Celebrating Black Catholic History Month
Daniel A. Rudder, Founder
The National Black Catholic Congress
By Rev. Cyprian Davis, OSB
Daniel Rudd, THE AMERICAN CATHOLIC TRIBUNE, AND THE PLIGHT OF BLACK CATHOLICS, 1884-1899.
I hardly expect when a little boy, in the State of Kentucky, that this early day of my life-and I am a young man yet- I would by standing before a Catholic convention of this Union, to lift my voice in the interest of my race and of my church; but such is the case.
The speaker of these words was a slim, young Black man who delivered an address to the Catholic Young Men's National Union in Cincinnati in June, 1888. His name was Daniel Rudd and he was imparting to his audience of white Catholic men a dream that he had. His address continued:
It may seem strange to you, possibly, to hear me talking about colored Catholics, or any other sort of Catholics… We have in this country a large number of our own race, many of whom are Catholics, more, possibly, than any one of you have ever imagined… I believe that there are about two hundred thousand practical Catholics in the United States of my race.
…according to the statistics there are seven millions of negros in the United States. My friends, this race is increasing more rapidly than yours, and if it continues to increase in the future as it has in the past, by the middle of the next century they will outnumber your race… We have been led to believe that the church was inimical to the negro race, inimical to the genius of our Republic. This is not true; I feel that I owe it to myself, my God, and my country to refute this slander.
Rudd concluded his remarks with this announcement and invitation.
We are publishing a weekly newspaper; whatever it is, it is the best we can do in this work. A meeting of our people will be held somewhere; the time and place has not yet been fixed, but I am here, gentlemen, to ask your assistance, to ask your kindness, and you have shown it to me today.
When that convention comes, I trust that many of you will, either by your presence or in some other way, show your interest in this work. I believe that within ten years, if the work goes on as it has been going on, there will be awakened a laten force in this country. (1)
Thus Daniel A. Rudd, thirty-three years old, born a slave in Bardstown Kentucky in 1854, baptized Catholic in infancy, announced to the young me before him the three major concerns in his life: the newspaper he founded, the present condition and future growth of the Black race, and the Catholic Church and the conversion of Blacks.
For entire article go to: http://nbccongress.org/features/black-catholic-history-month.asp