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Collection of African American Catholic history materials

Identifier: CSC-023

Scope and Contents note

Series 1 of this collection consists of papers and ephemera related to the African American Catholic population in the 1960s and 1970s. Folder 1 contains papers related to the National Black Catholic Clergy Committee, including minutes from two 1968 meetings, a 1968 statement, a 1969 newletter, the program from their 1969 general caucus meeting in New Orleans, and a photocopy of the NBCCC constitution. Folder 2 contains a 1969 proposal submitted to the NBCCC by Father Boniface Hardin, O.S.B., for a Central Office for Black Catholicism in Indianapolis. Folder 3 contains the syllabi from two classes on African American history taught by Melvin Anderson, C.S.W., at Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic seminary in Douglaston, New York, in 1969. Folder 4 contains papers from the Catholic Clergy Conference on the Interracial Apostolate, including 1968 resolutions, transcriptions of speeches from the 1968 conference held in Detroit, the statement issued by the Black Priests Caucus at the 1968 conference, and a copy of Dr. Nathan Wright, Jr.'s keynote address from the 1969 conference held in Pittsburgh. Folder 5 contains materials relating tot eh Dayton, Ohio area, including a study guide to "The Church and the Black Man" prepared by Brother Joseph M. Davis, S.M., published by Pflaum Press, and the March 1969 issue of "Here and Now: a Christian Journal of Opinion." Folder 6 contains materials relating to the Detroit, Michigan area, including the 1968 proposal of Black Catholics in Action and an undated essay by Frank H. Joyce, director of the organization People Against Racism. Folder 7 contains materials relating to the National Black Sisters' Conference, including the program, roster of attendees, and other papers relating to their first national conference, held in Pittsburgh in August 1968. Folder 8 contains a statement and resolutions from the 1963 meeting of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice. Folder 9 contains two pamphlets from the National Office for Black Catholics from the 1970s. Folder 10 contains issues of the National Office for Black Catholics newsletter, "Impact!", dating between 1976 and 1979. Folder 11 contains materials relating to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, including a 1969 proposal for an "Interdiocesan Black Catholic Center for Leadership opportunities," a 1970 calendar printed by the Interdiocesan Black Catholic Ministries, a 1970 letter from the leaders of the group, and several essays by Bill Robinson of the Urban League of Pittsburgh. Folder 12 contains materials of unknown origin, including an undated essay by Father James Campbell, O.P., a 1969 statement by Father R. Lambert, poems, and a summary of an address by Archbishop John F. Dearden on the Kerner Report. Folder 13 through 15 contain the original boxes from the audio materials in the collection. Series 2 contains audio materials on reel-to-reel tapes. These materials have not been played, but their original containers have captions for the contents. Boxes 1 and 2 contain tapes of the Black Catholic Clergy Caucus meeting held on April 24, 1969. Box 3 contains recordings of Sterling Stuckey speaking on "Africa: Afro-American Perspetives" and John Henrik Clarke on "Origins of African Society." The tape in Box 4 had several captions; the tape may contain a lecture by Father Filas, S.J. on "Sex Instruction," a tape of the National Black Sisters Conference held at Dalton State College, August 6-12 (year unknown), and/or "Blk.Sem. Con. [Black Seminarians Congress?], Aug 22, 23, & 24 [year unknown]." Box 5 contains a tape of the "Black Sisters Show," undated.


  • Creation: 1963-1979


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the U.S. Catholic Special Collections reading room. The materials are non-circulating.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

History of African American Catholics in the 1960s and 1970s

The National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice was founded in 1959 to bring together local councils working on race issues in urban areas. The Catholic Clergy Conference on the Interracial Apostolate, formerly known as the Midwest Clergy Conference on Negro Welfare, reorganized in 1965 as a national organization. It was composed of both white and African American priests, vowed religious, nuns, and lay people who served urban, racially diverse populations. Before a 1968 conference of the CCCIA in Detroit, Father Herman Porter, S.C.J., convened a meeting of African American priests. The National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus was founded at this meeting, and Father Rollins Lambert was elected the president. The National Black Sisters Conference was founded in 1968, with their inaugural conference held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The founder and first president, Sister Martin de Porres Grey, R.S.M. (Patricia Grey Tyree), was the only religious sister to attend the NBCCC meeting, and felt that a similar group for vowed women religious was needed. The National Office for Black Catholics was founded in July of 1970. The NOBC was formed when the National Black Clergy Caucus, the National Black Sisters Conference, and the National Black Lay Catholic Caucus merged together with the approval of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Brother Joseph Davis, S.M., served as the executive director from 1970 through 1977. Many of the documents in this collection came from his personal papers in a transfer from the Marianist Archives.


1.25 Linear Feet (5 boxes containing audio reels, 1 box of papers)

Language of Materials



Collection of papers, ephemera, and audio tapes relating to the African American Catholic population in the 1960s and 1970s, including items from the National Black Catholic Clergy Conference, National Black Sisters Conference, National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice, and the National Office for Black Catholics.

Statement of Arrangement

Series 1 contains paper materials, and series 2 contains all audio materials. The items in Series 1 are arranged by originating organization when known. In a few cases they are arranged by geographic location.

Technical Access Note

Some of the materials in this collection are audio reel tapes. The U.S. Catholic Special Collection does not currently have the equipment to play these tapes on site. If you are interested in listening to these tapes, please contact the archivist before your visit so that arrangements can be made to have access to the proper equipment.


U.S. Catholic Special Collections, 302 Roesch Library

Acquisition Information

Some items in this collection were transferred to the U.S. Catholic Special Collection from the Marianist Archives. These items originally were found in the papers of Brother Joseph Davis, S.M., executive director of the National Office for Black Catholics from 1970 to 1977.

General Physical Description note

1.25 linear feet

Guide to the Collection of African American Catholic history materials
Finding aid prepared by Colleen Mahoney
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Libraries Repository

300 College Park Dr.
Dayton Ohio 45469-1360