Equity and Inclusion


In response to the proposal from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) that congregations focus on the dismantling of racism, the Adrian Dominican Sisters began by identifying resources that can assist us in raising our consciousness of white privilege and white supremacy, both personally and systematically.

Our Toward Communion: Undoing Racism and Embracing Diversity Committee and our Justice Promoters are collaborating on a Black Catholic Project that began on January 18, 2021, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This project provides information on prominent Black Catholics who have made significant contributions to the church and society, along with reflection questions and a prayer.

Now named the Equity and Inclusion Project, it continues in partnership with creators of the 2020 Black Catholic Heroes Project. Many images used this year were painted by students employed by the College for Creative Studies’ Detroit Neighborhood Arts Corps. These images are used with permission.

 

Equity and Inclusion Project

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Daniel Rudd (1854-1933)

Daniel Rudd, Catholic Newspaper Editor

Daniel Rudd (1854-1933)
Catholic Newspaper Editor and Civil Rights Leader

Known as one of the most influential Catholics of his time, Daniel Rudd was the architect of the Black Catholic Movement, activist and advocate for racial justice in society and the church, a pioneering Catholic journalist who published the first Black Catholic newspaper, and founder of the National Black Catholic Conference.

During February, which is both Black History Month and Catholic Press Month, it seems appropriate to profile Daniel, who had a deep faith and commitment to truth. Encountering many obstacles in his work, including persistent racism, Daniel Rudd was able to see the good in others and the potential for what humanity could be.

Born into slavery in 1854 in Bardstown, Kentucky, to Robert and Elizabeth Rudd (both devout Catholics who brought up their 11 children in the Catholic Church), Daniel developed a deep faith and love of the Catholic Church..

He moved to Springfield, Ohio, to live with an older brother and to attend high school. After completing high school he began his work in newspapers and established the forerunner of the American Catholic Tribune (ACT), the Ohio State Tribune. He focused on promoting racial equality and advocating for racial integration in the Springfield schools.

Daniel began publishing ACT in 1866. Although his intent was that this paper be for Black Americans, many white people subscribed to the paper. In an article for The Catholic Telegraph, Sarah Ater wrote, “He used the newspaper to share the Catholic faith, asking his readers to give the teachings of the Church a fair hearing. ... ACT was also a vehicle for Rudd to advocate for the recognition of the equality and dignity of Black Americans. He firmly believed that no race is better than another, and that all are brothers and sisters before Jesus.”

Although he was aware that racism existed within the Catholic Church, in the pages of ACT, Daniel promoted the rights of African Americans on a practical level. He advocated for desegregation and he wrote passionately for higher education opportunities and vocational schools. Daniel’s mission and philosophy was evident in his features and editorials: “The Catholic Church alone can break the color line. Our people should help her to do it.”

In 1889, the first the National Black Catholic Congress took place in Washington, D.C. According to writer Joyce Duriga, Daniel believed that “no group was more passionate or desirous of the advancement of Black people than Black Catholics. For that reason they should gather and become leaven for their race in America.” The Congress met five times between 1889 and 1894 but then ended quite unexpectedly; the National Black Catholic Congress resumed again in 1987 in Washington, D.C.

In 1894, Daniel moved his struggling ACT to Detroit, but this move did not prove to be successful and ACT was discontinued. Eventually, Daniel would return to his Bardstown roots where he would die on December 3, 1933.

To honor Daniel’s legacy in both journalism and battling racism, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Catholic Social Action and African American Pastoral Ministries offices erected a historical marker for him on Dec. 5, 2021, at St. Raphael Church in Springfield, Ohio. The marker’s two sides commemorate his work as a Catholic journalist and as a layperson of faith and action. It includes Daniel’s own words written in 1890, “This country is not properly civilized and will not be until men learn to treat each other on their merits and not the color of their skin, their eyes, or their hair.”

Portrait of Daniel Rudd by students

Daniel Rudd
Painting by students under the supervision of artist Habacuc Samuel Bessiake
Part of the 2020 Black Catholic Heroes Project
Images of Black Catholics painted by students employed by the 
College for Creative Studies’ Detroit Neighborhood Arts Corps

(used with permission)

 

Resources

Articles and Websites

Daniel Rudd: The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man” by Sarah Ater - The Catholic Telegraph, the monthly magazine of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. January 25, 2022.

Daniel Rudd: A pioneering leader in black Catholic journalism” By Joyce Duriga - Catholic News Service, Feb 23, 2019.

In the History Corner ... Daniel Rudd as a model anti-racist activist and organizer” by Dr. Ivory Phillips - Editorial Jackson Advocate Online, November 19th, 2021. 

Learn about the National Black Catholic Congress

Videos

Fr. George Torok Hallel Video Channel - https://youtu.be/7mZoJBonbg0
Daniel Rudd (1854-1932) editor of the only Catholic newspaper owned and published by African-Americans.

Richard Lane Ministries - https://youtu.be/x1SeChZmSMY
Celebrating Daniel Rudd for Black Catholic History Month, November 14, 2020.

Studio PLG - https://vimeo.com/474465064
Dedication of new memorial interpretive marker honoring the life of Daniel Rudd, Bardstown, Kentucky.


Reflection Question

The legacy of Daniel Rudd – a legacy that applies to all Catholics – is this: Daniel Rudd was a man who saw and spoke truthfully about the racial divisions in his church and the injustice in his society. He asked himself, and he asks us, “What does it mean to be Catholic in the midst of this?”


Prayer

Lord, Lord, Open Unto Me

Open unto me – light for my darkness
Open unto me – courage for my fear
Open unto me – hope for my despair
Open unto me – peace for my turmoil
Open unto me – joy for my sorrow
Open unto me – strength for my weakness
Open unto me – wisdom for my confusion
Open unto me – forgiveness for my sins
Open unto me – tenderness for my toughness
Open unto me – love for my hates
Open unto me – Thy Self for myself
Lord, Lord, open unto me!

Amen.

- Howard Thurman, from Meditations of the Heart

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Avatar  Patricia Siemen 3 months agoReply

Thank you so much. This is so informative. Daniel Rudd was a courageous Catholic leader and generous of heart.



People of African Descent on the Path to Sainthood

Printable bookmark of African Americans on their Way to Sainthood (PDF)

U.S. Black Catholic History Links

Black Catholic History page by Seattle University

Timeline from the National Black Catholic Congress

Sister Jamie T. Phelps, OP, discusses Black Catholics in America with Dr. Paul Lakeland for Fairfield University's "Voices of Others" video series

News report on one of the oldest Black Catholic parishes in the U.S., St. Elizabeth Catholic Church (formerly St. Monica) in Chicago, Illinois

 

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