Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School

Elite D.C. School Reveals Founding Nuns Sold Slaves, Not Taught Them

The elite Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., has had to face an ugly side of its past after research revealed that the founding nuns of the school didn’t teach slaves to read, as the legend goes – the nuns actually sold slaves.

It was the 1820s and debt was piling up for Mother Agnes Brent, the superior of the Georgetown Visitation Convent in Washington. The convent had broken ground on a new chapel. To fund the chapel’s construction, Brent needed money, and it came: relatives of two nuns had four spare slaves, two adults and two children, and offered them as a “gift” to Georgetown Visitation to sell.

This is just one instance that was found and documented in a report compiled by a Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School archivist and historian. These revelations have rocked the school, one of the oldest Roman Catholic girls’ educational institutions in the nation and destroyed its rosy self-image.

Related Article: Republican Rep. Werner Horn Defends Comments That Slavery Was Purely an Economic Decision

It was common knowledge that the founding nuns of the school owned slaves, but school lore has held that the sisters allowed enslaved children to attend Saturday school and defied the law by teaching them how to read.

That’s not what happened.

The 65-page report, which is available online, details the way the nuns sold scores of enslaved people. Georgetown Visitation sisters owned at least 107 enslaved people, including men, women and children, from a year after its founding until 1862, when the federal government made slavery illegal in the District, the report found.

“It’s hard history to read, and that’s the reality of it,” Caroline Handorf, the director of communications for Georgetown Visitation, told The Washington Post. “But you can’t move forward unless you understand where you’re coming from.”

Ne’Miya McKnight, 16, a junior at Georgetown Visitation, told The Post that she thought that white students at the schol were more shocked than nonwhite students.

“Slaves built a lot of D.C. — all over the U.S., but D.C. especially,” McKnight told The Post. “We were glad, though, that Visitation was focusing on this history of having enslaved people on campus — not tapping into that energy, exactly, but just acknowledging it.”

Related Article: Black, Female Harvard Students Say School Did Not Protect Them After Racist, Sexist Threats

Latest News

California and covid-19

California Commits To Distributing 40% of Its Existing Vaccine Doses To Underserved Communities

In an effort to help save lives of Black and Brown Californians who have been hit disproportionately hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a new pledge to allocate up to 40% of existing vaccine doses to the state’s underserved communities. Health officials in the state hope…

Creighton head coach Greg McDermott

Creighton University Basketball Coach Greg McDermott Suspended Indefinitely for Insensitive Language

Unsurprisingly, the sports world continues to be a hotbed of latent racism and cultural insensitivity. The latest example: Creighton University basketball coach Greg McDermott. Following the loss of his team, the Bluejays (currently ranked 14th in the NCAA), McDermott urged his players to “stick together” and “stay on the plantation.”…

Humana Launches New ‘Community of Opportunity’ Initiative To Advance Health Equity in Louisville’s West End

Originally published at humananews.com. Humana ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   In 2015, Humana announced its Bold Goal, a population health strategy to improve the health of the people and communities Humana serves by making it easier for everyone to achieve their best health. Through community, clinical and…

George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

US House of Representatives Again Passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act; Bill Now Moves to Senate for Vote

On Wednesday, March 3, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act by a vote of 220-212. The vote comes nine months after Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed by Minneapolis police officers last spring. Clare Foran of CNN reported that “House Democrats originally…