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Black Catholic Round-up (1/29/2021)

Black Catholic meccas facing allegations against priests in historic parishes, Black Catholic artists making history, and more in the latest #BlackCatholicRoundup.

In Memoriam


Williams paved the way for Black nurses in Arkansas - Arkansas Catholic - January 11, 2021
Sophronia Williams worked as the first Black nurse at multiple hospitals
New Orleans’ Norman C. Francis Parkway is an act of justice: Shannen Dee Williams - The Dialog
The people we choose to honor in public spaces matter. As such, thousands rejoiced on Jan. 1, 2021, when New Orleans’ Jefferson Davis Parkway officially became the Norman C. Francis Parkway. Calls to rename the Crescent City’s popular thoroughfare, which was itself renamed to “honor” the Confederacy…
Officials formally celebrate renaming of Jefferson Davis Parkway for Norman Francis
New Orleans and Xavier University officials on Thursday formally celebrated the renaming of the road in front of the university in honor of Norman Francis.

Laudato Si

The Plastics Giant and the Making of an Environmental Justice Warrior
This report was produced as part of ivoh’s Restorative Narrative Fellowship.


At Amanda Gorman’s Black Catholic LA parish, ‘it’s like everybody here is a freedom fighter’
LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Poet Amanda Gorman sang in the youth choir, did her sacraments and recited her poetry at an Afrocentric Catholic church in South Central Los Angeles.
Poet Amanda Gorman is a light to us all, parishioner says - Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Long before she burst into the public spotlight delivering her inauguration poem, Amanda Gorman got a standing ovation from fellow parishioners of St. Brigid Church in Los Angeles for reciting a poem […]
How Billie Holiday’s religious childhood shaped her haunting legacy
Jazz singer Billie Holiday continues to fascinate. Her life and work — the way she moved through the world — embodied myriad contradictions.
How the pianist Mary Lou Williams found God (and made it to the Vatican)
Williams came to write “Mary Lou’s Mass” to capture her feeling of suffering—and its apotheosis.
Catholic faith a touchstone for Illinois poet laureate
Angela Jackson, Illinois’ new poet laureate, wrote her first poem when she was in third grade at St. Anne School, located at Garfield Boulevard and Wentworth Avenue.
‘I had a purpose for being there’ - Furman News
Editor’s note: In celebration of Joseph Vaughn Day at Furman University, we are recognizing the experiences of other African American alumni who enrolled soon after the university integrated in 1965. The secret treat was sometimes grits, sometimes salmon croquettes. Whatever the special offering, …

Young Adults

Young, Catholic & Black: ‘There is a place for people like me’ - Arkansas Catholic - January 15, 2021
Young Black Catholics share their Catholic faith and what needs to change


Ibram X. Kendi speaks on antiracism at annual Loyola University MLK Convocation - Catholic Review
Kendi sees the effect of the pandemic on Black people as but just one example of how systemic racism is a threat to a whole people. It’s another reason the nation must dismantle racist policies.


Chicago South Sider, ex-St. Sabina altar boy, leads National Guard mobilization for Biden inauguration
Maj. Gen. William Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard overseeing the military mobilization for Joe Biden’s inauguration, graduated from St. Sabina, Leo, UIC and Chicago State.


ONLY ON 2: Two Brothers Claim Father Michael Pfleger Abused Them As Boys, Say They Could No Longer Keep Their Secret
It has been three weeks since the Rev. Michael Pfleger’s removal from St. Sabina’s parish, pending an investigation into allegations of past sexual abuse. CBS 2 has learned two people now claim Pfleger abused them.
Archdiocese of New Orleans removes priest accused of raping, abusing minor during church retreat
Officials say the archdiocese was informed of a lawsuit against Fr. John Asare-Dankwah alleging that he abused a minor.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, in priesthood formation with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).