While the FCC broke into regional factions, the leaders of the organization continued to promote their particular agendas afterward. Soon after the split, Father Markoe was reassigned and left the National Catholic Federation for the Promotion of Better Race Relations, but continued throughout his lifetime to work on issues related to interracial justice. Father LaFarge continued to write on race issues as well, playing a vital role in the establishment and direction of the Catholic Interracial Council of New York. Thomas W. Turner became president of a newly established Federated Colored Catholics and advanced the idea of racial solidarity within the Catholic Church into the early 1950s.

Throughout the next half century, those within the Catholic Church of the United States, continued to grapple with the question of how best to serve the needs of particular populations while advancing the spiritual and secular mission of the Church. Today, Catholic organizations such as the National Office for Black Catholics, The Black Catholic Caucus, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for African-American Catholics continue to work towards this end.

As the modern American Civil Rights Movement gained prominence in the 1950s and 1960s, the Catholic Church responded with a number of pronouncements, including Discrimination and Christian Conscience (1958), On Racial Harmony (1963), and Statement on the National Race Crisis (1968). By the late-1970s and 1980s, attention turned to the issue of how best to recognize and integrate African Americans' particular style of spirituality into the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. In 1987, two works were published that furthered this goal: Lead Me, Guide Me, the first African-American Catholic hymnal, and In Spirit and Truth: Black Catholic Reflections on the Order of the Mass. That same year, while on a pastoral visit to the United States, Pope John Paul II captured the motivating idea behind these works and anticipated the words of the future president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory:

It is important to realize that there is no black Church, no white Church, no American Church; but there is and must be, in the one Church of Jesus Christ, a home for blacks, whites, Americans, every culture and race. . . . Dear brothers and sisters, your black cultural heritage enriches the Church and makes her witness of universality more complete.


Sources consulted for this introduction:

Brotz, Howard. African American Social and Political Thought, 1850-1920. Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1991.

Davis, Cyprian. The History of Black Catholics in the United States. New York: Crossroad, 1992.

Du Bois, W.E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Dover Publications, 1994.

Du Bois, W.E.B. "Returning Soldiers," The Crisis, XVIII (May, 1919), p. 13.

Garvey, Marcus. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Robert A. Hill, ed. Berkeley: University of California Press 1983.

Glazier, Michael and Thomas J. Shelley, eds. The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1997, especially entries, "African American Catholics," by Cyprian Davis, O.S.B. and "Thomas Wyatt Turner," by Joseph Quinn.