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To tell the stories of the nation’s Black Catholic sisters—accurately and honestly—I had to tackle four core myths about the U.S. Catholic experience that have been popularized and wielded to obscure the leading roles that European and white American Catholics played in the social, political, and cultural propagation of white supremacy in the church and wider society. This keynote identifies these four myths and counters them with the facts of Black Catholic history. My address builds on the intellectual and educational traditions of the nation’s Black Catholic sisterhoods, which were the first Catholic congregations to teach and institutionalize Black and Black Catholic history within church boundaries. Because many members of the Black sisterhoods during the Jim Crow era were the descendants of the free and enslaved Black people whose labor and faithfulness built the early American church, they recognized that teaching Black Catholic history was essential in the fight against racism in their church. Black sisters also fundamentally understood that Black history is, and always has been, Catholic history.
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Higher Education | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies
Williams, Shannen Dee, "Keynote Address: Why Black Catholic History Matters" (2021). Global Voices 2021 — Critical Examination of Our Times: The State of Race on the University of Dayton Campus. 7.