The Catholic Church in Mississippi, 1911-1984: A History

By Michael V. Namorato | Go to book overview

Part I
The Hierarchy

Anyone studying the history of Mississippi from the turn of the 20th century to the mid-1980s would notice that the state confronted challenges to its past history in a most determined manner. Race and all that it entailed were one of the principal themes that dominated the state's development after 1900. After the Civil War resolved the issue of slavery with the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, southern states, especially Mississippi, turned to other means to control the newly freed African American. One of the most important developments in this regard was the Jim Crow segregation laws, which were designed to disfranchise the African- American population throughout the South. Although the Plessy v. Ferguson "separate but equal" doctrine prevailed for a long time, it was eventually challenged and overturned by the Supreme Court's order to desegregate in the famous 1954 Brown decision. Mississippi's response showed its determination to stop such integration through White Citizen Councils and other forms of less-than-overt opposition. The Emmit Till murder showed beyond a doubt that Mississippi was very much committed to maintaining its segregationist past. By the 1960s, however, the state became the target for civil rights activists, culminating in the famous 1964 Freedom Summer. Young students from around the nation converged on Mississippi, organizing the African-American population to register to vote, while also conducting Freedom Schools for young black children and working to establish community projects to help Mississippi's black population. The year 1964 also saw a direct challenge to the state's Democratic leadership with Fanny Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. By the end of the turbulent 1960s and well into the 1970s, the people of Mississippi, both white and black, began to change and interact with each other. In fact, by the 1980s, Mississippi had come a long way toward overcoming its racially divisive past, although it still had the paradoxical reputation of the Ayers higher education discrimination suit, which demonstrated a distinct pattern of discrimination in the state's university system. Nevertheless, the state also simultaneously was one of the leaders in terms of black

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The Catholic Church in Mississippi, 1911-1984: A History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xix
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 18
  • Part I - The Hierarchy 21
  • Notes 25
  • 1 - John E. Gunn, 1911-1924 29
  • 2 - Richard O. Gerow: The Natchez Years, 1924-1948 51
  • Notes 68
  • 3 - Richard O. Gerow: The Jackson Years, 1948-1966 75
  • Notes 93
  • 4 - Joseph Bernard Brunini: A Native Son 101
  • 5: Joseph Bernard Brunini 131
  • Part II - Clergy, Religious, and Laity 153
  • 6 - Clergy and Religious, 1911-1984 157
  • 7: Laity 183
  • 8: Outreach (Evangelization) 211
  • 9: Mississippi and Southern Catholicism 243
  • Epilogue 253
  • Notes 258
  • Appendix 1 Native Priests 259
  • Appendix 2 Priests in the Diocese, 1911-1984 261
  • Appendix 3 Irish Priests 285
  • Appendix 4 Religious Orders 289
  • Appendix 5 PARISHES, 1911-1984 293
  • Appendix 6 Schools 297
  • Selected Bibliography 301
  • Index 307
  • About the Author 315
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