War and Priests: Catholic Colleges and Slavery in the Age of Revolution, with Dr. Craig Wilder

War and Priests: Catholic Colleges and Slavery in the Age of Revolution, with Dr. Craig Wilder

October 27, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs


(bell tolling) – So good morning, and welcome
to this final formal event of the Emancipation Day Symposium sponsored by the Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation. I am Father David Collins. I’m a professor in the History Department, and I’m the Chair of the Working Group, and it’s a great pleasure
for me to welcome you here to Riggs Library this morning
and to welcome our speakers and to look forward to the conversation that we are continuing. Having made this welcome,
there will be a quick series of introductions leading
up to our invited speaker, Professor Craig Wilder,
and so with no further ado, let’s get that sequence underway, and allow me to introduce Father Ray Kemp who will continue the process
of introducing today’s talk. – Thank you David.
(audience applauding) I’m not gonna be long. I’m the guy in between kind of thing. I have known Dr. Gloria Wilder, MD, Dr. Craig Wilder, PhD,
sister for some time, and Dr. Gloria and I had
worked with Dr. Bob Bies who is teaching right now
in the business school, could not be here today,
and Gloria, Craig’s sister, and I have been on his faculty for the Executive Masters
in Leadership program in the DC public schools. Gloria had been, become a part of my Struggle in Transcendence
undergraduate class, that I teach in the spring semester, and I asked Dr. Gloria two years ago, more than two years ago, if Dr. Craig, who I’d met some years
before as Core Health Chair, which his great sister made him the chair of her little board, if she
might have a copy of a book that you will find on a table outside, and she said, “I’m coming to
class on this particular day.” She says the latest, most
undergraduates are from my class usually when she appears, and she said, “I’ve got something special for you.” I walked in then the
class was in (mumbles), and standing in the hallway is a guy. I said, “I know him.” I said, “Oh, my god,”
he’s got in his hand, this book, which you will know is dedicated to his
sister, and the surprise that Dr. Gloria had for me
was to bring her brother to my Struggle in Transcendence class, and that’s two years ago this month. She not only brought the
book, she brought the author of the book. Today, in the churches,
the Feast of St. Anselm. Anselm’s motto was “Faith
seeking understanding.” We’ve had a a lot of facts
about a lot of Georgetown and slavery this week. I am seeking understanding. I’m looking for the why. A man who helps me understand the why is somebody I’ve known longer
than both of the Wilders, and that is our own Dr. Maurice Jackson. Without further ado, Maurice, I’m not gonna give you an introduction except to say, we did it back in the day, and we’re still doing it now. There’s a lot of thread left on the spool. Come on up here. (audience applauding) – There’s not much thread
left on this knee here so if you see me limping, it’s ’cause I gotta do something with it. Thank you, thank you for coming. How many of you all know
who Amanita Rose is? I’m not asking you stories. (mumbles) How many of you
know who Amanita Rose is? I see a lot of hands. Who is it? It’s, you can look at me and
tell, I don’t have much money, but I’m gonna get a 20-dollar
bill and put it on the wall. It’ll be the, it’ll be
the only thing I have. So, you may applaud, (mumbles). A special thanks to Father Kemp, a close family friend for many years. In the world, there’s Pope Francis, in Nicaragua, there’s
Father Ernesto Cardenal, and in Washington, DC, there’s Ray Kemp. So we are glad to have men,
and thank you, especially, for the Working Group under the leadership of Dr. David Collins, SJ. As I joke in African
American (mumbles), we say, Reverend Martin Luther King, DR, but in Jesuit community, you
say, Dr. David Collins, SJ. And also I’d like to pay special thanks to the student members of the committee. Krista Walker, Connor Maidenyear, Christopher Wadibia, Ayo Aruliba, and especially Matthew Quelan. Matthew has really been the spark, in many ways, behind this committee. He’s been the student historian. He’s led the university on walks, he’s started on tours of the campus, and really has been one
(mumbles), and then of course, this is one of Father Kevin
O’Brien’s last missions here. He will soon depart for the Pacific. I’d like to mention one
thing about the committee before I introduce. A lot of things are often misunderstood, and one is the role of the
president of the university. The fact is that the president
establishes committee. There was no demand, there was no student, there was no student affected. Nobody was on the door was
saying, “You must do this.” Whether he got the jump on or not, whether he had a vision, I don’t know, but often, sometimes,
words are misunderstood, and it’s also that the
committee was established to be a rubber stamp. Well, if you know me, Professor Rothman, if you know Professor Collins, we don’t rubber stamp or anything, except you have a wife
like me then (chuckles). Yes, dear, I’m sorry, I
love you, but we don’t. So in this sense, the
commission was established by the president to seek the truth, and nothing but the truth,
and I think the article in the New York Times, and
one in the Washington Post, in many ways reflect that we seek, as though saying, “Go the
truth will set you free.” But as the greatest
philosopher I’ve ever met, my grandmother, who was a
washerwoman who raised me. Her name was Pearl Dickerson,
third-grade education. She had a simple thing about the truth. Right is right, and
right don’t wrong nobody. Or as Dr. King, who paraphrased Du Bois, who paraphrased James Russell Lowell. “Truth forever on the scaffold, “wrong forever on the throne, “but the truth will last forever, “and a lie will last alone.” Of course, Russell said
something (mumbles), or as the Bible says, “My God
is real, my truth is real. “For I can feel it in my soul,” and that is what this
committee seeks to do, and we are so fortunate
today to have with us, an extraordinary scholar, Dr. Craig Wilder or the Massachusetts,
MIT, Professor of History. He’s a student of Bronx. If you come from Asia,
you say the Philippines, if you come from parts of
Africa, you say, the Gabon. Not many places where you
say “the” in front of it, but he went to Fordham
University in the Bronx, and we’re glad to have him here. He’s authored many works,
A Covenant with Color, Race and Social Power in Brooklyn, In The Company Of Black
Men, The African Influence on African Americans. He’s won many awards,
too many to mention here, but what stands him out
is that he gives back, something that so few do. He’s been a senior fellow at
the Bard Prison Initiative, where he works there with
those who incarcerated. He began his career like
our current president, as a community organizer, and so today, it’s my honor to present
to you, Dr. Craig Wilder. (audience applauding) – First, just a quick
thank you to Father Kemp, Maurice Jackson, the
administration here at Georgetown, for the invitation to come. I’ve been coming to the Georgetown campus for actually a really long time, because my sister went
here, and so that was my, sort of introduction to Georgetown. And it’s really quite an
honor to be invited back to give a talk, and particularly, to give a talk on this
topic at this moment. In August 1797, shortly after
his final term in office, President George Washington rode horseback to the Catholic College in Georgetown, a settlement that the state of Maryland had ceded six years earlier
to the federal district. In 1789, John Carroll
had founded the college. Carroll was the nation’s
first Catholic bishop and a former Jesuit. Pope Clement XIV had
suppressed the Society of Jesus in 1773, and that lasted 41 years. Georgetown president, Louis
Guillaume Valentin DuBourg, and a small faculty of
French and Creole Sulpicians, and ex-Jesuits from the United States, the West Indies, Ireland,
and Continental Europe, greeted General Washington. Washington spoke to the faculty and a larger body of students
from the Portugal North, the second academic hall on campus. I would argue that enslaved
people completed that scene. Slaves belonging to the
faculty and officers, and slaves owned or leased
from local craftsmen and merchants labored at Georgetown during its first four decades. The Catholic clergy owned several estates, Maryland slave plantations,
that funded their missions, including the college
and St. Mary’s Seminary, founded in 1791. In fact, the college had an account with the local tobacco
merchant, Brooke Beall, before it had a single student. The vice president governed
the campus servants and the records offered glimpses into the routineness of that
business of slavery on campus. In 1793, the merchant, Thomas Corcoran, received, and I’ll quote,
“cash for one pair shoes “for Negro Nat.” Two years later, the officers paid cash for Negroes, Joseph and
Wat, for three days’ work. In December 1798, they agreed
to board four Negro children at 20 dollars each, with
Margaret Medley in town. If George Washington’s visit to Georgetown confirmed the incorporation of Catholics into the United States,
then the enslaved people on campus captured the economic forces binding the new nation. Georgetown was a product
of the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions. Exiles of the Atlantic
uprisings dominated the college, and it was a beneficiary
of the slave economies that excited that age of
political transformation. Higher education in the United States rose with the slave trade, and evolved with the westward expansion
of plantation slavery, and the dependent rise of manufacturing and banking economies
in Northeastern cities. Colleges had advanced the
commercial development of the American colonies,
European nations had used colleges to supply colonial administrations and put imposed religious orthodoxy, facilitate trade, and
wage cultural warfare against indigenous nations. Americans founded at
least 17 new colleges, an average of one per
year, between the end of the revolution and
the turn of the century. To secure their economic
and political interest, the commodification of black bodies, in other words, underwrote
those developments, too. Washington himself had
financial links to Georgetown, and personal ties to the college. He was a founder of the Potomac Company, a commercial partnership that sought to develop Georgetown as
the gateway to the West, a Potomac River port situated
at the narrowest land passage from the Atlantic seaboard across the Appalachian mountain range. Bishop Carroll, a slave owner, located his college at
the center of this region on a cliff overlooking
an active tobacco port. Father DuBourg and the
faculty had corresponded, in fact, with Martha
and George Washington, and the professors and students had visited the Washingtons
at Mount Vernon. A small group of Protestants had studied at the Catholic college
during its first decades, and among them were the
President’s grandnephews, Bushrod and Augustine. Of the possible years that
Georgetown’s governors could have chosen as
their founding moment, they eventually selected 1789, a relatively late date but one concurrent with the ratification of the Constitution and the inauguration of George Washington. Quote, “It gives me
great pleasure to hear, “Washington is chosen President.” The Reverend John Fenwick
wrote from the Catholic college in Flanders to his cousin, the
prominent tobacco merchant, Captain Ignatius Fenwick
of Carrollsburg, Maryland. “He deserves that post, to be sure, “if merit has any weight.” The crisis of the American Revolution, I would argue to you, allowed Catholics to escape their status as a persecuted and despised minority, and Washington was the symbolic guarantor
of that fragile compact, a fragile compact that
unified a diverse nation. In many ways, the symbolic guarantor of the security of the transition from a colonial system
based on denominationalism to a federal system
under the Constitution. Early in his presidency,
Washington had sent letters of assurance of religious
liberty to Quakers, the Reformed Dutch,
Episcopalians and Presbyterians. He replied to a plea from
the nation’s Roman Catholics, signed by John Carroll
and several lay leaders, including Carroll’s cousin,
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, with an affirmation of freedom
of conscience and faith. A few months later, the
President promised the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island,
a government that, quote, “gives to bigotry no
sanction, to persecution, “no assistance.” His response to the Carrolls also acknowledged the sacrifices of Catholics, domestic and
foreign, during the Revolution. Ihe inclusion of
Catholics in the citizenry rewarded their wartime contributions, but commerce opened this era of interdenominational
concord and undergirded this political confederation. In fact, earlier in
North American history, the experience of Catholics
was quite different. In late 1633, three English Jesuits, Fathers Andrew White, John
Gravener, and Thomas Gervase, set sail for Maryland
aboard the Ark and the Dove. The ships landed first in Barbados, which had a population of
English and Irish Catholics. The captains then piloted the
vessels through the Caribbean before venturing up the
mainland coast to Virginia. On Lady Day 1634, the Jesuits officiated the first Catholic mass in Maryland, and then turned their efforts
to evangelizing native people. Four other Jesuits arrived that decade. Reverend White opened an Indian academy near the Anacostia River. Father Roger Rigbie
ministered to the Piscataway and translated the catechism
into their language. By 1640, the Jesuits had
planned to build a college at St. Mary’s settlement to facilitate missionizing
the Lenape, the Anacostia, the Susquehannock, the Powhatan, and other indigenous nations. At that time, there was
only one Protestant college in the Americas, Harvard, founded in 1636, and it was constitutionally anti-Catholic. Although Maryland was
the most heavily Catholic of the English mainland colonies, and the only Catholic proprietorship, Catholics were less than
a 10th of the population. In 1649, the General
Assembly and Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore, instituted
religious tolerance in the colony, a modest protection that lasted only a few decades. Following the outbreak of
the English Civil Wars, Protestants arrested
Fathers White and Copley, and deported them in chains. They hunted Reverends Roger Rigbie, Bernard Hartwell, and John Cooper, and brought them to
Virginia, where they died. Anti-Catholics gained greater strength after the Glorious
Revolution of 18, sorry, 1688, the overthrow of
the Catholic James II, formerly the Duke of
York, and the restoration of the Protestant monarchy. In 1692, the General Assembly of Maryland established the Church of England. In 1704 it restricted the
exercise of Catholic sacraments, prohibited Catholics
from operating schools, limited the corporate
ownership of property to hamper the religious
orders like the Jesuits, and encouraged the conversion
of Catholic children. Established churches
in the English colonies were vigilant against the
Catholic infiltration, and colleges helped
address these religious and political threats. During the English Civil Wars, Massachusetts banished Catholic clergy and assigned the death penalty
for repeat trespassers. New England’s proximity to France fueled even greater tension. The colonists had a half dozen wars with New France, beginning
with King William’s War, the American theater
of the Nine Years’ War, and ending with the French and Indian War, the colonial arm of the Seven Years’ War. Virginia established Anglicanism and forbade Catholics
from voting, bearing arms, serving on juries or
as witnesses in court. In 1693, during King William’s War, planters and ministers in Virginia organized the College of William and Mary under Anglican governance. Anti-Catholic literature filled
the libraries at Harvard, William and Mary, and Yale. The Glorious Revolution
also swept through New York, bringing the departure of
Governor Thomas Dungan, a Catholic appointed by James II. As early as 1685, Governor Dungan had encouraged English Jesuits to establish a Latin
school in New York City with the hope of raising a college. And in fact, in the 17th century, all the attempts at
establishing a Catholic college in the British mainland colonies failed, and they largely failed
because of the persistence of anti-Catholicism. The colonial government’s response to the April 1712 Slave
Revolt in New York City in Manhattan during Queen Anne’s War, fed in part on anti-Catholic rage. Following the revolt,
the New York legislature assigned the death penalty for any slave who attempted or conspired to harm or kill any free Christian, and in 1730, it expressly broadened the law to punish slaves who assaulted
any Christian or Jew. By that time, Jewish merchants such as Rodrigo Pacheco, Jacob France, Franks, I’m sorry, Moses and Samuel Levy, Nathan Simpson, Isaac Levy,
and Mordecai and David Gomez, were trading in slave people and goods between the Dutch and British Caribbean, the North American mainland
colonies, Africa and Europe. They often partnered with
leading Christian merchants including Adolph Philips,
Robert Livingston, William Walton, Anthony Rutgers, Arnot Schuyler, David
and Matthew Clarkson, and Henry Cuyler. The 1741 Slave Conspiracy
that shook New York City revealed how much commerce was actually shaping social relations. In April, as investigations began, you have an attempt of the non-Protestants to distance themselves from the revolt and from the violence that was going on. What the courts ultimately
did was it seized upon fears of a Catholic infiltration in New York, to push even more aggressive
anti-Catholic legislation, and to justify the extraordinary violence that the colony brought
against the black population. The violent integration and expansion of the Atlantic slave economies created the financial
and social conditions for the growth of higher
education in the British colonies. In less than a quarter century, actually, following the New
York Revolt, sequentially, in less than a quarter century, slave traders and other
merchants in New England, the Upper Mid-Atlantic, and planters in the Lower Mid-Atlantic,
the South and the West Indies, funded six new colleges,
so in other words, the number of colleges
in the British colonies more than tripled from three to 10. In 1745, Anglicans in Barbados
organized Codrington College. The following year,
Presbyterians chartered the College of New Jersey. About 1749, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Quakers established the
College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania. In 1754, the Anglican minority in New York finally consolidates enough power to establish King’s College, now Columbia. A decade later, Baptists in Rhode Island founded the College of Rhode
Island, now Brown University, and in 1766, the Dutch Reform leadership in New Jersey opened Queens
College, now Rutgers. Finally, in 1769, New
Hampshire was granted a charter to the Congregationalist
minister, Eleazar Wheelock, to establish Dartmouth College. Each of those colleges was established with money that emerged
out of the slave trade, that came out of the slave
trade, and out of slavery, and then slave people were
present at the founding moments. At Dartmouth, for instance,
Eleazar Wheelock arrives in New Hampshire after
he gets his charter, with eight enslaved black people, seven adults and a child,
meaning that Wheelock actually has more slaves than faculty, more slaves than trustees, more
slaves than administrators, and an honest accounting would say he has more slaves than students. Jewish families in the colonies had used private tutors
in small private academies to educate their children,
but they gained some access to the new colleges. Donations from Jacob Rodrigues de Rivera and Aaron Lopez of Newport, Rhode Island, who were in the slave
trade, and the planter and merchant, Moses Lindo of
Charleston, South Carolina, for instance, led the
College of Rhode Island, now Brown, to admit its
first Jewish students. The colleges in New York and Philadelphia also opened admissions. That’s important because in contrast, Catholics had access to no
college in the British colonies. Ordered priests ran small academies and sent privileged youths abroad to complete their educations. A number of colleges in Continental Europe specialized in training
English and colonial Catholics. The cousins John and Charles
Carroll, for instance, studied at the somewhat
clandestine preparatory school at the Jesuits’ Bohemian
Manor plantation in Maryland. Eleanor and Daniel Carroll
sent their son, John, to the Jesuit College of
St. Omer, Northern France, Elizabeth and Charles Carroll of Maryland sent their Charley to
the College of Reims. Robert Plunkett and Robert Molyneux, later the first two
presidents of Georgetown, ventured from England to
seminaries in Continental Europe that specialized in
training English Catholics. The young Louis Guillaume
Valentin DuBourg, Georgetown’s third president, left Cap-Francais, Saint-Domingue,
now Cap-Haitien, Haiti, to attend St. Omer. Another future president of the college, Stephen Dubuisson, sailed as a boy from Saint-Marc, Saint-Domingue
to study in France. Quote, “I shall never be
able to repay the care “and pains you have
taken of my education,” Charley Carroll wrote to his parents, to his dear Papa, it’s actually addressed, while studying Law at the
Inner Temple in London. In fact, African slavery afforded these Catholics significant
personal freedom. Charley Carroll served as
his father’s business liaison while studying in Europe. Quote, “I shall keep my
Estate in and near Annapolis, “two large seats of Land containing “about 13,000 Acres, my Slaves, “and the Baltimore Iron Works to ye last, so you may chuse,” Carroll of Doughoregan promised his son. The family estate neighbored those of a number of wealthy
plantation and merchant families, including the final generation
of Quaker slave owners, such as the elder John Hopkins. Family and social networks
rooted in the slave economies allowed colonial Catholics to
negotiate the British Atlantic and the anti-Catholic world. “I shall always have,” and I’m quoting, “great Regard for any and
all of our Countrymen, “so that if you know of any Gentlemen, “who chuse to send their
children to the College, “I shall he glad to have them here,” the Reverend John Fenwick appealed from the Dominican college in Flanders. Individual priests, including
Father Henry Pelham, and lay Jesuit leaders had
held the Jesuit estates in Maryland, the Jesuit
farms as personal property, and bequeathed this real
estate to other clerics and lay people to evade
the legal restrictions on religious corporations. The Jesuits were also among
the first slave owners in the Maryland colony, and they used similar legal maneuvers to secure their titles to
hundreds of enslaved people across two centuries. These were, in fact, significant holdings. By the 18th century, the
order owned plantations that reached from the northeast border with Pennsylvania and Delaware to the southwest boundary with Virginia. By the end of the century,
the Jesuit estates comprised more than
14,000 acres in Maryland, including St. Inigoes and Newton, the plantations in St. Mary’s County, St. Thomas in Charles County, White Marsh in Prince Georges County, and Bohemia in Cecil County. Another 2,000 acres in Pennsylvania, and small parcels in other colonies. Visitors often in fact
acknowledged the importance of slavery to the Catholic missions. Quote, “10,000 acres of the best ground “in Maryland forms at this hour, “part of the property of the Jesuits,” protested Patrick Smyth, an Irish priest who spent several months in Maryland and then published a treatise that accused the Jesuits
of abusing enslaved people to support profligacy. He had ample evidence. Granny Sucky, a
96-year-old enslaved woman, recalled that Father John
Bolton of St. Inigoes beat her when she was a child
in the mid-18th century, for interrupting his prayers. Violence was not the only form of abuse. Child mortality was high at St. Inigoes and the other Jesuit plantations. During a 25-year period ending in 1780, when the Jesuit Superior, George Hunter, resided at St. Thomas Manor. Of the 48 black children
born on the plantation, only half survived to maturity. The Jesuits, quote, “have a
prodigious number of Negroes, “and these city rogues will not work “unless they be goaded and whipped “and almost slayed alive,” Smyth charged. Lay Catholics were no less
dependent on the slave economy. Carroll had taught his son Charles Carroll the business of plantation
management and manufacturing. The Carrolls used enslaved black laborers on their estates, and at the ironworks, which they had also purchased
European indentured servants. Upon his return to America,
the younger Carroll took ownership of a share of the lands, and more than 300 human beings. Quote, “Two of them
have been well-whipped,” he assured his father after
hiring a new overseer. Quote, “And Will shall have
a severe whipping tomorrow. “They are now quite quelled.” At the outbreak of the
American Revolution, Charles Carroll could not vote, hold public office, or
serve in the militia. His coreligionists from
Georgia to New Hampshire also faced restrictions
on their civil liberties. When he journeyed to the
Continental Congress, he came not as a member,
but as a mere advisor to the Maryland delegation. Carroll was a strident
defender of political freedom who had described the
tendencies of tyranny in the same colonial newspaper that ran advertisements for
the family’s runaway slaves. In July 1776, Carroll of Carrollton became the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. That August, Marylanders
affirmed the right to the free exercise of religion
for professing Christians. Another 50 years would pass, by the way, before the legislature approved
a constitutional amendment to enfranchise the Jewish population. The American Revolution required, in fact, a radical transformation
in the status of Catholics. Although Protestants in Ireland displayed significant sympathy and interest in the American Revolution, David Doyle concludes that
they actually rejected a model of independence that required
sharing political power with Catholics. Quite different from the United States. Thus, “Long live the King of France” ranks among the more noteworthy chants of a colonial army that had
acquired its military experience in wars against the French Empire. The United States accepted
a peculiar dependence upon Catholic powers in the Atlantic world to achieve its independence. Benjamin Franklin sailed for Paris to serve as ambassador to
the court of Louis XVI, Congress sent James Jay
and Arthur Lee of Virginia to plead its cause
before the Spanish crown. In September 1777, it
authorized Ralph Izard of South Carolina to appeal for funds and support in Italy, where
there was significant interest in the American conflict. For a war between the
Protestant king of Great Britain and his Protestant colonist,
the American Revolution was in fact an extraordinarily
Catholic affair. Several French Catholic general officers advised George Washington, and the new United States government, they devised military strategies and even commanded colonial troops. The Americans embraced
these Catholic allies. Yale granted an honorary degree
to Conrad Alexandre Gerard, the French Minister to the United States. The College of William and
Mary paid the same tribute to General (mumbles). The Reverend John Carroll
preached patriotism and three of his nephews fought under General Lafayette of France. Washington made camp at White
Marsh, the Jesuit plantation, where also General Thomas
Conway was headquartered. He sought Charles Carroll’s advice on organizing Irish troops. The Catholic clergy set
up a military hospital at their Newtown plantation. The United States commissioned
a Catholic chaplain for the continental troops,
and the Father Ruben, a priest under General
Rochambeau’s command, boasted of the enthusiastic crowds and extravagant official reception that greeted French forces in Philadelphia in early September 1781. The celebrants became even more raucous when they learned that French troops had just arrived in the Chesapeake. The French and Spanish crowns
had given covert support to the American rebellion
from its earliest stages. The colonists negotiated with Spain through France, through Paris, and Lafayette returned to France to appeal for direct
military intervention. Spain attacked England’s
interest in South America, and supplied, smuggled
supplies to the colonists across the Alleghenies. In 1783, as the British
evacuation continued, John Carroll called the
clergy to White Marsh to draft a governing structure
for the Catholic church. The Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergy, which the Maryland General
Assembly incorporated in 1792, was also to administer
the financial affairs and take ownership of the Jesuit estates. Carroll’s vision took shape as
the slave economy recovered. And it focused on a
region of the new nation with a long history of
commercial and social interaction between Protestants and Catholics. The English invasion
had disrupted slavery, and enemy troops had ransacked many of the Jesuit plantations. The British navy had blockaded and occupied the Chesapeake
Bay and lower Potomac, empowering thousands of black people to escape the plantations
and seek freedom. But in December 1784, Father James Walton ordered the slaves at Sr. Inigoes to begin building a new church. The following year, Father
Carroll laid the cornerstone. Francis Neale, a future
president of Georgetown College, later dedicated the church. The American victory and
the subsequent unraveling of the French empire set the conditions for institutionalizing the Catholic Church in the United States. In April 1789, George
Washington was inaugurated in New York City. That same month, riots broke out in Paris, and in a few weeks, France was
in the throes of rebellion. After mobs stormed the
Bastille on July 14th, 1789, the Marquis de Lafayette,
General Washington’s ally, took the key to that breached prison and sent it to Washington,
his friend, as a souvenir. That year, Pope Pius
VI established diocese in the United States that became a refuge for French clerics. Urged by Benjamin Franklin, the Vatican also elevated
John Carroll to bishop. The ripples of the French Revolution were felt in the United States. The tobacco merchant
Joseph Fenwick had left for France after the American Revolution, a moment of great economic optimism, and he soon encountered an Irish smuggler and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom actually gave him very
solid business advice. But for the church, the
most important thing that happened was during the
first year of the Revolution. The National Assembly
abolished aristocratic titles and curtailed the authority of the Catholic Church in France. The Sulpician John Dubois
fled Paris in disguise, and in August 1791, landed in Virginia with letters of introduction
from General Lafayette. The Lees, the Randolphs, the Monroes, the Beverlys assisted the young priest. Patrick Henry tutored him in English. By that time, by the time
that he was being tutored, enslaved people on the island
of Saint-Domingue, now Haiti, France’s most valuable colony,
were in full rebellion. Hundreds of French and
Creole families relocated to Maryland, with
assistance from the state, to basically wait out these
respective revolutions. The Atlantic rebellions
allowed Bishop Carroll to create a network of
colleges and seminaries, and to project the Catholic Church across the United States. After opening Georgetown in 1789, the bishop turned his attention to helping the Sulpicians
organize a seminary. The antichurch and anticlerical thrust in France threatened the
Sulpicians’ Parisian academy, and they began fundraising and recruiting European
students for Maryland. In 1791, as the first class
was entering Georgetown, the French priests opened St. Mary’s. Quote, “All our hopes are founded “on the seminary of
Baltimore,” Carroll declared. In 1792, the dishop dispatched a group of Dominicans, who had come
to Maryland as refugees, to the rapidly growing
territory of Kentucky. Catholics were not the only Americans to recognize the opportunities
in Europe’s instability, particularly, the Haitian
and French Revolutions. George Washington and
Thomas Jefferson, in 1795, actually briefly plotted to relocate the entire College of Geneva to the United States, to
help build their nation. Georgetown was, in other words, a child of the Atlantic rebellions. Emigres from the revolutions in France and Haiti filled the faculty
and the student body. The first class included
Francois and Antoine Casse, students from France, Madeira, Martinique, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, Cuba, St. John, Saint-Domingue and Santo Domingo arrived in the following years. By 1798, the college governors were actually publishing the prospectus in English, French, and Spanish. Among the earliest presidents
were Fathers Louis DuBourg and Stephen Dubuisson, born to
slaveholding Creole families in Cap-Francois and
Saint-Marc respectively, key sites in the slave unrest that led to the Haitian Revolution. Reverend DuBourg traveled to Havana, Cuba with the hopes of opening a college there, and when that effort failed, he returned to the United States, recruiting Cuban children
to the Maryland colleges. Quote, “To American
commerce, may it ever derive “greater pride from the
distress it has relieved “than from the wealth it has accumulated,” the guest toasted at
a feast on the evening of January 9th, 1809. Quote, “The concourse of
French and American ladies “gentlemen was numerous and brilliant,” the Maryland Gazette praised. Creoles from Haiti came to
honor the West Indies trader, Duncan McIntosh, and other merchants and captains who had risked their vessels and money running rescue
missions to Haiti, to bring the white Creole
population to the United States. Father DuBourg presented
McIntosh with an award for his humanitarianism. He was credited with saving
more than 2,000 people. In an address to the Free School Society that same year in New York City, Mayor DeWitt Clinton praised, quote, “The refugees from the French West Indies, “who had established one of the city’s “first charity schools,
an academy that was,” and I’ll quote again,
“patronized and cherished “by French and American gentlemen “of great worth and respectability.” Slavery allowed for the
immediate incorporation of these refugees into
the American church. The Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergy assigned two plantations. I’m sorry, one plantation, Bohemia, to the Sulpicians, who used the profits from that plantation to
fund St. Mary’s Seminary. Quote, “That the managers
of St. Thomas plantation “be allowed the sum of 75 pounds “for a Negro boy called Alexis, “in the service of the bishop.” Read, the March 1797 minutes. The clergy also voted
to sell a parcel of land to raise 4,000 dollars to
complete the construction of Georgetown College. In late summer, 1799, the Sulpicians actually began protesting the benefits that they were getting and the fees that they were paying
back to the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergy,
and much of this involved, in fact, the movement of enslaved people between the various Catholic
institutions in Georgetown and Maryland. The bodies and the
labor of enslaved people paid the Catholic Church’s debts, including the liabilities of Georgetown, which was tuition-free
during its first 40 years. In October 1799, the Roman
Catholic clergy approved the sale of, quote, “Kate and her two children “now belonging to Bohemia estate.” In April 1804, the Corporation resolved to satisfy its obligations
by selling expendable slaves from their Deer Creek property “to humane and Christian
masters,” which is their quote, A couple of years later,
John Ashton demanded that the clergy give him,
quote, “ye boy Davy, Simon’s son and now motherless,” from
White Marsh, to meet a debt, and one can go on and on. The corporation typically
held its meetings at St. Thomas, Newtown, and White Marsh, at the actual plantations. Robert Plunkett, Georgetown’s
first, founding president, actually, began his
ministry at White Marsh, and at least two early presidents had managed Jesuit plantations, Leonard Neale at St. Inigoes, and Francis Neale at St. Thomas, a duty that involved
disciplining, acquiring, and disposing of human beings. The treatment of people on
the Jesuit plantations was, in fact, alarming. After 1805, the brothers began
supervising the plantations. Quote, “Some years ago
Blacks were more easily kept “in due subordination
and were more patient “under the rod of correction
than they are now, “because then discipline flourished, “but now it is going to decay,” complained Brother Joseph Mobberly, the supervisor of St. Inigoes. He went on, “The present white generation “seems to lose sight
of the old observation, “the better a negro is
treated, the worse he becomes.” Mobberly hired five overseers
in a four-year period beginning 1816. He also served as the doctor, and only hired trained
physicians for emergencies. The declining profitability
and deteriorating management of the Maryland farms created
other crises for the Jesuits. In 1820, the Irish priest Peter Kenney, official visitor to the Maryland province, documented, in fact, awful
conditions on the plantations. The supervisors were
providing insufficient rations to slaves, overworking servants, and inflicting what he
described as excessive violence upon enslaved men and women. Father Kenncy particularly
condemned the practices of tying up women and beating them, quote, “in the priest own parlor,
which is very indecorous.” He also noted that they were
whipping pregnant women. The clergy paid little
attention to the spiritual lives of servants, and Kenney suggested that the order begin
looking toward a moment when it could, quote,
“get rid of the slaves, “either by employing whites
or letting out their lands “to reputable tenants.” Rather than retreating from slaveholding, the bishops built their church by tracking the westward expansion of plantation slavery. The 1803 Louisiana
Purchase had opened a vast and heavily Catholic missionary field. It brought a vast territory
into the United States that was heavily Catholic,
and the Catholic bishops recognized, in fact, that opportunity. After being named bishop
of Louisiana in 1812, Louis DuBourg recruited
veteran Maryland priest, particularly a dozen Belgian Jesuits under Father Charles Van Quickenborne, to establish the Missouri
province of the Jesuits, manage its plantations, and
elevate St. Louis Academy into St. Louis University,
the first university west of the Mississippi River. Bishop DuBourg gave, in
fact, a Florissant farm and slaves to the Missouri Jesuits, and empowered the future
president of the college, Van Quickenborne, quote,
“to sell any or all of them “to humane and Christian masters” if they proved recalcitrant or immoral. The primary justification
for the westward expansion was actually the missionizing
of Native Americans in the Midwest, to bring,
in fact, Catholic religion to the Midwest, but in fact, actually, the Jesuit visitors found that there was, the missions were poorly attended, they were poorly funded,
and they were faltering in their primary aims. African slavery and the
dispossession of native people had been tied together
from the early years of European colonization,
and assertions of the urgency of evangelizing Indians
were routinely followed by declarations of the
necessity of human bondage. In 1832, when Father Kenney
inspected the Missouri province, he complimented, quote,
“the good conduct, industry, “and Christian piety of
the coloured servants “of both sexes.” Despite the broad use of enslaved labor, Missouri was the only province in which Kenney registered
no serious concerns. However, a year later, Thomas Brown, enslaved to President
Verhaegen, strongly disagreed. Brown begged the Jesuit
superior back in Maryland, he wrote him a letter,
begging him for permission to buy his and his wife Molly’s freedom. He had served the society
for nearly 38 years, and Molly Brown, who was 53 years old, was born enslaved to the Jesuits. He accused Verhaegen of
confining them to an outhouse with neither heat nor insulation as winter approached. Quote, “Now we have not
a place to lay our heads “in our old age after all
our service,” he continued. Father Kenney’s visit had exposed, in fact, troubling issues. He read, Kenney had to remind his brethren that it was beneath the dignity of priest to beat or threaten enslaved women, and in fact, he recommended
that they employ lay people to beat women. He assigned the Jesuit brothers to duty of whipping enslaved
men while cautioning all that they should avoid severe punishments. In 1832, Georgetown’s governors conceded that the college had to impose tuition. A business decision that
intensified the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergy’s discussion of dissolving the Maryland slave holdings. Financial concerns, not moral
ones, led to this decision. The order had been violating
its own commitments to maintain families and find
suitable Christian masters. It was now seeking bids on
hundreds of human beings and apparently even attempted
to sell the whole group to Missouri Jesuits as a
way of solving its problems. In June 1838, as Professor
Rothman has pointed out, they, Thomas Mulledy,
President of Georgetown, actually negotiates the
sale of 272 men, women, and children to Louisiana,
and beginning that fall, the Jesuits ship their slaves
to Louisiana in three cargoes. About 15% of the profits went to pay down Georgetown’s debts. That wasn’t the end of the relationship between Georgetown and slavery. Clergy trained in
Maryland and at Georgetown migrated across the nation to build the 19th century Catholic Church. Belgian and French priests
governed the expansion into regions opened by
the Louisiana Purchase and Indian removal. John DuBois left St.
Mary’s to become the Bishop of New York, and was
succeeded in that seat by one of his most famous students, the Irish immigrant, John Hughes. Hughes went on to establish
Fordham University, where I went to school,
the first Jesuit college in New York City. John Hughes had paid his
tuition at St. Mary’s, because he was impoverished,
paid his tuition at St. Mary’s in a deal
with Father DuBois, who was president at the time, and he worked off his tuition by supervising the servants
in the college gardens. In 1843, Thomas Mulledy,
the president of Georgetown who negotiated the sale of the 272 people, became the charter
president of the College of the Holy Cross, the
first Catholic college in New England. John McElroy, who also
departed from Maryland, founded Boston College. Neither the Jesuits nor the
antebellum Catholic Church disengaged from human bondage
with the Maryland sale. Rather, both followed the
path of plantation slavery in search of influence and affluence. African slavery had repeatedly rescued the Catholic community
through a century and a half of oppression in the Protestant colonies. Catholics had used slaves
and the slave economy to evade anti-Catholic laws and survive anti-Catholic violence. They embraced human bondage
to secure their own liberty. The pro-slavery and
anti-abolitionist tradition in the Catholic hierarchy
began not with the arrival of the Irish in the 19th century, but with the emergence
of the Catholic Church as a legal institutional church at the end of the American Revolution, or perhaps even earlier in its history, when slavery allowed Catholics to survive in an anti-Catholic English world. The Atlantic slave economies
laid the foundations of the Catholic Church
in the United States, and underwrote the creation
of a national church that helped to integrate future waves of Catholic immigrants. Thank you. (audience applauding) We’re gonna do Q and A? Okay. – Thank you. So I’ll start with a question,
so then we’ll turn it over. – First, let me just say, I’m
sorry for depressing you all. (audience laughing) That’s our job, actually, in many ways. – John Brown, in his
song, John Brown’s Body, is a wonderful line. He could fight to make men holy but he could not make them free, and during the Civil War movement, the Civil Rights movement,
they changed the words. He could fight to make men holy. Let us fight to make
men free men and women. But here you gave the example
of the Catholic Church and you mentioned the time
when the American Revolution gave the church a certain freedom that it didn’t have before. Yet over here, the Holy Trinity, are blacks and sometimes
families are brought, and the church makes them holy, to save themselves but it
does not make them free. When did a sense of Catholic guilt come in around this question of slavery? Is there anything you can tell us that will make us feel better? (audience laughing) – No, no. No, but I think it is important to note that we often have this problem
when we’re doing history, of this sense that certain
things are inevitable, that it’s simply the
moment we’re looking at, and it’s important to remember that. In fact, at every moment
that I’m talking about there, from the arrival of the first Jesuits, from the first Catholic mass in Maryland, through the initial
purchases of enslaved people in that first decade
of the Jesuit presence in Maryland, there was already available, and anti-slavery argument. And there was a Catholic
anti-slavery argument that was available. The Irish visitors, both
the formal visitors, those assigned by the
Vatican and the Jesuits, and the informal visitors
who come to Maryland in the 18th century, actually repeat the anti-slavery
message in Catholicism, and so it’s there, but like
many American institutions, like many colonial institutions, Catholics are making the active choice to use the slave economy to
protect and project the faith, and that’s really in many ways
the story of the book was, the story of the Catholic
Church is actually the story of Ebony and Ivory. It’s, no university, no college survives the colonial period
without attaching itself to plantation slavery or the slave trade. That’s the difference between
surviving and failing. – Thank you, I spent a lot of my time studying the early Quakers
who had contradictions, but was able to work them out. I should tell you all that
after you read the book, Ebony and Ivory, which really shows that slavery was not just something that existed with one or
two, but existed everywhere, and I carefully, and a university priest, a university president today gets the, he’s presented with slaves if
he’s not selling them himself. I should also tell you that Dr. Wilder has a chapter in the forthcoming book, I think it’s Slavery as Capitalism, which comes out this year, so
you’d want to look at that. So let’s open up to some questions. Questions, not speeches. (audience laughing) Yes, sir. (man mumbling) – Thank you for being here. I wondered what your studies have shown about how the Vatican,
when the Vatican was aware of these practices, and sort
of what its reaction was to it. – Well, you certainly have, actually, right in the records of the society, you actually have the
reports of the visitors, which actually quite comprehensive, about what’s happening on the plantations and they include recommendations
for what should be done. And so the 18th century
reports were actually, 18th century and 19th century reports were actually available. The, I was talking about the,
on this topic up in New York, actually not long ago, and
I had to remind everyone that the American Catholic
Church is stunningly unimportant in the 18th century, and
a minor concern in Europe. You can see that actually
in John Carroll’s promotion to bishop. It’s the intervention
of American Protestants, actually, like Benjamin Franklin, who appealed to the Vatican on his behalf. And in some ways, that’s compensation for Carroll’s active
support of the revolution. Carroll had actually
done, if you remember, the mission to Quebec, to try
and draw the French Canadians in on the American colonial
side of the revolutionary war. That ill-fated trip because the Americans had already tried to attack Quebec, and force them in and lost, and so, it wasn’t, Franklin leaves
the group that’s going. He actually gives up
before they even get there. But the Carrolls actually continue on and try and do that mission, and so, you can actually see some
of the official response to slavery in Maryland
inside those reports, and it gives you a glimpse into
sort of a real-time reaction to what’s happening on
the Maryland plantations. – [Man] Thank you. – Other questions? Yes, ma’am. – [Woman] Sorry, hi, of
the colleges in the north that owned slaves or benefited directly from the slave trade, did any of them have a moral epiphany
and free their slaves, or did most of them sell them, and was there either an incident or just the rise of abolitionism, where a lot of colleges
ended their slave trade around the same time? – For the most part, the
engagement with slavery, the math of when a college owns a person is actually difficult in the North. So for instance, at Princeton, at the College of New Jersey,
the first eight presidents are slave owners, and as the research that’s happening now in the
Princeton and Slavery course that’s on the campus now is showing, the first person you
would’ve met as a student, going to the College of New
Jersey in the 18th century, was the slave of the president, ’cause you would go to
the president’s house. And now whether or not that
means the college owned a person is actually this sort of
game that we end up playing. It’s clear in the tax
rates, in the tax rates of that county in New
Jersey, that the county actually considers the
enslaved people belonging to the college, so when John Witherspoon, president of the College of New Jersey, president of Princeton,
shows up on the tax rate, he has, he owns two people,
and right beneath it, it says, ditto, College
of New Jersey, right? That the two are the
same, and Eleazar Wheelock at Dartmouth runs Dartmouth as
basically a family business, and so Wheelock slaves
are Dartmouth slaves, because Dartmouth is
Wheelock’s business, actually. It’s a family operation. Today, we would call it
a for-profit college. And so, with abolitionism, no,
there is no epiphany moment that I can think of where
colleges disengaged from slavery. In the North, most of the
college’s direct relationship with slavery and enslaved people on campus ends as slavery in the States ends, and that staggered process
of Northern emancipation, but what then happens is the college is actually established very clear and have already established
clear financial links to the places in the Americas
the continue to have slavery and the slave trade, and so at Brown, at Harvard, at Yale, after
slavery ends in New England, and after the slave trade
ends in the United States, after 1808, the colleges
maintain, in fact, close ties to the West Indies, and many of the families in those regions actually have family,
relatives in the West Indies who continue their slaving operations, and so these are close, personal,
and intimate family ties and economic ties that continue long after the end of the
slavery in the States. – Yes, ma’am. – [Woman] I’m a, my history
may be a little bit foggy here, but my memory is that the
French, not the French, the Spanish and the
Portuguese went to the pope, and the pope divided the New World. – Yeah. – [Woman] And that the whole basis there, soon thereafter for establishing colonies, French, I mean, Portuguese and Spanish, in (mumbles), the use of slaves, the transportation of
slaves, and I say that to ask why isn’t there any question
about the Vatican’s knowledge of the church’s involvement with slavery when it started at the beginning. – Yeah, well, actually you
can see in the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773,
one of the major influences on the decision to suppress the Jesuits is the economic and political
role that Jesuits had played mostly in Latin America
and Central America is the concern, right? The Caribbean and South America
is actually the concern. My point was that the Northern Jesuits, the mainland Jesuits in
Maryland are a minor concern in that operation. Both economically, they’re
not all that important, but they’re not all that important as a part of the
institutional Catholic Church in the Americas. It’s a small group, it’s
really quite isolated, and part of, in fact, the problem for Catholics in Maryland
in the 17th and 18th century is linking, in fact, to
that broader Catholic world. It’s why John and Charles
Carroll are sent as kids, and so many of the early
presidents of Georgetown, those who were born in the West Indies and what’s now Haiti are sent to Europe for their formal
educations at universities that specialize in training, both English and colonial Catholics. (woman mumbling) Yeah, there’s a long history,
yeah, there’s a long history of, in literature, of the
Catholic Church debates around slavery, and they begin, in fact, with Spanish colonization in the Americas. And so that literature is a literature we all end up reading in
the studies of the Americas. When you talk about
Maryland in particular, when you wanna kind of,
what was the conversation about Maryland and about what’s happening among the Jesuits in the English colonies. That’s a more difficult one,
and that’s why I was pointing to the reports of the visitors, because they give in
fact a firsthand account of a Vatican Catholic response to what’s happening on
the Maryland plantations. – Any other questions? Yes, sir. Yes. – [Man] Thank you for your talk. One thing that I found really interesting about kind of what you
were talking about today compared to what, a lot of
what we’ve been talking about this week and this year
has been your focus on kind of Georgetown’s
involvement with slavery outside of the 272 that were sold, and that just kind of brings up, well, kind of a history,
kind of a fact-based question of how many slaves were
Jesuit plantations holding in bondage, and then,
and this is a question that might put a historian
in an uncomfortable spot, but I would welcome your reflection on whether maybe the focus of Georgetown as an institution should be
more about slavery in general involving Georgetown versus focusing on this one horrific sale of slaves. – I don’t think that there’s
a negative consequence in focusing on, or taking
a very close look at, the sale of the 272 people. This is an extraordinary
historical moment, and in fact, actually, oddly enough, in one of those perverse ironies, because of the record-keeping
of the Jesuits, you have a chance to really examine this, and I’ve been making
the argument, actually, that one of the reasons
why that sale is important is not, it’s not only its importance to Catholic history and
the history of Catholics in the United States, but also it gives us a real glimpse into and a way of understanding
the extraordinary reliance of American educational, cultural, philanthropic, and social
organizations on slavery, which is often hard to
see in three dimensions, and that sale actually
gives you that ability. I do say that, my caution
is that with the 272 people in that 1838 moment, we
should avoid the temptation to look at that as the
end of Jesuit engagement with slavery, Catholic
engagement with slavery, and we should avoid the temptation to erase or skip over
the much longer history of slavery on the Maryland plantations. The fact that those,
all those human beings are being sold West, reminds us of, the reason I wanted to talk something about the Louisiana Purchase in the talk, and I skipped over a
bit, but the importance of this vast and heavily Catholic region being brought into the United States. The other thing to remember
is that that’s the region into which cotton plantation
slavery is marching. They’re having a westward march
toward the Mississippi River and so this is gonna be the region that dominates the slave
economy of the United States for the next decades, and so, although even as the
church begins to disengage with direct involvement in slave holding, the church will rely upon regions that are actually economically
dependent upon slavery for its own advancement. As for the total number, I
don’t have the total number of people who the Jesuits owned over time. You do have glimpses of
that, of some pieces of that, and fragments of it in the Jesuit records, but there is not, in fact, I don’t think, a perfect accounting that I’ve ever seen of all of them over time, and
not all of the plantations were managed as meticulously as some were. Some of the management is just quite bad, and those of us who’ve read
through the records will, have lost sort of future
years of eyesight, and gained multiple migraine headaches trying to reconstruct what was happening. – Yes, ma’am. – [Woman] (mumbles) It’s an
extraordinarily illuminating speech today. I’m curious, in looking
at all of the colleges, with relationship to slavery,
if there’s any imagery around that, since there is so much in New England of these institutions becoming established and
making themselves look as authoritative as European institutions with buildings, engravings. Were there any image,
was there any imagery of enslaved people or
their activities noted? – Images in Maryland? – [Woman] In Maryland
or even in New England, in terms of noting who was doing the work. Were there drawings or were there, have you ever seen that visually? – Yeah, they’re, in the book
I actually have an image of early photograph of actually
an enslaved black woman in her later years who was owned by one of the presidents of Princeton, and she was given to his wife when his wife was young, from her mother, as a gift from her mother,
and then when she married, she became part of his estate. After his wife died, he set her free and she continued to live in. It’s Ashbel Green, the
Reverend Ashbel Green, as president of Princeton. When he set her free,
she continued to live in the president’s house, and
used the president’s library to actually educate herself,
and actually became something of a really quite well-known
biblical geographer, who in fact many faculty
actually in colleges around the United States
actually consulted, apparently, on biblical geography. She also became a missionary
to the Sandwich Islands and a teacher of a colored
school in Cooperstown, New York, and so her image is there. We don’t have many images of an, actual images of enslaved people. We do actually have, who were on, connected to colleges and universities. There’s some 19th century
ones that you’ll see, and they show up in
magazines, and even in some of the college newspapers
and alumni productions, but they’re very few. And then you have the more romantic images of slavery in the regions
where the colleges were, and you have those images, engravings, and other kinds of images that go back to the 18th century and
actually attempt to depict or even if the goal
isn’t to depict slavery, slavery is one of this thematic devices used in a lot of that artwork. – Okay, so, I’ll ask one
last question then we’ll end. – Okay. – [Man] I have one. – Okay, stay in line. (man mumbling) – Okay, wait. – It’s okay. (mumbles) – He’s gonna go last first. He’s gonna go. – You can’t stop him. – [Man] You’re gonna
have the last question. I wanna bring this circle forward. Historically, how long does
it take for Jesuit colleges and universities to admit people of color in the United States of America? – Well, that’s a struggle that continues right into the 1960s. There’s a famous moment. There are famous, lots of famous moments, but the, it’s a struggle that continues into the 1960s, and it’s
one of these things that, what it means to admit. A lot of universities struggle with this. There are token admissions
and then there’s, there are actual attempts
at admission policies based within a sense of social justice, and the role of universities
in shaping the world that they talk about all the time, and what they think about, may theorize. And those are two
completely different things, and so I think that Catholic universities, historically, white Catholic universities in the United States, like
historically white colleges and universities in the United States, struggle quite a bit,
still, with the question of, the extent to which
they actually have broad social obligations, and
that’s something that, these moments were actually intended to get us to think about. I also, coming back to the 272 people in that moment, one of the things I think we should actually
really be engaging with, when we think about that
moment in Georgetown’s history, is Georgetown’s status as a Catholic and a Jesuit university. In many ways, I actually
think Catholic universities, Jesuit universities, are better positioned to lead the conversation about slavery and our history, and how we respond to it precisely because they’ve
already given themselves the mission to seek out
a socially just world, and that mission doesn’t become any harder when we ourselves are the object and the target of our justice. (audience applauding) – Well I think that’s a fitting end, so my questions can wait, so why don’t we end the discussion here. Thank you all for coming. – Thank you.
(audience applauding)