In an age of fast-moving news, it can seem like even recent events occurred some time ago. Ask a current generation about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and they look at you with blank stares. So it can be easy for some to think the age of racism came to an end with the prohibition against slavery. The Catholic Church was both a leader in the fight for equal rights for all, and at the same time a product of its age. The racist history of the United States makes the story of Fr. Augustus Tolton all the more amazing. Born a slave in Missouri, he escaped with his mother, who was Catholic, was himself baptized, studied to be a priest, and served admirably and heroically in the faith.
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