1819 Oak Dr, Hamilton, NY 13346, USA

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This talk emerged from Swarns' pathbreaking reporting for The New York Times, and follows one family through nearly two centuries of indentured servitude and enslavement to illuminate 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 in Maryland to sustain its operations and to help finance its expansion.

The New York Times Book Review makes clear the significance of Swarns' new book: “No single work of history canremedy 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.”

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 The 272 and American Tapestry, as well as 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.

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