The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church

Product Details
$28.00  $26.04
Random House
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.3 X 1.4 inches | 1.25 pounds

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About the Author
Rachel L. Swarns is a journalism professor at New York University and a contributing writer for The New York Times. She is the author of American Tapestry and a co-author of Unseen. Her work has been recognized and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, the Biographers International Organization, the Leon Levy Center for Biography, the MacDowell artist residency program, and others.
"No single work of history can remedy the vexing issue of repair for slavery in America, but The 272 advances the conversation and challenges the collective conscience; without knowing this history in its complexity we are left with only raw, uncharted memory."--The New York Times Book Review

"A brilliant blend of history and journalism, this book unearths the story of the enslaved people whose labor benefited the Catholic Church--and what happened when their descendants sought answers."--People

"Rachel L. Swarns's The 272 tells the poignant story of the Black families at the heart of early Catholic America. Owned and sold by Jesuit priests, these families fought to hold on to body and soul across generations. Through dogged research and with great insight, Swarns has stitched together a history once torn apart by slavery, distance, and time."--Adam Rothman, PhD, director of the Georgetown Center for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies

"The 272 is revealing about old sins in the Catholic Church and conclusive at tying American higher education to slavery, but the wonderful part is that Swarns reveals and persuades by telling the story of one Black family across the 1800s--people whose names you learn and lives you follow for three generations, individuals who find their way through the tunnel of enslavement and come out whole."--Edward Ball, National Book Award-winning author of Slaves in the Family and Life of a Klansman

"Outstanding, exceptional reporting . . . an incredible project of research, deciphering, and storytelling, and a devastating indictment not only of Georgetown but also of the entire Catholic Church."--Steven Hahn, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Nation Under Our Feet and A Nation Without Borders

"This is a deeply researched and passionately told story that speaks to our ongoing need to confront the legacy of America's original sin of slavery."--James M. O'Toole, author of The Faithful: A History of Catholics in America

"Immersive . . . [A] searing investigation into the Catholic Church's deep involvement in American slavery, which has fueled debates at Georgetown and other colleges and universities . . . A powerful reminder of how firmly the roots of slavery are planted in America's soil."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Lively and scrupulously documented, the book brings to light a previously unknown piece of the history of slavery in the U.S.''--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)