Teaching in Black and White: The Sisters of St. Joseph in the American South discusses the work of the Sisters of St. Joseph of (the city of) St. Augustine, who came to Florida from France in 1866 to teach newly freed blacks after the Civil War, and remain to this day. It also tells the story of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Georgia, who sprang from the motherhouse in St. Augustine.
A significant part of the book is a comparison of the Sisters of St. Josephs’ work against that of their major rivals, missionaries from the Protestant American Missionary Association. Using letters the Sisters wrote back to their motherhouse in France, the book provides rare glimpses into the personal and professional (pun intended) lives of these women religious in St. Augustine and other parts of Florida and Georgia, from the mid-nineteenth century through the era of anti-Catholicism in the early twentieth century South. It carries the story through 1922, the end of the pioneer years of the Sisters of St. Josephs’ work in Florida, and the end of Sisters of St. Joseph of Georgia’s existence as a distinct order. Through the lenses of Catholicism, Florida and Southern history, gender, and race, the book addresses the Protestant concept of domesticity and how it was reinforced in Catholic terms by women who seemingly defied the ideal. It also relates the Sisters’ contributions in shaping life in the South during Reconstruction as they established elite academies and free schools, created orphanages, ministered to all during severe yellow fever epidemics, and fought the specter of anti-Catholicism as it crept across the rural regions of the country. To date, little has been written about Catholics in the South, much less the women religious who served there. This book helps to fill that gap.
Teaching in Black and White provides rare glimpses into the personal and professional lives of women religious in Florida and Georgia, from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth-century.
"Provides much needed information about a topic little known and researched. Scholarship on Catholic sisters, parishes, and the larger Catholic story is often ignored in the larger context of women religious and the growth and influence of the American Catholic Church, particularly in the deep south."~Carol K. Coburn, Avila University
" Teaching in Black and White is a readable and at times compelling account of French Catholicism in the religious and educational history among the African American Community in St. Augustine, Florida. The jewel in this account is the battle between Catholics and Protestants for the souls and minds of formerly enslaved African Americans. Well written and researched, Barbara Mattick has a gift for storytelling. The story of the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine is a notable one."~Maxine Jones, Florida State University
" Teaching in Black and White is the right book, at the right time, by the right author. Barbara Mattick brings to life an extraordinary story: French nuns immigrate to St. Augustine, Florida, shortly after the Civil War. The well-researched book brings together volatile topics of race, religion, gender, education, epidemics, immigrants, and nativism across Florida."~Gary R. Mormino, University of South Florida
"Deeply researched and clearly written, Teaching in Black and White spotlights a little-examined chapter of the Catholic presence in the postbellum American South. It documents how the Sisters of St. Joseph coped with ignorance, epidemics, anti-Catholicism, racism, and arbitrary episcopal authority as they expanded Catholic educational and social welfare institutions in Florida and Georgia. It thus contributes to our understanding of not only the history of American Catholicism but also the intersection of race, gender, and religion in the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras."~Joseph Mannard, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
"Sisters of St. Joseph left their native France for Florida in 1866 to teach freed Blacks after the U.S. Civil War. The nuns’ successes in education were not matched by religious conversions. Barbara Mattick locates the Sisters’ educational and nursing activities within the work of contemporary White missionary efforts. Teaching in Black and White advances the role of these little-known Catholic women religious beyond local history into their rightful place in the history of the post-bellum nation."~Susan Richbourg Parker, Historic St. Augustine Research Institute
"A vibrant and layered local history, Barbara E. Mattick’s Teaching in Black and White: The Sisters of St. Joseph in the American South examines the Sisters of St. Joseph (SSJ), a Roman Catholic women’s religious order in Florida and Georgia during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras (1865-1920s), enriching our knowledge of the eccentricities of American Catholic History. The multifaceted nature of the Sisters’ ministry emerges clearly as the book explores how these remarkable Catholic women in the postbellum South interacted with their contexts and experienced both agency and constraints. Deftly situated at the nexus of religious, racial, gender, and educational history—though all areas covered by prior scholarship on US Catholicism—the interplay of these facets is foregrounded here, without one dimension predominating."~Reading Religion
"Barbara Mattick illuminates the remarkable nature of the mission that the early Sisters of St. Joseph conducted in both Florida and Georgia. Restricted by religious vows of obedience, they nevertheless traveled thousands of miles in efforts far different from what would have been expected of Victorian-era women. In the process, they crossed racial, economic, and gender barriers as they reached out to a broad spectrum of humanity to both educate children and save souls."~Journal of Southern History
"A welcome contribution on women religious orders and their impact on black and white pupils, patients, and orphans in the American South...draws upon a rich array of primary sources especially the hundreds of letters in French to the motherhouse in Le Puy, France. Such correspondence provide a rare look at these remarkable women."~American Catholic Studies (ACHS)
"Barbara E Mattick presents a deep look into the activity of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the historic Black Catholic settlements of St. Augustine, Florida—the oldest city in the nation, predating the United States itself by more than two centuries. By taking us on this journey, Mattick invites the reader into the culture and customs of one of the oldest sites for Black Catholics in U.S. history. It is a remarkable book that presents a fascinating chronicling of missionary work in the crucial service of administering the Catholic faith to formerly enslaved African Americans after the Civil War."~Black Catholic Messenger