I recently had the privilege to lecture at the University of Notre Dame on the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Black Catholic Movement in April 1968. The lecture, “Centering Black Catholics, Reimagining American Catholicism,” was sponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. The Cushwa Center supported some of the dissertation research that eventually became my book Authentically Black and Truly Catholic, so it was especially cool to come full circle, as it were.
Interested in a brief intro to my book Authentically Black and Truly Catholic: The Rise of Black Catholicism in the Great Migration (2017)? Check out my short video for Religion News Service! If you post comments and questions, I’ll write replies and answers.
When I tell people that I study black Catholics, most kind of blink their eyes and go, “What?” We assume Catholicism is European in its essence, and that black people are Protestants. But the majority of black Christians in the Western hemisphere are actually Catholic, and the majority of Catholics in the Western hemisphere and the Americas are not white.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with Emma Green of The Atlantic about my book and the history of Black Catholics in the United States. Check it out!
I had the pleasure of answering Pete Cajka’s great questions about Authentically Black and Truly Catholic for the Religion in American History blog recently. Enjoy!
Thank you, dear & brilliant friends, for encouraging me to finish this syllabus for the spring (mostly). Sadly, as with all syllabi, so many good things didn’t make the final cut. But, now that it’s done (again, emphasis on mostly), feel free to check it out. And do share your thoughts!
I am excited to say that my first book, Authentically Black and Truly Catholic: The Rise of Black Catholicism in the Great Migrations (NYU Press, 2017), is officially out in the world. It’s a real book!!! You can purchase it at nyupress.com and preorder it on Amazon.com (ships November 14). This is the culmination of the better part of a decade’s worth of reading, research, writing, and revising. But it started in conversations with Black Catholic Chicagoans themselves. And so, it is dedicated to all the Black people who made and continue to make Catholic Chicago. If you get a chance to read it, I hope you enjoy it, I hope you learn something, and please, let me know what you think. You can reach me, as always, on Twitter @mjcressler or by email at email@example.com.
First things first, to quote the mighty Mos Def: “Stop with the nonsense!” I’ve written a lot in the week or so since the white supremacist rally and consequent violence in Charlottesville. Some of that writing now appears on NYU Press’s blog From the Square. Check it out and thanks for reading.