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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Historical accounts of American Catholicism are not complete without some recognition of the racial contours of life in the United States. As a people both racist and racialized, American Catholics have lived along a spectrum of racial identification, both reinforcing and confounding the black-and-white boundaries that so dominate American racial ideology. European Catholic colonizers introduced race-based notions of slavery to North America as early as the fifteenth century. Some Catholics of African descent challenged the institutionalization of white supremacy in the American Catholic Church during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, at the same time that many white Protestant Americans categorized Catholic immigrants of Europe as dark-skinned outsiders. The immigration of people from Latin America and Asia has only added to the racial diversification of American Catholicism in the twenty-first century, further reinforcing the importance of race to the study of Catholicism in American history.

Keywords: Catholicism, religion and race or ethnicity, religion and slavery, African American religion, Latina/o, racism, Jim Crow, nativism, immigration, civil rights movement

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