LANDING AFTER HOURS: SLAVERY AND THE SHAPING OF CATHOLIC MISSOURI
March 6 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pmFree
Enslaved people built the Catholic Church in early Missouri. The Catholic Church formalized in Missouri as the territory transitioned to statehood, both the church and the state establishing themselves in tandem through the labor of enslaved people, which the Missouri Compromise sustained. Historian Kelly Schmidt will share her research on people enslaved by the early Catholic Church in Missouri and the communities they formed to help each other through their hardships, challenge the terms of their bondage, and ultimately seek their freedom.
Schmidt combines extensive research in church archives and other repositories with contemporary mapping techniques to recover the identities of individuals largely obscured by traditional histories. In reconstructing the life experiences of those enslaved by Catholic individuals and institutions, she explores their long-term significance in shaping Catholicism within the emerging state of Missouri while tracing the religious and kinship networks by which they established a sense of community for themselves. Her talk will focus in part on the Nesbit family, tracing three generations through enslavement by Bishop Louis William Valentine DuBourg in 1822, agonizing separations as they were sent to various individuals and institutions within the Church, and finally their first successful freedom suit in the early 1840s.