University Archives and Special Collections

National Office for Black Catholics

Collection Description      Collection Organization      Publications in the Collection
  University Archives and Special Collections      Exhibitions      St. Thomas University

Collection Description

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In 1970, black Catholic laity, religious and clergy joined together and formed the National Office for Black Catholics headquartered in Washington D.C. Motivated by racial pride, and inpatient with the indifference of their Church to the rapidly changing social and political realities of the United States, this new group dedicated itself to bringing a genuine world vision to a church, that despite its claim to universality, was dominated by white European leadership and tradition. The NOBC promoted black clerical leadership, supported the development of more innovative and more African rooted liturgy and ministries, contributed to the revitalization of black parishes, and defended and strengthened black Catholic education. They did this through workshops, conferences, public forums, political networking and publishing.

While assuming leadership roles on vital social issues within the Church, NOBC carried the banner of Catholicism into the greater black community aligning the Church on the side of those who were struggling against attempts to dismantle the Civil Rights legislation of the sixties. Thanks to the efforts of this coalition of black clergy, religious and laity, the Catholic Church became a visible and powerful force in the racial justice movements of the era. During this era the NOBC became the Catholic focal point for Civil Rights activity, and a major force in the National struggle for civil and human rights.

The files and archives of the NOBC document not only the Black Catholic response to the Civil Rights struggles of the late sixties, seventies and eighties, but the response of the entire Catholic Church to the racial tensions of this era. Historic documents and studies which are included in this collection give it even great context and depth. It would be impossible to write a history of the Catholic Church in this era and more specifically black Catholics in this era without consulting this collection. The documents are divided into six categories: General Files, Liturgy, Civil and Human Rights, Conferences and Workshops, Education and Family and NOBC Newsfiles.
Collection Organization

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I. By Laws of the NOBC,
II. Minutes of meetings of Board of Directors
III. General Administrative Files
General Correspondence (also) 
1.Correspondence with major Social Justice groups
2. Brother Joe Davis Correspondence
3. James Conduit Correspondence
a. Walter Hubbard Files
b. Various Personnel files
c. Directories 1971-1985
d. Annual Activity Reports
e. Financial Reports (also) 
4. Collection reports from parishes across the nation
5. Files of Black Catholics Concerned, fund raising branch of the NOBC
6. Records of Cash Transactions
IV. News releases
V. Opinion surveys
VI. Files on Rome Synod on the Laity 1987
VII. Numerous files on Black Catholic History
VIII. National Black Lay Catholic Caucus
A. All papers related to this movement including position papers, resolutions, letters etc. 
I. Magazine: Freeing the Spirit; Various pamphlets and books related to liturgy 
II. Papers related to annual conference and workshop on Culture and Worship 
I. Voter registration
II. Police brutality
III. Reports on Human Rights by U.S. Catholic Conference, National Conference of Catholic Bishops 
IV. Correspondence with other Civil Rights and Human Rights groups
I. Conference Papers, Position papers on civil rights, education, police brutality. 
II. Lists of Participants and Attendees of various conferences
III. Papers from annual conferences and workshops on Pastoral Ministry, Liturgy and Culture. 
I. Numerous reports and studies on Black Catholic education
II. Reports on closings of black Catholic schools
III. Youth programs
IV. Church vocations
V. National Black Catholic Youth Caucus on Family Life
VI. Papers from Workshops on Education of Black Catholics. 
VII. Papers on Family Life
I. Newspaper clippings, press releases
II. Various issues of Impact, and other publications of NOBC
III. Publications of NOBC affiliated organizations, and other civil rights groups
IV. Photos
V. Video tapes of various conferences
VI. 1967 taped (audio) address of Martin Luther King to the Capitol Press Club 
VII. Audio tapes of workshops on Culture and Liturgy
Publications in the Collection

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John Howard Griffin,The Church and the Black Man (Detroit: Pflaum Press, 1969)

National Association of Black Catholic Admiistrators Resource Manual

The Word in the World: ´76 Black Apostolate (Techny Illinois: Divine Word Missions, 1976)

Clarence Joseph Rivers Soulful Worship (Washington, D.C.: NOBC, 1974)

-----------------, The Spirit in Worship (Cincinnati, Ohio: Stimuli Inc., 1978)

This Far By Faith: African Black Worship and its African Roots (Washington D.C.:NOBC and The Liturgical Conferecne, 1977)

What Every Catholic Should Know About Evangelization (Washington, D.C.: NOBC, 1981)

National Office of Black Catholics, Final Report on the AdvancedStae of the Church to The 1987 World Synod of Bishops October 18, 198.

Casiano Floristan, Los Sacramentos Signos de Liberación (San Antonio: Mexican American Cultural Center, 1975)

James Henderson and Walter Hubbard, A Proposal for Organizational and lay Leadership Development (Washington, D.C: NOBC, 1979).

Giles Conwell, Can These Bones Live? An Overview of African American Catholic Culture and History.

Joseph Davis and Cyprian Rowe, "The Development of the National Office for Black Catholics," U.S: Catholic Historian, 7 (1988): 2656-289)

Black Perspectives on Evangelization in the Modern World (Washington D.C.: NOBC,1974 )

National Office of Black Catholics Action Agenda and Network (Washington D.C.:, NOBC, 1983)

David Spalding, "The Negro Catholic Congresses 1889-1894," The Catholic Historical Review, Vol.LV No. 3 (October, 1969) 337-357.(reprint).

Updated March 3, 2003