by Nate Tinner-Williams
The Black Catholic Messenger
For some time now, there has been a strange idea floating around that Black Catholics are part of the problem.
Yes, among those Americans who acknowledge that we actually exist, misinformation abounds, including the quintessentially anti-Catholic notion that our dedication to the Church, at whatever level, makes us complicit in the sins of the institution over the centuries—from the Translatlantic Slave Trade to the sex abuse crisis.
(Admittedly, those suck. And there were certainly a whole host of Catholic popes, bishops, priests, and laypersons who helped create them and power them along.)
However, I would like to submit a different notion, one informed by the less-highlighted histories of the Black Catholic presence in early America. Indeed, I say that Black Catholics fomented the end of American slavery, fueled the Civil Rights Movement, helped to curb sex abuse in the Church, and played an outsize role in making modern Black America…