The annual spring lecture of the American Catholic Historical Society titled “Undoing the Knots: Five Generations of American Catholic Anti-Blackness” will take place Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m.

It is preceded by dinner at 6 p.m. and a social hour at 5. The event will be presented in-person and online.

The lecturer is Dr. Maureen O’Connell, speaking on her new book, “Undoing the Knots,” which excavates her Catholic family’s entanglements with race and racism from the time they immigrated to America to the present.

By tracing this history, she demonstrates how the larger white Catholic population became anti-Black and why, despite the tenets of their faith, so many white Catholics have lukewarm commitments to racial justice.


O’Connell is associate professor of Christian ethics at La Salle University. In addition to her teaching and scholarship, she is a member of POWER Philadelphia (Philadelphians Organizing to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild), an interfaith coalition of more than 30 congregations committed to making Philadelphia the city of “just love” through faith-based community organizing.

The cost for the dinner and lecture is $20 for members, $30 non-members.

Attending the lecture only via Zoom is free for members and $10 for non-members. Registrants will be provided with a link at registration and reminded the day before and day of the lecture — register here.

The American Catholic Historical Society is located at 263 South Fourth Street in Philadelphia. Learn more at