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Becoming Black Catholics

Becoming Black Catholics

The Black Catholic Movement and the Rise of Black Catholicism

Chapter:
(p.152) 5 Becoming Black Catholics
Source:
Authentically Black and Truly Catholic
Author(s):
Matthew J. Cressler
Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479841325.003.0006

This chapter illustrates how Fr. George Clements creatively combined Black Power with the methods of early-twentieth-century missionaries with great success in his pastorate at Holy Angels parish. It examines the relationships Clements forged with other Black Power organizations and explores the life of Holy Angels Catholic school. It expands the scope of the story from the previous chapter and discusses the establishment of national Black Catholic institutions and organizations. Ultimately, it argues that, faced with opposition from fellow Black Catholics who resisted the influence of Black Power, activists became missionaries of a sort as they worked to convert their coreligionists to a particular understanding of what it meant to be Black and Catholic. They brought to life a distinctively Black Catholicism in the process. It devotes attention to what activists meant by “authentic Blackness” and whether it was compatible with Catholic religious practice.

Keywords:   African American religion, American Catholicism, Black Catholicism, Black Church, Black Power, Black Panther Party, George Clements, Fred Hampton, Catholic schools, authenticity

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