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

by Rachel L. Swarns

Hardcover, 2023

Status

Available

Publication

Random House (2023), 352 pages

Description

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 this account, 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.

Awards

BookTube Prize (Octofinalist — Nonfiction — 2024)
PROSE Award (Winner — 2024)

Language

Original language

English
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