Black History Facts: Celebrating The Contributions Of Black Catholics!
Reader, from former slaves to founders of religious orders, these men and women helped shape the U.S. Church. February’s celebration of Black History Month in the United States traces its roots back to the 1920s, but it attained more formal recognition in the 1970s, as is obvious with President Gerald R. Ford’s 1976 Bicentennial Year message about its importance.
Ford described Black History Month as an occasion to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Despite the many accomplishments of Black History Month’s goals, its often secular narrative forgets the contributions of Black Catholics. In recognition of that, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States began observing November as national Black Catholic History Month nearly 30 years ago.
Nonetheless, in order to promote awareness of the accomplishments of all black Americans, it is important to promote an awareness of some of the many Catholic individuals who have achieved greatness in the face of racism’s plight — and in many cases the supreme greatness of holiness. No national celebration of Black History Month would be complete without including these Catholic stories — or the countless stories of black Catholics left untold.