Browse Exhibits (22 total)

Upon This Granite Block

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

– Matthew 16:18 (New American Standard Bible)


The title of this exhibit alludes to the famous Bible verse in which Jesus proclaims, "upon this rock I will build My church." Of course Jesus was speaking figuratively; it has been widely noted that the name Peter means "rock." But just over one hundred years ago, The Catholic University of America set about building its own church on a literal rock—in this case, a massive block of polished black granite weighing four tons.

The foundation stone for the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was laid on September 23, 1920. But, like Rome, the Shrine wasn’t built in a day. This exhibit delves into the early history of the Shrine—from its inception up until the intermission in its construction beginning in 1931.

Segregation and Desegregation at The Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. has a complex history of inclusion and exclusion based on race. This history is reflected in its policies of segregation and desegregation spanning the late nineteenth through the first half of the twentieth century. This exhibit offers an overview of that history, recounting how the University was founded in the 1880s with an admissions policy of accepting African American students, came to embrace official exclusion of Black students through segregation after 1914, then ended its exclusion of Black students with the integration of its Sisters College in 1936. The exhibit reviews the school's prehistory with respect to African Americans, the official practices of segregation and desegregation after the school was established in 1887, and includes highlights of contributions of particular African American students who attended the school from the 1890s-1970s period.  

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