Historian to speak on hidden legacy of Black Catholic nuns in America

Award-winning historian and author Shannen Dee Williams, Ph.D., will deliver a public lecture at the University of Oklahoma titled, “Still Mining the Forgotten: The Hidden History and Legacies of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States.”

Sponsored by the True Family Lectureship, Williams’ address will be given at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, in the Sam Noble Museum auditorium, 2401 Chautauqua in Norman. The event will include time for questions. 

As associate professor of history at the University of Dayton, Williams is author of the acclaimed new book, “Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle.” In this book Williams provides the first full history of Black Catholic nuns in

the United States, hailing them as the forgotten prophets of Catholicism and democracy.

Drawing on oral histories and previously sealed Church records, Williams uncovers the rich tradition of Black sisters and nuns as pioneering religious leaders, educators, health care professionals and front-line participants in the civil rights movement. By surmounting long-standing segregation and racism in Catholic religious orders and educational institutions, Black Catholic nuns also helped inform and transform the Church’s stance on racial equality in America.

Endowed by a gift to the University of Oklahoma Foundation in the name of Agnes M. and G. Herbert True, the annual True Family Lectureship brings distinguished speakers to campus from the Catholic intellectual tradition, to address topics of university and community-wide interest.

“We are thrilled to bring Shannon Williams to campus, a distinguished scholar whose research at the intersection of religion, gender and racial justice could not be timelier,” said Dr. Charles Kenney, associate professor of political science at OU and chairman of the True Family Lecture committee.

The lecture by Williams is hosted by Saint Thomas More Catholic Church in Norman and the OU Catholic Student Association. It is free and open to the public. For more information or accommodations, call (405) 321-0990 or e-mail Charles Kenney at TFLatSTM@gmail.com.


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