns: The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church
- Thursday, July 20, 2023
- 7:00pm - 8:00pm
In 1838, a group of America’s most prominent Catholic priests sold 272 enslaved people to save their largest mission project, what is now Georgetown University. In a groundbreaking account, journalist, author, and professor Rachel L. Swarns follows one family through nearly two centuries of indentured servitude and enslavement to uncover the harrowing origin story of the Catholic Church in the United States. Through the saga of the Mahoney family, Swarns illustrates how the Church relied on slave labor and slave sales to sustain its operations and to help finance its expansion. Swarns will be joined in conversation by Michel Martin, host of NPR’s Morning Edition. Signed books will be available for sale courtesy of Smithsonian Enterprises.