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9 Questions with Matthew J. Cressler

I recently interviewed Matthew J. Cressler about his new book Authentically Black and Truly Catholic, published in 2017 with New York University Press. Matthew is no stranger to this blog -- he wrote regularly for RiAH for a few years -- and we are pleased to see his book in print. He is currently Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston. 


PC: Your book tells the story of a profound transformation of what it meant to be Black and Catholic. Where does Authentically Black and Truly Catholic begin?

MC: Though the introduction provides some background in Black Catholic history, the story really opens with encounters between Black southern migrants and white Catholic missionaries in the Gre
at Migrations in the 1920s. It is hard to overstate the significance of Black migrations in the making of the twentieth-century U.S. Catholic history. Cities across the urban North were veritable Catholic metropolises at the start of the twentieth century. So when Black migra…

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