The Art of Controversy with Gloria Purvis
Georgetown and the 272
Join "Art of Controversy" series host and popular podcaster, Gloria Purvis, as she engages New York Times Journalist, author, and NYU Professor, Rachel L. Swarns in conversation about her new book, "The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build The American Catholic Church." The book tells the harrowing story of how, in 1838, a group of prominent Jesuits sold 272 enslaved people to financially save their biggest mission project, what is now Georgetown University. Purvis and Swarns will be joined by a member of the current Georgetown community to discuss how the university is trying to address this dark chapter of its history and bring hope, healing, and restitution to descendants of the 272.
Swarns will be joined virtually by Monique Trusclair Maddox, the Board Chair and CEO of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation. Also joining her virtually is Fr. Timothy Kesicki, S.J., President of The Jesuit Conference of Canada and The United States who is a frequent contributor to CNN and CNBC.
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Rachel L. Swarns is a journalism professor at New York University and a contributing writer for The New York Times, where she served as a reporter and correspondent for 22 years. She is the author of The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church; American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama and a co-author of Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives. 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. In 2023, she was elected to the Society of American Historians.
Participating Virtually Monique Trusclair Maddox is the Board Chair and CEO of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation. Monique retired from Carlson Wagonlit Travel in 2015 to found Macrame Technologies, an IT consulting firm based in Minnesota. She is active in the angel investment community where she serves as an advisor to many. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University. She currently serves as a Trustee of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Trust, as a Board Member of Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, and as an Advisory Board Member to the Institute on Restorative Justice and Healing. She is a regular speaker on racial injustice and historical harm in the Catholic Church. Her family was recently
profiled in the book The 272: The Families who were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church by Rachel L. Swarns and is featured in an upcoming PBS documentary called The Cost of Inheritance.
Participating Virtually Father Timothy P. Kesicki, is the Chair of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Trust. Previously, he served as President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Jesuit Conference promotes common goals and oversees international projects for the Society of Jesus. As Conference President, Fr. Kesicki works with the Jesuit Provincials of the United States and Canada in implementing programs and represents the Conference internationally. Prior to leading the Jesuit Conference, Fr. Kesicki served from 2008 to 2014 as the Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus. From 2000 to 2008, he served as president of Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio.
About Gloria Purvis
Gloria Purvis is an author, commentator and the host and executive producer of The Gloria Purvis Podcast. Through her media presence, she has been a strong Catholic voice for life issues, religious liberty, and racial justice.
She has appeared in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, PBS Newshour, NPR, Newsweek, and Catholic Answers Live and hosted Morning Glory, an international radio show.
She recently debuted a video series entitled Racism, Human Dignity and The Catholic Church through the Word on Fire Institute.
She is the Inaugural Pastoral Fellow at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame University and recently received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Portland in Oregon.
About the Art of Controversy
Moderated by Gloria Purvis, host of The Gloria Purvis Podcast from America Media Sheen Talks honors the spirit of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen’s words and the wise counsel of G. K. Chesterton that an ugly “quarrel” should never interrupt a good “argument.”
The Art of Controversy leans into important and timely discussions about Catholic faith and culture. Bringing together guests of differing views, the series will lead with civility, inclusiveness, and a willingness to listen, neither shying away from the teachings of the Catholic Church nor the charitable love with which the faithful are called to proclaim them. And always leading with a spirit of hope, not fear.
Sheen Talks are part of the Sheen Center’s “Catholic Life” programming which is designed to explore the many facets of the Catholic faith and Catholic cultural identity. Topics are paired with speakers to elicit lively, deeply informed conversations that explore the range and depth of the Catholic experience from ancient times to the present.