The History of Black Catholics in the United States

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The History of Black Catholics in the United States

From the first black baptized in Africa to African American priests and clergy active in the Catholic church today, blacks have been a proud and devout pillar in the faith. Davis's groundbreaking volume sheds light on the important contributions of black community to the Catholic church throughout history.

The last few decades have witnessed momentous changes within the black Catholic community. In 1987 the first black Catholic congress of the 20th century was held in Washington D.C., in 1988 Eugene Marino became the first black archbishop in America, and John Sentamu, the popular Archbishop of York, is expected to become England's Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of 2012.

This progress is predicated on the commitment and faith of countless individuals in the black Catholic community. Through tireless research, Davis pieces together the lives and stories of this devout community from its nascent stages to the present. His work takes an important step towards acknowledging the strength and vitality that blacks have imparted to the Church over the years.

 

Contents

PREFACE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
RELIGIOUS ORDERS AND CONGREGATIONS
1 AFRICAN ROOTS

2 CATHOLIC SETTLERS AND CATHOLIC SLAVES:
A Church in Chains

3 CHRIST'S IMAGE IN BLACK:
The Black Community Before the Civil War

4 BUILDERS OF FAITH:
Black Religious Women before and after the Civil War

5 A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR A HARVEST OF SOULS:
The Second Plenary Council of Baltimore, 1866

6 SHEPHERDS WITH BLACK SKINS:
The First African American Catholic Priests

7 “A HUMBLE EXPERIMENT . . . AN ENTERING WEDGE”:
The Emergence of the Black Catholic Laity

8 BLACK AND CATHOLIC:
A Testimony of Faith

9 COMING OF AGE:
Black Catholics in the Mid-Twentieth Century

POSTSCRIPT
CHRONOLOGY
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX

 

Reviews and endorsements

“One of a dozen books that every Catholic should read.”
U.S. Catholic

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“The fullest and most sensitive treatment to date. All students of religion and African-American history can learn from it.”
Journal of Southern History

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 “A goldmine. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
Commonweal

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"The story of the black Catholic community in the United States begins with the story of the Catholic church in Africa." With this historical overview, Davis, professor at Indiana's St. Meinrad School of Theology, begins his task—"to retrieve a mislaid memory" of the black Catholic presence in the United States for the last 300 years. The issue of slavery—including the uneasy responses of America's first bishop, John Carroll, in the late 18th century, and the pro-slavery views of John Hughes, outspoken archbishop of New York during the Civil War--is positioned within the political and social fabric of those centuries. Yet, as shown in this masterfully concise history, the faith flourished among such black Catholics as Pierre Toussaint, the 19th-century New Yorker now proposed for sainthood. Studded with personal stories, this is a chronicle both sad and inspiring. Davis's groundbreaking research should pave the way for further exploration of the growing black Catholic community."

—Publishers Weekly


“This book makes an extremely valuable contribution to our understanding of African American religious life by presenting the first full-length treatment of Black Catholic experience. It should be read by all interested in the history and culture of Black America.”
Albert Raboteau, Princeton University

9780824514952
Paperback / 366 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9
HERDER & HERDER, 1995