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Desegregating DixieThe Catholic Church in the South and Desegregation, 1945-1992$
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Mark Newman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496818867

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496818867.001.0001

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An Overview: Catholics in the South and Desegregation, 1971–1992

An Overview: Catholics in the South and Desegregation, 1971–1992

(p.237) Chapter Nine An Overview: Catholics in the South and Desegregation, 1971–1992
Desegregating Dixie

Mark Newman

University Press of Mississippi

The early 1970s saw growing disillusionment among southern African American Catholics with diocesan desegregation policies that had produced little desegregation, ignored blacks in the decision-making process and deprived black communities of valued institutions, leaving their members often feeling unwelcome in formerly white schools and churches. In response, the vast majority of prelates continued, and some, occasionally, built new, de facto black churches, no longer viewing them as unacceptable signs of segregation but as a vital part of the Church’s outreach to the African American community. In 1989, George A. Stallings Jr. broke with the Catholic Church by forming Imani Temple and inaugurating the independent African-American Catholic Congregation. Most African American Catholics did not follow him out of the church, although many sympathized with his criticism of racism within it. Blacks in the South and nation remained underrepresented among Catholic clergy and religious and on the staff of diocesan agencies.

Keywords:   Desegregation, African American churches, George A. Stallings, Jr., African-American Catholic Congregation, African American underrepresentation

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