Anti-Catholicism, Anti-Protestantism, and Race in Civil Rights Era Alabama and Georgia
Andrew S. Moore, Assistant Professor of History, Saint Anselm College
In 1941 journalist-cum-southern
critic W. J. Cash argued that despite the South’s fast-rising urbanization and
industrialization, white southerners had changed little since the nineteenth
century. They shared a deep fear of
Catholicism, Cash argued. In his view,
white southern Protestants perceived Catholics as “the intolerable Alien, the
bearer of Jesuit plots to rob them of their religion by force.”(1) Cash wrote in the first half of the twentieth
century, but even in the years after World War II, anti-
|"The drama of civil rights demonstrations and the threat of integration created an environment in which religious differences were muted in favor of a concerted effort to defend the South from federal intervention and forced integration."
and brought Catholics attention disproportionate to their numbers in the
South. Indeed, anti-Catholicism united
southern white Protestants and gave them common cause with nonsouthern
Protestants. Organized hostility to
Catholicism served as an identity marker for the region’s Baptists, Churches of
Christ, Methodists, and Episcopalians, who put aside their own theological
differences to celebrate a Protestant heritage that transcended denominational
boundaries and regional identity.(2)
Until the civil rights movement produced a , religion rivaled race as a boundary separating groups in
southern society. The drama of civil
rights demonstrations and the threat of integration created an environment in
which religious differences were muted in favor of a concerted effort to defend
the South from federal intervention and forced integration.(3) Anti-Catholicism was not unique to the South,
of course. Indeed, it was an integral
part of American identity well into the twentieth century. But the decline in anti-Catholic prejudice
occurred later in the South than in the North and Midwest. Outside the South, the lessening of
Catholic-Protestant tensions happened as Protestants and Catholics coalesced
around Cold War anti-communism and accepted John F. Kennedy’s election to the
presidency.(4) In the South, the issue was race.
The story of
Catholic acceptance into the social and cultural mainstream is, in part, the
story of the South and its white Protestants coming to terms with modern
pluralism. It was not the triumph of
inclusive liberalism that made room for divergent beliefs. Instead, it is the story of struggle,
exclusion, and a common purpose based on discrimination. Provoked by a crisis atmosphere created by
racial agitation, whites—both Protestant and Catholic—sought common cause in
fending off assaults on racial segregation.
The South’s nascent religious pluralism was rooted in a tacit agreement
that bound the region’s majority Protestants with white Catholics in the preservation
of the racial status quo.(5) Many white
Catholics defended that racial order, even if their church did include some
African Americans. Most Catholic
institutions had been segregated since the end of the Civil War.(6) So,
support for segregation by itself did not keep Catholics from being
targeted. The civil rights movement
promised to racial boundaries, creating a system of equality heretofore unknown in southern
society. Many white Catholics defended
the status quo and with it the established racial hierarchy, thereby furthering
the cause of white religious pluralism by making Protestants less distrustful
In the immediate postwar period, a
number of white southerners shared the twentieth-century liberal conviction
that Catholics were narrow-minded, unthinking puppets of Rome. Such individuals feared that the
Catholic Church posed a threat to democracy and religious freedom. Unlike northern secular liberals, however, mainstream
southerners’ suspicion of Catholics was firmly rooted in religion. And expressions of anti-Catholicism revealed
the extent to which southern Protestants continued to link religious (i.e.
Protestant) and American ideals. They
worried that Catholicism inherently challenged the constitutional separation of
church of state, and both groups questioned the other’s anti-communist
credentials. Furthermore, newspaper
editorials, advertisements, circular pamphlets, and evangelists decried the
mystery of Catholicism—its “sinister wonders,” in Tom Watson’s words—and firmly
denounced Catholic doctrines and practices.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Catholics reacted testily to both perceived
slights and blatant slander. They could
be as anti-Protestant as Protestants were anti-Catholic.
In the wake of World War II,
a public ritual of separation. Annual
celebrations of Protestant culture—in the form of Reformation Days or
Protestant Heritage Days—let Catholics know that they were an embattled
minority. Between the late 1940s and
early 1950s, cities in Alabama and Georgia set aside special days to celebrate the region’s Protestant
heritage. These celebrations amounted to
interdenominational worship services, with a prominent Protestant speaker
delivering the sermon. Such events were
curious reminders of the common bond linking the area’s non-Catholic
churches. Despite the appearance of a
singular Protestant culture in the South, there were wide theological divides
between, for example, Baptists and Churches of Christ, and between Methodists
and Presbyterians. Indeed, the label
Protestant means little apart from the presence of a Catholic other. Yet Baptists, Methodists, and Churches of
Christ in Atlanta, Savannah,
Mobile, and Birmingham chose to emphasize their shared
identity. Social and cultural unity was
more important than explorations of theological diversity.(7)
These celebrations of Protestantism
often became deliberate invitations to bash Catholics. Atlanta’s
1949 Reformation Day Rally brought four thousand participants to hear Congressman
Graham A. Barden of North Carolina,
the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Education. Barden echoed the familiar separation of
church and state theme. He told the
crowd that principle was “far more important than Federal aid to education and
if there must be a choice, I, with Protestants over the nation, will give up
Federal aid.” Barden drew applause when
he attacked the Catholic Church in all but name, particularly the Catholic
insistence on tax support for parochial schools. He argued, “there are 256 denominations in America. Only one has attempted to get tax money for
church schools—and, so far as I know, the other 255 oppose that one!”(8)
Separation of church and state was
the central issue for many mid-century Protestants, who feared that Catholics
presented a formidable threat to that treasured American principle. For Protestants, the Roman hierarchy, “which
also claims temporal authority,” as one Atlantan phrased it, posed a direct
challenge to democracy.(9) In 1948 an
Atlanta man expressed his anti-Catholic fears directly to Hugh Kinchley,executive
director of the Catholic Laymen’s Association of Georgia, a group founded in
1916 following the passage of Georgia’s convent inspection law.(10) He equated his “democratic church” with a
democratic government. And “some of us
who are in a free church cannot see why anyone so situated will not read the
bible for themselves [sic] and see
that the hierarchy of your church is without the slightest authority of
scripture and was invented after apostacising in the union of church and state
under Constantine.”(11) In September, 1951 an anti-Catholic pamphlet
that began as a column in The Christian
Index—the official organ of the Georgia Baptists—circulated throughout Georgia.
The broadside quoted a Father Patrick
Henry O’Brien, who spoke on behalf of “We the Hierarchy of the Holy Roman
Catholic Church,” and warned Americans, “We are going to have our laws made and
enforced according to the Holy See and the Popes and the canon law of the Papal
throne.” The Catholic Laymen’s
Association found no evidence of there being a priest by that name. Yet such phantom “Romish Aspirations”—the
pamphlet’s title—sparked alarm among Georgia’s Protestant
In 1950 Dr. Frederick C. Grant, an
Episcopalian anti-Catholic spokesman, told several thousand Mobile Protestants
that “Romanism and Communism are fundamentally totalitarian.” Both also encouraged overpopulation, he
lectured, and contributed to high poverty levels. Communism was “the natural economy of
scarsity [sic], while Roman
Catholicism makes the patient endurance of poverty a virtue.” He then sounded a familiar political
warning. Once the Catholic Church
reached a fifty-one percent majority in the America, “it will begin to take
over our political institutions.” Such a
harangue was nothing new from Protestant leaders in the 1950s, but Mobile
Catholics were reluctant to believe that Grant spoke for all Protestants. The
Catholic Week, the Diocese of
Mobile’s official newspaper, editorialized that local Catholics would be “pained” at such an attack. “But such is
the foul nature of Dr. Grant’s address that even greater must be the pain it
caused in the hearts of sincere Protestants, in whose name it was
made.”(13) Alabama’s Catholics, then, appealed to a
general sense of Christian fairness and American liberty, the violation of
which they hoped would surely shame other Protestants.
Moreover, in the wake of World War
II and the perceived need for national unity, the National Council of
Christians and Jews sponsored an annual Brotherhood Week in February. For at least that one week, the nation’s
religious groups were supposed to downplay denominational differences and
promote interfaith dialogue. This was
especially important during World War II, when Americans sought common
patriotic ground. Despite the good
intentions of the ecumenical week’s sponsors, however, the Reformation Day
celebrations demonstrated that any notion Alabama’s Protestants had of interfaith
unity did not lead to sensitivity to Catholic feelings. In fact, the 1940s and 1950s witnessed the
institutionalization of anti-Catholicism.
That is to say, Protestant church organizations themselves became more discriminatory
and increasingly prejudiced and bigoted.(14)
And for many white southern Protestants Catholics stood side-by-side
with Communists as a threat to American liberty.(15) From a Catholic perspective, most Protestants
adhered to a clear double standard. They
spoke the language of ecumenism and brotherhood but often failed to practice
those high ideals. Uniting behind a
shared Protestant identity proved more valuable than true interdenominational
|"Catholics drew what they perceived as the separation of church and state's logical conclusion, namely, wholesale secularization of American society."
frustrated the South’s Catholics, who often responded to Protestant attacks
with their own prejudices. For the
region’s Catholics, separation of church and state was a Protestant issue that
opened the door for communist infiltration of America. Catholics drew what they perceived as the separation
of church and state’s logical conclusion, namely, wholesale secularization of
American society. In southern Catholics’ minds, Protestantism equaled secularism and therefore was bad for America. Catholics took particular affront at the
organization Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of
Church and State, founded in 1948 by leading northern Protestants and, in their
defense, pointed to their own faithfulness to constitutional principles. In 1949 the POAU came to Alabama,
with chapters opening in Mobile and Birmingham. Alabama’s
small Catholic population expressed alarm at that development, even as they
downplayed the group’s significance.
After all, The Catholic Week suggested that this was
but “a very small group of bigoted Protestant ministers and a few other
Americans who have proved themselves ready to go to any extent, even to that of
leaning away over towards communism, rather than acknowledge the true worth of
American Catholicism.”(16) And that “true worth” came with impeccable credentials in church-state issues. Indeed, a separate Catholic Week editorial placed Catholics in the category of “the
other Americans” mentioned in POAU’s title.(17)
Catholics did not respond in kind
publicly, but privately Msgr. Moylan offered an ironic interpretation of the
source of public attacks against his church.
Rather than the Catholic Church being in league with communists, as
Grant and others maintained, it was Protestant churches that were loyal to
foreign political systems. In August, 1950
Moylan expressed to Hugh Kinchley his conviction that “Very much of these
attacks upon the Church are Communistic inspired, they have infiltrated the
Protestant pulpits to a serious extent.”
Church of Christ clergy did not receive high salaries “and it is not impossible that [J.A.
Dennis, editor of Georgia’s
bitterly anti-Catholic newspaper, The
White Horse] is obtaining money from sources outside Christianity. The madness and fury of his words . . .
should prove his undoing.”(18) Moylan
privately acknowledged, furthermore, that the problem was much more serious
than just renegade Protestant preachers.
vicar general revealed a surprising affinity with white southern political
leanings. He suspected “members of the
New Deal, particularly those in the State Department” of being “more
un-American in selling the Country out to Russia than the Knotty Knobs of the
KKK, who, whatever their private depredations, have never completely betrayed
the Nation nor delivered millions of people into the slavery of Communism.”(19)
Although neither Kinchley nor his
Protestant correspondents mentioned it, this debate over Communism and
Catholics’ commitment to democracy and capitalism occurred in the midst of
Senator Joseph McCarthy’s assault on alleged communist traitors at the national
level. When McCarthy assumed his anti-communist posture, he inadvertently appealed to a culture of
American Catholicism that was conditioned to expect the worst about
communists. As “godless communism” triumphed in Eastern Europe and prelates such as Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty
suffered at the hands of communist governments, Catholics in America felt Europeans’ pain. And Catholic support for the Wisconsin senator remained consistently greater than his
support from Protestants, even as his overall popularity declined.(20) For many American Catholics, therefore,
anti-communism was both a deeply religious and cultural issue. It was also their rock-solid proof that they
were unquestionably American, true defenders of postwar freedom and
For their part, white southerner
Protestants linked communism with outsiders seeking to undermine
segregation.(21) Their association of
Catholics with communism reflected in part their suspicions of the South’s only
biracial denomination. The Catholic
Church practiced segregation within its denominational structure, but white
Protestants could not escape the fact that this church that was beholden to an
outside “temporal power” also appointed white religious orders to work with the
region’s African Americans and included blacks in their public ceremonies.(22)
Protestant Heritage and Reformation
Days were not the only—or even the most common—instances of anti-Catholicism
southern Catholics faced. Examples of
prejudice surfaced in publications throughout the region. Newspapers and pamphlets in Alabama and Georgia regularly published anti-Catholic libel, often spreading blatant untruths and
unproven rumors about Catholicism.
Members of the laity monitored those publications and rose to the
defense of their Church. Indeed, the
Catholic Laymen’s Association of Georgia was founded expressly for that
purpose. In 1949, for example, the Morgan County
(Ga.) News printed a series of articles written by a Baptist minister, which, according to
the executive secretary of the CLA “were anti-Catholic in tone.” The CLA ran an advertisement in the News offering free information about the
Catholic Church to anyone who requested it.
The editor of the paper—“a religious fanatic” to whom “nobody in the
county paid any attention”—reluctantly ran the ad, but refused payment for
it. He also tried his hand at
Baptist-style evangelism. In
correspondence with Hugh Kinchley, the editor attempted to explain “how you
could be saved from your sins by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your
personal Saviour, but you would not hear from me.” Maybe ten thousand years in hell would do the
trick, the editor surmised; then “you will think how you persecuted Christians. In your heart you know that no priest can
save you from hell.”(23) In 1952
Kinchley’s report to the CLA’s annual convention described “a considerable
amount of anti-Catholic literature sent us by another woman in Georgia who is pleading with the executive secretary of the Laymen’s Association to
accept Christ as his Saviour and be saved.”(24)
The Catholic layman delivered that statement with a smirk, one could
imagine, and no doubt elicited at least a few knowing chuckles from his
audience. The path to salvation differed
for Catholics and Protestants, and the latter’s zeal certainly made many of the
The CLA received some responses to
their newspaper ads, and Kinchley carried on an active correspondence with a
few of Georgia’s
Protestant laymen about Catholicism.
Certain exchanges reveal both Kinchley’s and his correspondents’ attempts to define their identity in oppositional terms. The primacy of the Bible (in Protestant
minds) versus Tradition, the 1950 proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption
of Mary, and competing interpretations of church history separated the two
sides. Following the Reformation’s
emphasis on sola Scriptura—the
argument that Holy Scripture was the final authority on matters of faith—southern
Protestants held special reverence for the Bible. One distinction they drew between themselves
and Catholics was the tension (in their minds) between biblical authority and
reliance on Tradition and the Magesterium for ultimate authority. Indeed, the Bible served as a devotional
symbol for Protestants, an equivalent to the Catholics’ Blessed
Sacrament.(25) J. G. Malphurs’s initial
correspondence with Kinchley has not survived, but the CLA executive
secretary’s 1950 letter to the Albany, Georgia, resident suggests some of
Malphurs’s concerns about Catholicism.
Kinchley responded to a litany of issues, ranging from parochial schools
and teaching religion in public schools, to the pope’s temporal power as ruler
of a sovereign state, to communism.
Kinchley defended the Church’s support for the Bible. “No religion holds the Bible in higher regard
than the Catholic,” Kinchley wrote. In
fact, “her sons wrote the books of the New Testament.” But the Catholic Church predated the canonical
scriptures, and “most of our separated brethren must depend on Catholic tradition
and history” for the foundation of their faith.(26)
Publicly, Catholics were well
behaved and respectful in their response to prejudice. But in their private correspondence and other
times when individuals let their guard down, their true feelings came to
light. The Diocese of Savannah’s Vicar
General, Msgr. Joseph E. Moylan, could be particularly caustic. Criticizing the Southern Baptist doctrine of
the autonomy of the local church, Moylan wrote to Hugh Kinchley that taking
Baptists’ problems seriously was difficult for two reasons. “Each one of them is a schismatic,” and “none
of them knows that he is, even what schism is.”
Moylan then recalled the popular joke that a Methodist is just a Baptist
who can read and write. “I do not
question the ability of Baptists to read and to write, but in matters of
religion few of them read right or write right.”(27)
In another context, Moylan
concluded that, “These tub-thumpers do not disturb me seriously. . . . There is no logic, nor dignity, nor theology,
but only raw prejudice. This is not a
Southern attack either.”(28) Louie D.
Newton, an Atlanta Baptist minister and frequent anti-Catholic antagonist, was
one of Moylan’s favorite targets in private correspondence. In 1950 Moylan described Newton’s election to the presidency of the
Georgia State Baptist Convention. When Newton proclaimed his support of the separation of church
and state, Georgia’s
Baptists expressed their approval with, in Moylan’s demeaning words “their
fervent Amens and other hog grunts of pietistic affirmation.”(29) With those expressions of “pietistic
affirmation,” Baptists affirmed a leader who—more than any other individual at
the time—symbolized their Protestant identity.
Their support of Newton
confirmed that they were not Catholics.
offered an easy target for Catholics. If
he did nothing else, that is, Newton
demonstrated to Catholics what they did not want to be. He detested their religion’s core beliefs and
he seemed to represent the antithesis of American liberty and fair play. Newton,
therefore, provided a clear boundary for both Protestant and Catholic identity.
examples of anti-Catholicism in Alabama and Georgia were
predictable and fit common formulas.
Catholics were accused of not supporting freedom of religion, and of
being anti-democratic, secretive, and opposed to the Bible. In the minds of many Protestants, those
things equaled opposition to Protestantism and America itself. Those same Protestants also believed that
their opposition to the Catholic Church enhanced their own patriotism and
anchored their American identity. They
evinced the exclusive nationalism that characterized the early years of the
Cold War in America. By the mid-1950s, northern liberals had
modified that nationalism to include Catholics in the anti-communist
struggle.(30) White southern Protestants
still did not share that ecumenical spirit.
According to their reasoning, by its very nature Catholicism was
incompatible with Americanism.
Catholics, of course, refused to see the incompatibility. Their patriotism and commitment to democracy
and religious liberty should be indisputable.
Southern Catholics asserted their right to belong and be taken seriously
in the larger society. In their minds,
they and their message were to be acknowledged and heeded not in spite of their
Catholicism but because of it.
Protestants should direct their energy toward achieving other goals,
instead of defaming a fellow Christian group.
Indeed, Alabama’s and Georgia’s
Catholics implied that postwar Protestantism needed Catholicism to save it from
itself. “What is needed,” Hugh Kinchley
J.G. Malphurs in 1950, “is not for representatives of different religious
beliefs to debate their differences, but for them to find ways of working
together in a spirit of Christian unity for the common welfare of the nation
and the freedom of all of the peoples of the world.” The preservation of American liberty depended
on “the loyal, patriotic devotion and sacrifice of Catholic, Protestant and
Jews united against the onslaughts of atheistic totalitarianism.”(31) Rather than being tangential to American
society, Kinchley declared, Catholics and their belief system should be central
to it, a point that white northern Protestants had come to accept.
of course, never became central to southern society, as Kinchley may have
wanted. And anti-Catholicism persisted
in Alabama and Georgia into the 1960s. In December 1963, for example, Archbishop
Thomas J. Toolen, of the Diocese of Mobile-Birmingham, wrote a confidential
letter to his priests instructing them to urge their parishioners to vote
against a controversial proposed state constitutional amendment that would have
voters to re-register, with the risk that their registration could be
rejected. The proposed amendment came in
the midst of increased agitation for an end to segregation and disfranchisement
and was not drafted with Catholics necessarily in mind. Toolen recognized that the amendment intended
to keep African Americans from voting, but he feared that “it could just as
easily prevent any of us.”(32) As
religious outsiders Catholics risked being too closely associated with African
Americans, especially given some bishops’, white priests’, and nuns’ increasing
public support for at least moderate civil rights reform.(33) Indeed, after the 1950s, Catholic and
Protestant national identity had become more problematic as race and the
struggle for civil rights splintered the nation. The modern black freedom struggle hit the
national stage in the 1950s, and by the 1960s created a real crisis atmosphere
for white southerners.
The threatened integration of
parochial schools and, most importantly, the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting
rights march gave white Catholics opportunities to express their own support
for segregation and affinity with mainstream southern society. When Archbishop Toolen publicly criticized
demonstrations and the participation of priests and nuns from outside the
diocese, many white Protestants rallied to support him. Toolen countered those activist priests and
nuns and, in the eyes of many white Protestants, symbolized Catholic acceptance
into the white social mainstream. But
race did not necessarily erase all religious boundaries separating Catholics
and Protestants. Despite their bishop’s
fiery attack on outside agitators, white Catholics did not necessarily rest
comfortably. Influenced by a history of
religious animosity, Catholics remained suspicious of Protestant sincerity and
concerned that they not be linked with those same outside agitators.
Probably the social institution
most intimately connected with a segregated South was the school system, which
whites protected with single-minded zeal.
Segregation boundaries fell along gender fault lines, and rigid
separation occurred in those institutions—like schools—in which white boys and
girls would be most in danger of socially intimate contact with blacks. The 1954 Brown
v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision directly attacked this
precious social institution, but whites rallied to maintain the racial status
quo well into the 1960s.(34) Hence, ten
years after Brown many
segregationists believed that they had won that battle and thwarted integration
indefinitely. With the election of
Governor George Wallace in 1962 and his vow to defend segregation at all costs,
white Alabamians were assured that racial boundaries would be protected. White Catholics could be equally as
confident. Other Church leaders had become
ever more vocal in their opposition to segregation, and a couple of the bishops
of other southern states vowed to integrate parochial schools; but their own
bishop, Toolen, could be trusted not to waiver in the face of public
Yet bowing to the inevitable, Toolen
announced—in a terse pastoral letter with minimal explanation—on April 26, 1964, that “After
much prayer, consultation, and advice, we have decided to integrate all the
schools of our diocese in September.”
The archbishop encouraged Alabama’s
Catholics to accept the decision “as best for God and Country . . . the common
good of all must come first.”(36)
Diocesan-wide school integration would come slowly and depended on local
circumstances. It was not until the late
1960s that Alabama parochial schools achieved even a modicum of integration, but Toolen’s
announcement prompted the predictable reaction from whites. Catherine West, a native Mobile Catholic,
argued that parochial school integration violated “the teachings of the past
2,000 years.” But given time and “God’s
will this battle will be won peaceably and our way of life will continue with
our Catholic children in Catholic schools.”(37)
The “way of life” that West preferred obviously was the “southern way of
life” —i.e. segregation—defended so stridently, and sometimes eloquently, by
politicians and apologists throughout the twentieth century. In West’s mind, moreover, “white” and
“Catholic” described the same group of people, whites like herself. The students who would have integrated
all-white parochial schools were from black parochial schools, and would not
necessarily make her children’s schools any less Catholic. Nevertheless, she associated integration with
the secularization of the white parochial school system.
For so many
white southerners, public school integration broke down cherished barriers and
provided the most serious challenge to the racial status quo. Parochial school integration provoked intense
reactions, but for most Catholics it turned out not to be an immediate
threat. The event that galvanized public
sentiment over civil rights and the role of the Church in the South was the
march for voting rights from Selma
to Montgomery, Alabama, in March, 1965. Until Selma, the Catholic Church had remained
on the margins of the civil rights movement in Alabama. The activities of a few priests
, notwithstanding, debates over integration had centered on internal Church
affairs and not on the Church’s interaction with society at large. Support for integration—or at least
moderation and “prudence” in opposing the civil rights movement—came primarily
from a select few priests and church leaders.
For example, throughout the 1950s, Father Albert S. Foley, professor of
sociology at Spring Hill College, a Jesuit liberal arts institution in Mobile,
Alabama, was active in the local division of the Southern Regional Council, the
Alabama (and Mobile) Council on Human Relations, the National Conference of
Christians and Jews, and the Catholic Committee of the South. He was such an outspoken advocate for civil
rights that the Ku Klux Klan burned crosses on Spring Hill’s campus and local
parish priests stopped inviting him to fill in during their absence from
masses. Archbishop Toolen, moreover,
more than once appealed to Jesuit superiors to prevail upon Foley to scale back
his activism and public support for integration.(38) That Father Foley himself was such an
isolated example of Catholic activism demonstrates the Church’s marginal presence
in the movement. But Bishop Toolen’s
response to the Selma
demonstration quickly brought the Church into the forefront and thrust Toolen
into a position he had been careful to avoid in the past.
Initially, Toolen called for
moderation. Following violent attacks
against marching demonstrators on March 7, the archbishop condemned “without
reservation a harsh and brutal exercise of the police power vested in the hands
of our public officials as beyond the requirements of present difficulties and
unable to effect their solution.” He argued
that “justice, human decency and Christian brotherhood demand recognition of
the real needs of our Negro people….”
But demonstrations—even those prompted by “justice, human decency and
Christian brotherhood”—had limits, in Toolen’s mind, and he continued to press
for gradual, not radical, methods of dealing with racial strife. This fact occasionally placed him in the
company of other white moderate religious leaders. In the same statement, he emphasized the need
for law and order. The archbishop refused
to “condone a complete disregard on the part of citizens for statutes legally
enacted in the interest of the common good and public safety.”(39) The latter statement suggests that Toolen was
comfortable with the separate but equal statutes that propped up Alabama society. At the very least, he was reluctant to upset
those whites who provided the primary support for his church.
moderation gave way to outright reaction a week later when some thirty-five or forty priests and an
uncertain number of nuns from around the country joined hundreds of other
clergy and activists to
demand equal voting rights for African Americans.(40) a banquet sponsored by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the Mobile prelate
conceded that there were “things that need correcting” in race relations, but
he denounced “crusaders” who were little more than “eager beavers who feel this
is a holy cause.” They were outsiders,
he complained. “What do they know about
conditions in the South?” Neither
priests nor nuns, but especially the female religious, Toolen asserted,
belonged in such an environment. The
archbishop revealed an attitude common to white southerners who associated social
unrest with the unwelcome intervention of outsiders. With statements like this, the archbishop
became a spokesperson for white southern society—Catholic and Protestant
alike. Instead of crusading in an
unfamiliar environment, according to Toolen, priests and nuns’ “place is at
home doing God’s work.” Toolen conceded
that white southerners needed “corrections in our attitudes towards the Negro
people,” but “sane and sensible Negroes realize we are trying to bring them up
to the standards they should have.” He
and other right-thinking white Alabamians, that is, knew what was best for the
state’s African-American population. The
bishop concluded that the “demonstrations are not helping,” and Dr. King was
merely “trying to divide the people.”(41)
Toolen defies neat
categorization. He was not necessarily a
segregationist, and he was quick to point that out whenever Church authorities
or anyone else questioned his spiritual leadership. He complained to Baltimore’s Lawrence
Cardinal Shehan that “They made a segregationist out of me and I have never
been a segregationist.”(42) At the very
least, his March, 1965 speech to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick reveals a
pronounced noblesse oblige. He was a paternalist, who understood himself
to be an expert on Alabama’s
blacks, their friend and protector since his tenure as bishop began in the
1920s. Based on the pre-civil rights
standards of southern whites, the archbishop certainly could make a relatively
strong case for describing himself as a friend and protector of his state’s
black population. In the days when
integrated institutions were unheard of, he built schools and hospitals for
African Americans and recruited religious orders to staff them. Indeed, Mobile’s black Catholic hospital was
the only place that African-American doctors could practice in that city. And he solicited financial help from
organizations such as the Church’s Indian and Negro Fund and other national
Catholic mission organizations.(43)
Certainly, separate institutions perpetuated racial segregation and
stretched Catholic resources even more thinly.
But for much of the twentieth century they were necessary for the Church
to operate in the segregated South.
primary sins in the Selma case were poor judgment and a characteristic lack of
diplomacy. Wire services ensured that
his St. Patrick’s Day speech made news nationwide, and his very public stance
made him a lightning rod for reaction from groups on both sides of the issue.
Staunch segregationists—Catholic and Protestants, from the South, North, Midwest and West alike—claimed Toolen as their own and
rallied around him. Indeed, in March
1965, Toolen reported that he received “hundreds of letters . . . and most of
them are very favorable.” He estimated
that four out of five—including those that came from outside Alabama—supported his St. Patrick’s Day
speech. Still others wrote letters to
the editor of The Catholic Week. A Birmingham correspondent informed the archbishop that “many people not of our faith” had
stopped him on the street to express their support for the imperious
|"The voluminous correspondence between laypeople and the archbishop reveals the extent to which white Catholics' outsider status had changed since they and Protestants had lumped each other in the same category with communists."
Toolen’s Selma opinion stemmed
directly from his understanding of the nature of the Church and his authority
within the Church hierarchy. One of his
primary complaints about the Selma demonstration was that the
priests and nuns did not ask his
permission to come to Alabama, a common courtesy usually paid the presiding
prelate. Toolen believe
he had the situation well under control, as far as the Church was concerned,
religious from outside Alabama were nothing more than interlopers and
troublemakers. The voluminous
correspondence between laypeople and the archbishop
reveals the extent to which white Catholics’ outsider status had changed since
they and Protestants had lumped each other in the same category with
communists. Both white Catholics and
Protestants muted their oppositional rhetoric toward each other and embraced a
new view of outsiders that, temporarily at least, ignored religion. Outsiders were now people who threatened the
racial status quo. Race had become more
important than religion, but even this fact could not completely comfort white
Catholics and remove their ambivalence about the southern Protestant mainstream. After all, the presence of many of their own
in Selma had prompted Toolen’s public statements in the first place. White Catholics who wrote Toolen, moreover,
connected the presence of “communist” outsiders in the South with the Church’s
image in the eyes of non-Catholics. In
the average white Catholic’s mind these issues were intermingled and all part
of the same problem. Communists
supported and staffed civil rights groups, most notably the NAACP, the
reasoning went. And when Catholics were
associated with such groups, the respect they had worked so hard to earn in Alabama eroded in a
flash and brought the entire church under a cloud of suspicion.
the voting rights demonstrations in Selma, one typical Birmingham laywoman
noted that this was “a day when Images seem so important,” yet “Priests and
Nuns who seem to be part time God’s servants and part time Anarchists playing
into the Communists hands, present a sad picture.”(45) A husband and wife from Fort Walton Beach,
Florida (in the Mobile-Birmingham diocese) pointed to the alleged role the
National Council of Churches—a known agent of communism in many white southern
minds—played in organizing civil rights demonstrations. After all, they reasoned,
J. Edgar Hoover had proved “conclusively the real nature of our enemy
(atheistic Communism) in our midst and the insidious character of the means
they employ.” As far as the civil rights
movement was concerned, its leaders were “deeply Communistic affiliated and
controlled.” Those Communists, moreover, “create the mobs, control the mobs so the situation is just as calm or as
explosive as the Reds want it to be.” In
fact, Mr. and Mrs. McCleary blamed Selma, student campus riots, and the killing
of John F. Kennedy all on an “International Communism Conspiracy.”(46)
In response to a syndicated column
of Msgr. George Higgins, a white Huntsville Catholic also drew explicit
connections between civil rights activism and communist influence. William H. Graham was suspicious that Martin
Luther King, Jr. would be “concerned about seeing the defeat of
Communism.” Graham accused King of
appointing known communists to positions in the SCLC, and civil rights
organizations “are rapidly showing their Red orientation by support of peace
rallies, teach-ins, etc.” Following
King’s Nobel Peace Prize Award, Atlanta Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan helped
organize a dinner in the civil rights leader’s honor. For Graham, that was tantamount to “listening
to the Bishop of Havana assure us that Fidel Castro was not a
Communist.”(47) A second Huntsville man aimed his
anti-communist rhetoric at Richard Morrisroe, the Chicago priest who was shot in the back in Lowndes County, Alabama,
in 1965 after participating in a voter registration drive. According to John Francis, Morrisroe
permitted “the Communist conspiracy to use him in their sinister take-over of
our Republic.” The civil rights
movement, moreover, had not been infiltrated by communists, “it has been
created by them.” And diabolical
communists had engineered tensions between the races. Exercising acrobatic twists of logic, Francis
offered as proof the fact that otherwise good Christians had been forced to
hate people of other races. “Let each
Christian ask himself how many of another race in his personal acquaintance
have the communists succeeded in making him hate, or even dislike.”(48)
Catholic correspondents were also worried about a second potential problem,
namely the image of the Church in the eyes of non-Catholic neighbors. This was a serious issue for a group of
people who comprised less than 3 percent of Alabama’s population. A woman from Montrose, Alabama,
Dorothea Brown Miller, applauded Toolen for his “wisdom, understanding and
foresight—and the courage in this time of crisis to speak the truth.” His words came at an opportune time for
Miller, as she found it difficult to handle Protestants’ questions about the
Catholic presence at the civil rights rally. “Non-Catholic friends have asked
me why—also, and it has been hard to answer without condemning the good—perhaps
well meaning, misinformed nuns. But
today I am so proud of my bishop!” Now,
those same friends were praising her bishop as well.(49) A second woman from Sawyerville, Alabama, who
described herself as “inately [sic]
religious,” expressed a similar sentiment, even as she revealed a perhaps more
intimate and troubling concern. The nuns
who participated in the Selma demonstration flagrantly violated southern gender
boundaries with their open association with African-American men. Since there were so few Catholics in the
South, nuns, she asserted, “should be above reproach to help us.” Instead, much to this letter-writer’s
consternation, female religious were not “following in the foot steps of ‘God’s
Masterpiece’,—our lovely Blessed Mother. . . .
To see pictures of them walking arm-in-arm with Negro men who, even Now,
would not dare ask a Southern white lady to do as much . . . shocked me beyond
words.” Neither blacks nor whites, in
her view, could respect sisters who behaved in such a manner. These nuns were “losing souls, and not trying
to get voting rights.”(50)
Protestants tended to agree with the Catholic ordinary and his Catholic
supporters. Circuit Court Judge Walter
F. Gaillard wrote Toolen that “here is one Presbyterian who is standing with
you and for you on your views.”
“’Peaceful demonstrations,’ so called” were not the way to address
inequities, and Gaillard appreciated the archbishop’s bold stance.(51) A Dothan,
Baptist acknowledged that the religious differences between himself and Toolen “could be the same difference as color of our skin.” But William J. Ward praised Toolen for his “courage to stand up and speak out.”
Ward conceded that anti-Catholicism was a problem among Baptists, but “this is just as out of place as your Nuns and Priests in Selma.” Although the two would never share the same
denomination, “the world will never be too small for you and I to live together
because we both share an identical belief.
The truth needs to be spoken.”
The truth in this case was not theological or biblical; nor did it have
anything to do with church doctrine or ecclesiastical authority. It was racial, and Toolen’s “Christian
attitude” was what the South needed to preserve the status quo.(52)
Catholics opposed Toolen and embraced racial equality.(53) These critics found themselves in the
minority, however, and their opposition to Toolen and support for the civil
rights movement symbolized the tension over moral authority within the Alabama
Catholic Church. In the former
Confederacy, a conservative Protestant hegemony had sanctified strict racial
boundaries that kept blacks subordinate to white authority well into the 1960s. Religious differences aside, most white
Catholics were comfortable with this racial hegemony. The civil rights movement gave white
Catholics the invitation they needed to begin the transition from religious and
cultural outsider to racial insider in the 1960s. That transition would not come overnight, and
it would not come without continuing Catholic suspicions of Protestants. But the fact remains that the civil rights
movement changed the South and the Catholic Church. It separated southern religion from southern
culture and freed southern Protestants to seek common ground with
Catholics. Oddly enough, a sort of
religious pluralism resulted from the shared drama of the black freedom
struggle. Catholics were now linked to
southern culture in a way they had never been, even as that culture was
undergoing changes from which it would not recover
1. W.J. Cash, The Mind of the South, with a new introduction by Bertram Wyatt-Brown, (New York: Vintage Books, 1991; originally published 1941); first quotation, p. xlviii; subsequent quotations, pp. 333-334.
2. Gary W. McDonogh, “Constructing Christian Hatred: Anti-Catholicism, Diversity, and Identity in Southern Religious Life,” in Religion in the Contemporary South: Diversity, Community, and Identity, eds. O. Kendall White Jr. and Daryl White (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1995), pp. 67, 77. On anti-Protestantism, see Jay Dolan, “Catholic Attitudes Toward Protestants,” in Uncivil Religion: Interreligious Hostility in America, eds. Robert N. Bellah and Frederick E. Greenspahn (New York: Crossroad, 1987).
3. On the reaction to the Brown decision, see Michael J. Klarman, “How Brown Changed Race Relations: The Backlash Thesis,” Journal of American History 81 (June 1994): 81 – 118; Adam Fairclough, Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915 – 1972 (Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press, 1995), pp. 164 – 195; Andrew Michael Manis, Southern Civil Religions in Conflict: Black and White Baptists and Civil Rights, 1947 – 1957 (Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 1987), Chapter 3. On post-World War II political liberalism in Alabama, see William Warren Rogers, Robert David Ward, Leah Rawls Atkins, and Wayne Flynt, Alabama: The History of a Deep South State (Tuscaloosa and London: The University of Alabama Press, 1994), Chapter 30. On the failure of post-World War II liberalism in the South in general, see Numan V. Bartley, The New South, 1945 – 1980 (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1995), Chapter 2. On the rise of massive resistance, see Bartley, The Rise of Massive Resistance: Race and Politics in the South During the 1950s, with a new preface by the author (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997; originally published 1969).
4. On anti-Catholicism as a basic element of mid-twentieth-century liberalism, see John T. McGreevy, “Thinking on One's Own: Catholicism in the American Intellectual Imagination, 1928-1960” Journal of American History 84 (June 1997): 97-131. This appears in revised form as Chapter 6 of McGreevy, Catholicism and American Freedom: A History (New York and London: W.W. Norton and Company, 2003). See also Andrew Greeley, An Ugly Little Secret: Anti-Catholicism In North America (Kansas City: Sheed Andrews and McMeel, Inc., 1977); Lynn Dumenil, “The Tribal Twenties: ‘Assimilated' Catholics' Response to Anti-Catholicism in the 1920s,” Journal of American Ethnic History 11 (Fall 1991): 21-49. Mark S. Massa, S.J., Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice (New York: Crossroad, 2003); Philip Jenkins, The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). On anti-Catholicism and the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia, see Philip N. Racine, “The Ku Klux Klan, Anti-Catholicism, and Atlanta's Board of Education, 1916-1927,” Georgia Historical Quarterly 57 (Spring 1973): 63-75.
5. On the tension in American history between liberty and coercion, see Gary Gerstle, “Liberty, Coercion, and the Making of Americans” Journal of American History 84 (September 1997): 524 – 558.
6. See Dolores Egger Labbé, Jim Crow Comes to Church: The Establishment of Segregated Catholic Parishes in South Louisiana (New York: Arno Press, 1978); William A. Osborne, The Segregated Covenant: Race Relations and American Catholics (New York: Herder and Herder, 1967).
7. See Samuel S. Hill, “The Story Before the Story: Southern Baptists since World War II,” in Southern Baptists Observed: Multiple Perspectives on a Changing Denomination, ed. Nancy Tatom Ammerman (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993); and idem, “Fundamentalism in Recent Southern Culture: Has it Done What the Civil Rights Movement Couldn't Do?” Journal of Southern Religion 1 (1998). Hill argues that until the 1970s, when fundamentalists seized control of the Southern Baptist Convention, cultural unity was more important for Southern Baptists than doctrinal purity.
8. “Barden Sees Separation More Important Than Aid,” Religious New Service, October 31, 1949. Hugh Kinchley Collection, Box 3, Folder, “Reformation Day 1949,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA. Also, see From Bishop Francis E. Hyland, Savannah to Most Rev. John B. Montini, S.T.D., Pro-Secretary of State, Vatican City, October 10, 1953. Box FB-5, Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950-1957, Folder “Catholic Laymen's Association, 1953-1954,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
9. From Ethan A. Smith, Atlanta, GA, to Kinchley, December 24, 1948. Hugh Kinchley Collection, Box 3, Folder, “Correspondence w/ Smith & Campbell,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
10. Felicitas Powers, R.S.M., “Prejudice, Journalism, and the Catholic Laymen's Association of Georgia,” U.S. Catholic Historian 8 (Summer 1989), pp. 203-204; Richard Reid, K.S.G., “The Catholic Laymen's Association of Georgia,” The Missionary 55 (June 1941): 143-147. Box R.G. 5, Organizations, 1.3 CLA, Anti-Catholic Bigotry, Folder, “Articles by Richard Reid,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
11. From Ethan A. Smith, Atlanta, GA, to Kinchley, December 24, 1948.
12. “Alarm at ‘Romish Aspirations,” clipping from The Bulletin, September 22, 1951, p. 4. Box FB-5, Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950-1957, Folder, “Catholic Laymen's Association, 1951-1952.” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
13. “Issue Taken With Heritage Day Attack,” The Catholic Week, November 11, 1950, p. 1; “Heritage Day In Mobile,” The Catholic Week, November 11, 1950, p. 4; “Catholic Spokesmen Hit ‘Hate Sermon' At Protestant Event,” NC News Service, Mobile, AL, November 20, 1950. Box R.G. 5, Organizations, 1.3 CLA, Anti-Catholic Literature, Unlabeled Folder, Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
14. Lerond Curry, Protestant-Catholic Relations in America: World War I through Vatican II (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1972), particularly Chapter 2.
15. Manis, Southern Civil Religions in Conflict.
16. “Who Are Our Friends?” The Catholic Week, April 9, 1949, p. 4. On Birmingham's chapter, see, “Birmingham To Be Headquarters Of State Unit of Anti-Catholic POAU,” The Catholic Week, April 9, 1949, p. 1. On Mobile's chapter, see “POAU Unit Being Formed In Mobile,” The Catholic Week, April 23, 1949, p. 1.
17. “'….. and other Americans….” The Catholic Week, April 9, 1949, p. 4.
18. From Moylan to Kinchley, August 3, 1950; From Julian V. Boehm, Atlanta to Hugh Kinchley, Augusta, August 1, 1950. Box FB-5, Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950-1957, Folder, “Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
19. From Moylan to Kinchley, February 4, 1950. Box FB-5, Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950-1957, Folder, “Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
20. On McCarthyism's relationship to American Catholic culture, see Mark S. Massa, Catholics and American Culture: Fulton Sheen, Dorothy Day, and the Notre Dame Football Team (New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1999), Chapter 3; and Charles R. Morris, American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built America's Most Powerful Church (New York: Times Books, 1997), pp. 242 – 250.
21. Wayne Addison Clark, “An Analysis of the Relationship Between Anti-Communism and Segregationist Thought in the Deep South, 1948 – 1964” (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1976). For a recent nuanced treatment of the topic, see George Lewis, The White South and the Red Menace: Segregationists, Anticommunism, and Massive Resistance, 1945-1965 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004).
22. In 1931 Bishop Toolen instituted a public Christ the King celebration “as an outward demonstration of faith” for Alabama's Catholics. These annual celebrations involved as many as 25,000 area Catholics parading through the streets of downtown Mobile before holding an outdoor Mass at the public square. In other cities in the diocese crowds of several thousands simply gathered in local stadiums. These public celebrations included the diocese's African American population marching with whites. To be sure, the blacks brought up the rear in a strictly segregated arrangement, but their public presence could not be missed.
23. Report of the Executive Secretary To The Annual Convention of the Catholic Laymen's Association of Georgia, October 30, 1949. Box, The Catholic Laymen's Association, 1938-1957, Minutes of Meetings and Conventions, Folder, “Catholic Laymen's Association, Minutes, Reports, 10/49-”; “About Roman Catholics,” Advertisement in Morgan County News, Madison, GA, January 1949. Box R.G. 5 Organizations, 1.3 CLA, Anti-Catholic Bigotry, Folder, “1949 Advertisements & Letters to Inquirers,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
24. “Report of the Executive Secretary to the Annual Convention of the Catholic Laymen's Association of Georgia, at Waycross, Georgia,” October 26, 1952. Box FB-5, Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950-1957, Folder, “Catholic Laymen's Association, 1953-1954,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
25. On the Bible as Protestant devotional symbol, see Ann Taves, The Household of Faith: Roman Catholic Devotions in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1986), pp. 30-32, 126-127.
26. From Kinchley to Mr. J.G. Malphurs, Albany, GA, July 22, 1950. Hugh Kinchley Collection, Box 2, Folder, “Religious Persecution,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA. See also, From Kinchley to Mr. P.D. Mathews, Editor and Publisher, Douglas County Sentinel, Douglasville, GA, September 16, 1948. Box R.G. 5 Organizations, 1.3 CLA, Anti-Catholic Bigotry, Folder, “1948 Letters to Inquirers,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
27. From Msgr. Joseph E. Moylan, Diocese of Savannah to Hugh Kinchley, Augusta, February 4, 1950. Box FB-5, Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950-1957, Folder, “Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
28. From Hugh Kinchley, Augusta to Msgr. Joseph E. Moylan, July 24, 1950; From Moylan to Kinchley, July 25, 1950. Box FB-5, Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950-1957, Folder, “Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
29. From Msgr. Joseph E. Moylan, Diocese of Savannah to Hugh Kinchley, Augusta, November 16, 1950. Box FB-5, Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950-1957, Folder, “Catholic Laymen's Association, 1950,” Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
30. McGreevy, Catholicism and American Freedom, pp. 211-212.
31. From Kinchley to Malphurs, July 22, 1950. See also From Markwalter to Book and Bible House, March 30, 1954; and From Markwalter to Members of the Catholic Laymen's Association of Georgia, April 1, 1954, Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, GA.
32. From Archbishop Thomas J. Toolen to “Dear Father,” December 3, 1963. Toolen papers, Archives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mobile, AL. For an example of Bishop Francis Hyland of Atlanta consoling members of his diocese after the bitter 1960 election, see “Catholics Here Urged to Forgive ‘Attacks,'” clipping from Atlanta Journal, November 12, 1960, in Bishop Hyland Scrapbook, Archives of Archdiocese of Atlanta, GA.
33. See, for example, John T. McGreevy, Parish Boundaries: The Catholic Encounter with Race in the Twentieth-Century Urban North (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1996).
34. On the relationship between gender and segregation, see Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); Edward L. Ayers, The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 139-140. On segregation and gender after the Brown decision, see Jane Dailey, “Sex, Segregation, and the Sacred after Brown” Journal of American History 91 (June 2004): 119-144. On the white backlash against the Brown decision, see Klarman, “How Brown Changed Race Relations: The Backlash Thesis.”
35. For example, in February 1961 the bishops of Georgia and South Carolina issued a pastoral letter condemning racism and segregation. Bishops Francis Hyland (Atlanta), Thomas McDonough (Savannah), and Paul Hallinan (Charleston) proclaimed to their parishioners that “hatred is neither Christian nor American” and that “the Church is moving steadily toward the full Christian solution” to racial segregation. These relatively progressive bishops announced that Catholic schools in their dioceses would be integrated “as soon as this can be done with safety to the children and the schools.” This should occur no later than the desegregation of the public schools, the prelates promised. See Pastoral letter, February 19, 1961, reprinted in Syllabus on Racial Justice, For Use in the Catholic Schools, Grades 7 – 12, of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Box 036/6, Folder 51, Archives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, GA.; From Hyland to Hallinan, Charleston, SC, January 25, 1961; From David Murphy, East Wesley Road, Atlanta to Hyland, February 19, 1961; From (Miss) Mary Bennett to Hyland, February 20, 1961. Box 036/6, Folder 49; “Southern Bishops Carry ‘Torch Of Integration,'” clipping from The Register [n.p.], February 26, 1961, Bishop Hyland Scrapbook, Archives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, GA.
36. Toolen pastoral letter, April 22, 1964 [to be read April 26, 1964]. Toolen papers.
37. From Catherine M. West, Mobile, AL to Toolen, April 26, 1964. Toolen papers. See also From Viola Johnson, Marion Junction, AL to Toolen, April 30, 1964. Toolen papers.
38. Albert S. Foley, “Shadow of the White Camellia: Reminiscences of a Tangle With Terrorists,” unpublished memoirs in the possession of Joan Sage, Mobile, AL. There are two extant versions of Foley's memoirs, both with similar titles. The other is in the Archives of Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL and is entitled, simply, “In the Shadow of the White Camellias.” There is some overlap, but it is possible that these were intended as two volumes (as opposed to two separate versions) of the same memoir. See also Andrew S. Moore, “Catholics in the Modern South: The Transformation of a Religion and a Region” (Ph.D. diss., University of Florida, Gainesville, 2000), Chapter 4. On the civil rights career of Foley, see Carol A. Ellis, “'The Tragedy of the White Moderate': Father Albert Foley and Alabama Civil Rights, 1963-1967 (M.A. thesis, University of South Alabama, 2002).
39. “Archbishop's Statement On Selma Racial Tension,” The Catholic Week, March 12, 1965, p. 1.
40. “Between 35 – 40 Priests At Selma,” The Catholic Week, March 12, 1965, p. 12.
41. “Archbishop Toolen Criticizes Presence of Priests, Sisters in Demonstrations,” The Catholic Week, March 19, 1965, p. 1.
42. Letter from Toolen to Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, Baltimore, MD, April 22, 1965. Toolen papers.
43. See, for example, “Work Is Started On Negro Project In Phenix City,” The Catholic Week, June 15, 1945, p. 5; “Colored Maternity Hospital Will Be Built In Pensacola,” The Catholic Week, November 23, 1945, p. 1; “Citizen Group Backs Plans For Catholic Hospital For Negroes,” The Catholic Week, May 28, 1945, p. 8; “Birmingham To Have Catholic Negro High School and Hospital,” The Catholic Week, June 25, 1948, p. 1; Joseph N. Langan interview with author, June 29, 1999, Mobile, AL.
44. Letter from Toolen to Mr. W.S. Pritchard, Birmingham, AL March 24, 1965; and Pritchard to Toolen, March 19, 1965. Toolen papers.
45. Letter from Mrs. Madelyn Patterson Burdick, Birmingham, AL to Toolen, March 19, 1965. Toolen papers.
46. Letter from Mr. and Mrs. Edward McCleary, Fort Walton Beach, FL to Toolen, March 25, 1965. Toolen papers.
47. “Msgr. Higgins' Column On Dr. King Draws Reaction,” The Catholic Week, July 23, 1965, p 6.
48. “Red Conspiracy Among Negroes,” The Catholic Week, March 18, 1966, p. 6. On Morrisroe and Episcopalian seminary student Jonathan Daniels, who was shot and killed at the same time, see Charles W. Eagles, Outside Agitator: Jon Daniels and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993).
49. Letter from Mrs. James Ainsworth Miller (Dorothea Brown Miller), Montrose, AL to Toolen, March 18, 1965. Toolen papers.
50. Letter from Joan B. Thyson, Sawyerville, AL to Mother Superior, Mary Knoll Sister, Ossinging, NY, March 17, 1965. Toolen papers.
51. Letter from Walter F. Gaillard, Mobile to Toolen, March 22, 1965. Toolen papers.
52. Letter from William J. Ward, Dothan, AL to Toolen, March 19, 1965. Toolen papers. For other examples, see Letter from The Men's Class of First Methodist Church, Bessemer, AL to Toolen, March 24, 1965; Letter from Janie Durden, August, GA to Toolen, March 18, 1965; Letter from State Senator Bill Nichols to Toolen, March 19, 1965. Toolen papers.
53. See, for example, Letter from Mrs. R.D. Hawkins, Birmingham, AL to Toolen, March 26, 1965; Letter from Mrs. Albert E. Taylor, Cherokee, AL to Toolen, March 23, 1965; Letter from James R. Jackson, Mobile, AL to Toolen, March 23, 1965. Toolen papers.
© 1998-2005 by The Journal of Southern Religion. All rights reserved. ISSN 1094-5253
This article published December, 2005