Author to Speak on African-American Catholic Pioneer
The author of a biography of pioneering African American Catholic Daniel Rudd will speak at Xavier University tomorrow, Feb. 7, at 5 pm in Kelley Auditorium.
Dr. Gary Agee’s book A Cry for Justice: Daniel Rudd and His Life in Black Catholicism, Journalism and Activism, 1854‐1933, tells the story of an African-American Catholic pioneer whose ideas were ahead of their time.
Born a slave in Bardstown, KY, Rudd became a journalist, speaker, publisher and activist. He started the the Ohio State Tribune newspaper — which later became the American Catholic Tribune — in 1885.
In 1889 he founded the National Black Catholic Congress, which to this day is dedicated to improving “the spiritual, mental, and physical conditions of African Americans… [and] to the freedom and growth of African Americans as full participants in church and society.”
Fr. Augustine Tolton, also born a slave, celebrated Mass at the first NBCC meeting. The first American priest whose ancestors were all from Africa, Fr. Tolton was ordained in Rome and expected to serve in Africa, but instead was sent back to the United States. He faced racial problems from black Americans as well as white Americans (some black Catholics objected to worshipping with white Catholics) but had such a reputation for sanctity that the Cause for his canonization was opened in 2010. (For information on an upcoming lecture on Fr. Tolton at the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary, click here.)
Rudd was a national figure in the turbulent days following the Civil War, when race and politics were an often-violent mix. Born at a time when many Catholics did not think slavery violated Church teachings, Redd dedicated his life to what he knew to be true: that Christ’s Church is universal and that all men are equal before God. In a day when Americans were suspicious of Catholics, he believed that the notion of a government founded on the equality of man was “Catholic to the core.” The NBCC meets every five years to carry on Rudd’s mission.
Dr. Agee’s talk is co-sponsored by XU’s Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice, National Pan‐Hellenic Council, and Office of Multicultural Affairs. It will be followed by a reception and book signing. For information call (513) 745-3181.
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