This is a book about family and about holding on to family, even in the harshest of circumstances. I focused on the Mahoney family, one of the families torn apart in the 1838 sale. Their story begins with Ann Joice, a free Black woman and the matriarch of the Mahoney family. She sailed to Maryland in the late 1600s as an indentured servant, but her contract was burned and her freedom stolen. Her descendants, who were enslaved by Jesuit priests, passed down the story of that broken promise for centuries. Some challenged their enslavers and found their way to freedom. Others struggled to carve out a measure of autonomy and safety on the Jesuit plantations. Two of those descendants, Louisa and Anna, who were sisters, were put up for sale in 1838. One sister managed to escape. The other was sold and shipped to Louisiana. They would never see each other again. More than a century later, my reporting for The New York Times would finally reunite their descendants, who joined with other GU272 descendants to press Georgetown and the Catholic Church to make amends. Theirs is a story of heartbreak, but it is also a story about love, resistance and the irrepressible hunger for liberty.