Jesuit Student Research Symposium 2015: Jesuits and Race, 11 November 2015
By Alicia Detelich – Archives and Records Management
Following on the success of the 2014 Jesuit Restoration Student Research Symposium, the Saint Louis University Libraries Department of Archives and Records Management hosted the 2nd Annual Jesuit Student Research Symposium on November 11, 2015. Co-sponsored by the University Libraries, the History Department, the Office of Mission and Identity, and the Jesuit Archives: Central United States, the theme for this year’s Symposium was “Jesuits and Race.”The Symposium ran from 10:30am until about 5:00pm. Attendance was 50% higher than at the 2014 Symposium, with about 72 unique attendees throughout the day. The highest attendance at a single session was about 48.
David P. Miros, Ph.D., Archivist at the Jesuit Archives: Central United States delivered the opening remarks. History Department faculty member Fr. Steve Schoenig, SJ, followed with a prayerful invocation.
The first, most-attended session featured a keynote speech by History Department professor Nathaniel Millett, Ph.D., entitled The History and Memory of Slavery at Saint Louis University, followed by a response from Georgetown undergraduate Matthew Quallen. The talks focused on the history of slaveholding at SLU and Georgetown and the way that this history has since been reckoned with, or not, by the institutions and their supporters.
The second session, Jesuits and Race in the Nineteenth Century, was chaired by History Department professor Silvana Siddali, Ph.D, and included three presentations. The first, “Francis Xavier Weninger and the Miracle at Saint Joseph,” was delivered by Alicia Detelich of the Department of Archives and Records Management. The second was given by Thomas Richardson of Emporia State University, entitled “On a Mission for the Nation: A Microhistory of Francis Xavier Weninger, SJ.” The final presentation, by Kelly Schmidt of Loyola University Chicago (read by Alex Bisio of the Jesuit Archives) was titled “Conflicting and Changing Attitudes and Actions of Cincinnati Jesuits toward Race and Slavery, 1830s-1870s.”
The final session, Jesuits and Race in the 20th Century, was chaired by History Department professor Daniel Schlafly, Ph.D., and opened with a presentation by Saint Louis University student Nathan Thibon entitled “Serving in the Sands: The Jesuits and Their Students at Baghdad College.” The second presentation, “United by Faith, Divided by Race: The Catholic Church’s Role in St. Louis’s Segregation in the First Decades of the Twentieth Century” was given by Jeff Dorr, SJ, SLU alum and teacher at Creighton Preparatory School, Omaha, NE. The final presentation was delivered by Saint Louis University freshman Logan McNeil, entitled “Jesuits in the South.”
The Symposium closed with brief remarks by Fr. Christopher Collins, S.J., S.T.D., Assistant to the President for Mission and Identity.
In conjunction with the Symposium, the University Archives produced an exhibit of reproductions currently on display in the Pius Library 2nd floor gallery. The exhibit examines the legacy of racial issues at Saint Louis University and is divided into three sub-themes: racial integration at SLU, the student protests of 1969-1970 and those of 2014, and faculty scholarship and community engagement on issues of race. The exhibit will remain in the gallery until early 2016.