P&P Live! Adam Rothman and Elsa Barraza Mendoza — Facing Georgetown's History: A Reader on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation - with Lauret Savoy

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Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 6:00pm

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Georgetown University's early history, closely tied to that of the Society of Jesus in Maryland, is a microcosm of the history of American slavery: the entrenchment of chattel slavery in the tobacco economy of the Chesapeake in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; the contradictions of liberty and slavery at the founding of the United States; the rise of the domestic slave trade to the cotton and sugar kingdoms of the Deep South in the nineteenth century; the political conflict over slavery and its overthrow amid civil war; and slavery's persistent legacies of racism and inequality. It is also emblematic of the complex entanglement of American higher education and religious institutions with slavery.

Important primary sources drawn from the university's and the Maryland Jesuits' archives document Georgetown's tangled history with slavery, down to the sizes of shoes distributed to enslaved people on the Jesuit plantations that subsidized the school. The volume also includes scholarship on Jesuit slaveholding in Maryland and at Georgetown, news coverage of the university's relationship with slavery, and reflections from descendants of the people owned and sold by the Maryland Jesuits.

These essays, articles, and documents introduce readers to the history of Georgetown's involvement in slavery and recent efforts to confront this troubling past. Current efforts at recovery, repair, and reconciliation are part of a broader contemporary moment of reckoning with American history and its legacies. This reader traces Georgetown's "Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation Initiative" and the role of universities, which are uniquely situated to conduct that reckoning in a constructive way through research, teaching, and modeling thoughtful, informed discussion.

Adam Rothman is a professor in Georgetown University's Department of History. He is author of Beyond Freedom’s Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery and the principal curator of the Georgetown Slavery Archive.

Elsa Barraza Mendoza is a PhD candidate in history at Georgetown University and the assistant curator of the Georgetown Slavery Archive. She is currently writing her dissertation on the history of slavery on Georgetown's campus.

Lauret Savoy is the David B. Truman Professor of environmental studies at Mount Holyoke College, where she explores the marks of history on the land. The author of Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape, she also descends from people enslaved by Jesuits.

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Facing Georgetown's History: A Reader on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation Cover Image
By Adam Rothman (Editor), Elsa Barraza Mendoza (Editor), Lauret Savoy (Foreword by)
$29.95
ISBN: 9781647120962
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Georgetown University Press - June 16th, 2021

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