Slavery, Blackness and Sainthood
Location: John S. Toll Science Center
CHESTERTOWN, MD— The annual Conrad M. Wingate Memorial Lecture in History presents a talk on the history of black saints by Johns Hopkins professor of history Erin Rowe on Thursday, February 27. Rowe’s lecture, “How Can a Black Man Be a Saint?: Race and Sanctity in Early Modern Global Catholicism,” will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall, Toll Science Center.
Erin Rowe’s scholarship focuses on the religious culture of the early modern Catholic world, with particular emphasis on the Spanish monarchy. Her book Saint and Nation: Santiago, Teresa of Avila, and Plural Identities in Early Modern Spain (Penn State University Press, 2011) assesses national patron sainthood in early modern Europe.
In her talk at the College, she will discuss how devotion to black saints arose during a period of increasing globalization, the rise of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the first stirrings of racist ideologies. “The clergy found it necessary to justify the holiness of people of sub-Saharan African origins, many of whom had been slaves or born of slaves,” she says. “In the process, they began to describe slavery, even blackness itself, as providing access to special virtue.”
The Conrad M. Wingate Memorial Lecture in History was established in honor of Conrad Meade Wingate ’23. He was principal of Henderson (Md.) High School and 27 years old when he died from cerebrospinal meningitis. At Washington College, Wingate was president of the Dramatic Association, president of the Adelphia Literary Society and vice president of the Student Council in 1922-23.