Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Stephen P. Waring

Committee Member

Andrew J. Dunar

Committee Member

Thomas Reidy


Civil rights movement History 20th century., Catholic Church--United States--Clergy., African Americans--Civil rights., Civil rights workers--United States., Civil rights--Religious aspects--Catholic Church.


In the history of the civil rights movement there is a great deal of research, narrative, and historiography devoted to African American men and women’s participation, and of the ways African American churches worked in the movement. I researched to find out how the Catholic Church and her people participated in the civil rights movement. My main points of focus were how these men of privilege and women got involved; how the changes in the Catholic Church encouraged or hindered its members’ civil rights’ work; and how historian perceived that work. I learned that the Catholic Church did not change its teachings, but some people were confused and upset by the changes it did make and it kept them from getting involved. I also learned that there is a narrow understanding of what constitutes civil rights and that and marching is not the only way to create change.



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