African American Catholics in the US

February 2015 — New Digital Collection: African American Catholics of the United States. The rich but lesser-known history of African American Catholic communities comes to life in a new, expansive digital collection developed by the Marquette University Department of Special Collections and University Archives. More than 200 images document many facets of life within African American Catholic parishes, schools, religious communities, and lay organizations. The images date from 1900 to 1990 and cover 25 states plus the Bahamas.

This new collection, “African American Catholics of the United States,” is selectively drawn from extensive print archives at Marquette that document the activities of three long-standing African American Catholic organizations:

  • The National Black Sisters Conference
  • The Black and Indian Mission Collection
  • The Catholic Negro American Mission Board

Affiliated with the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, the Black and Indian Mission Collection and the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board are fundraising organizations founded by U.S. Catholic bishops at the turn of the 19th century. The National Black Sisters Conference is an advocacy and support association of African American religious sisters founded in 1968.

The entire digital collection is available online. For questions about the collection as well as the related print archives, contact archivist Mark Thiel.

Photo of Sister Antona Ebo, F.S.M.
Sister Antona Ebo, F.S.M., 1980


Photo of Dedicating St. James the Greater Mission, ritter, South Carolina, 1935
Dedicating St. James the Greater Mission, Ritter, South Carolina, 1935