Black, White, and Catholic: New Orleans Interracialism, by R. Bentley Anderson

By R. Bentley Anderson

So much histories of the Civil Rights stream begin with the entire avid gamers in place--among them equipped teams of African american citizens, White electorate' Councils, worried politicians, and spiritual leaders suffering to discover the best direction. Anderson, even if, takes up the ancient second correct ahead of that, whilst small teams of black and white Catholics within the urban of latest Orleans begun efforts to desegregate the archdiocese, and the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) begun, in suits and starts off, to combine quietly the hot Orleans Province.Anderson leads readers during the tumultuous years simply after international warfare II whilst the Roman Catholic Church within the American South struggled to reconcile its dedication to social justice with the criminal and social historical past of Jim Crow society. although those early efforts at reform, in most cases, failed, they did serve to provoke Catholic supporters and competitors of the Civil Rights circulation and supplied a version for extra profitable efforts at desegregation within the '60s.As a Jesuit himself, Anderson has entry to data that stay off-limits to different students. His deep wisdom of the historical past of the Catholic Church additionally permits him to attract connections among this old interval and the current. within the resistance to desegregation, Anderson reveals expression of a enormously American kind of Catholicism, during which lay humans anticipate Church gurus to ratify their principles and ideology in a virtually democratic type. The clash he describes is as a lot among well known and hierarchical versions of the Church as among segregation and integration. This booklet has been made attainable via a provide from the Louisiana Endowment for the arts, a country associate of the nationwide Endowment for the arts.

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Extra resources for Black, White, and Catholic: New Orleans Interracialism, 1947-1956

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24 Separating out members of the church because of the color of their skin, southern Catholic interracialists held, was a violation of the Mystical Body; therefore, this broken body needed to be healed. Most Catholic New Orleanians did not see the CHR and its interracial agenda as an attempt to repair the broken, or torn, Mystical Body; rather they accused the CHR of being dominated by “Northern whites” and faculty members from Xavier University, the only black Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States.

39 Catholicism therefore mirrored the segregation practices of the city and state. Twentieth-century Catholic New Orleanians differed little from either their coreligionists in other parts of the country or their Protestant brethren regarding racial attitudes. The racial structures developed from the time of slavery through Reconstruction and the implementation of Jim Crow society reinforced an attitude of white supremacy. This was the given social order, which appeared to many foreordained. The results of a survey of Mater Dolorosa parish in New Orleans concerning race and Catholic education conducted in the late 1940s by Jesuit sociologist Joseph Fichter was indicative of this outlook.

31 Much like the Catholic college students’ interracial newsletter, Christian Conscience, Impact argued that racial discrimination was contrary to Christian practices and beliefs and, therefore, should end. Together Christian Impact and Christian Conscience were the only Catholic publications Anderson final pages 8/10/05 9:15 AM Page 18 18  Black, White, and Catholic: New Orleans Interracialism 1947–1956 in the archdiocese of New Orleans that advocated an end to racial discrimination; the archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic Action of the South, refrained from taking a stand on the issue until 1954, when state action threatened Catholic educational policy.

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