From Fr. Niehoff’s charge to the John Carroll University’s Working Group: Slavery-Legacy and Reconciliation:
In its 2016 report, Georgetown University’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, notes that Bishop John Carroll, our namesake, owned at least one slave:
John Carroll, S.J. (1735-1815), is regarded as the founder of Georgetown University and was the first bishop in the United States. While a bishop, he owned at least two slaves, – Alexis, his valet, whom he sold to a lay buyer because of A’s Alcoholism; – Charles, whom he bequeathed to his nephew with the provision for later manumission.
Unlike Georgetown, we are not directly implicated in the practice of chattel slavery; however, as a Jesuit university that bears the name of John Carroll we are associated
with the history of Bishop Carroll and the Maryland Jesuits.
In light of the facts presented in the report of Georgetown’s working group, I deemed it necessary and beneficial for John Carroll University (1) to acknowledge the legacy
outlined above and (2) to manifest its commitment to racial social justice in concrete ways.
With this in mind, the charge to the working group can be delineated as follows:
1. To assist the University community come to a better understanding of our
history including our Jesuit heritage (graced and disgraceful);
2. To assist the University community to address the abiding, systemic racial social
injustices in our nation in a more profound and efficacious way; and
3. To make recommendations to me that will assist the University better serve its
mission relative to racial social justice.
Realizing that the process of the working group will be intricately connected to the
product it delivers, I ask the working group to attend to the following:
4. Ensuring that the process is marked by dialogue that engages the entire
5. Using the wealth of resources here at the University (expertise and experience of
faculty, staff, students, and alumni) – and call on resources beyond our community as needed;
6. Bringing to bear the social teaching of the Church; and
7. Employing the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm as a way to carry out its work.
- Martin Connell, SJ (ED) co-chair
- Sherri Crahen (SA) co-chair
- John Ambrose ’15 (Administrative Assistant, PO)
- Diane McTier (M&I)
- Tina Facca-Miess (MML)
- Jean Feerick (EN)
- Theron Ford (ED)
- Dr. Evelyn Jenkins-Gunn ‘72G
- Dan Kilbride (HS)
- Terry Mills (P)
- Ed Peck (M&I)
- Donald Phillip, JD ’95
- Alexa Van Maaren ’17, (History Major with Concentration in American Slavery) – should she be removed?
- Dwight Venson ’17, President of Black Students in Action