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Son of African slaves started newspaper; developed Black Catholic Congress

About a month ago, the Ministry of Black Catholics had the opportunity to apply for a grant from the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). This grant would aid in the development of catechetical and evangelization programs for this population. We established an ad-hoc committee to brainstorm ideas prioritize and establish a program to fit the spiritual needs of Black Catholics in our diocese. We have five people on this committee and one is an adolescent.

The name of the fund is the Daniel Rudd Fund. I had never heard of Daniel Rudd so I did some research. Daniel Rudd was born August 7, 1854 to Robert and Elizabeth Rudd. He had 11 siblings. His father was a slave on the Rudd estate outside Bardstown, Ky. His mother was a slave of the Hayden family, also near Bardstown. Both parents were Catholic.

When it was time for Daniel to enter secondary school education, he moved to Springfield, Ohio where his brother Robert lived. In 1886 he began a black newspaper, "The Ohio State Tribune." Not even a year passed when he changed the focus and the name of the newspaper to "American Catholic Tribune." This newspaper, at that time, was the only Catholic journal owned and published by men of color.

Daniel Rudd is the founder of the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress) which presently publishes this newsletter as the African American Catholic Tribune.

In 1889, Daniel Rudd brought together the first National Black Catholic Congress. The Congress was held at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. Men of African descent from all over the United States participated in this historic event. President Grover Cleveland invited them to the White House. Father Augustus Tolton, the first recognized black priest ordained in the U.S., celebrated Mass.

Daniel Rudd, a man of great faith, an evangelizer, brought about five Black Congresses in his time. The next National Black Catholic Congress will be held in Orlando, Fla., on July 6-9, 2017. Members of the Ministry of Black Catholics from our diocese will be raising funds in the time leading up to that Congress. We would like a substantial group to attend representing our diocese.

Note: Adeline Torres is the director of the Office of Intercultural Ministry at 219-397-2125 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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