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Rebuilding the Bridge: African American Affairs’ 50th Anniversary Initiative


What do you think?
Share your thoughts/answers to this or any of the questions below on USCCB Facebook and Twitter.

How might the Freedom Summer project of the Civil Rights era speak to us today as Catholics and faithful citizens?  

50 Years Ago...

50 years ago…The first episode of the game show Jeopardy aired and Freedom Summer brought 1000 activists by bus to Mississippi to help African Americans exercise their rights and duties as citizens.  What’s the winning question today?  

50 years ago…The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party formed to challenge the all-white official Democratic party.  Its delegates attended the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City NJ, until they were forcibly removed.  Is the right to vote secure today?

50 years ago…Baby boomers enjoyed watching Bewitched, The Addams Family, Gilligan’s Island and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  On television they also watched police dogs, fire hoses and billy clubs beat back their fellow citizens seeking the right to vote and equal opportunity for employment, housing and education.  Which made a bigger impact on your life?

The African American Affairs’ 50th Anniversary Initiative provides a platform for probing the impact of this historic moment on African American Catholics, the Church and U.S. society today.  For a quick look back, view the Catholic News Service video, Equality for All:  Catholic Reflections on the Civil Rights Act.  

More food for thought is available in America Magazine.  See the July 7-14, 2014 issue (Reference Vol. 211 No. 1; Whole No. 5055).  Read reflections of African American Catholics on the theme, “Black and Catholic:  On Race, Faith and Freedom.”  Share your own reflections on USCCB Facebook and Twitter.

About This Project

50 Years Ago in his encyclical to The Clergy And Faithful of the Whole World and To All Men of Good Will, Pope St. John XXIII declared:
“When the relations of human society are expressed in terms of rights and duties, men become conscious of spiritual values, understand the meaning and significance of truth, justice, charity and freedom, and become deeply aware that they belong to this world of values.  Moreover, when moved by such concerns, they are brought to a better knowledge of the true God Who is personal and transcendent, and thus they make the ties that bind them to God the solid foundation and supreme criterion of their lives, both that of life which they live interiorly in the depths of their own souls and of that in which they are united to other men in society.” 

#45 Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), April 11, 1963 

A half century ago immersed in a massive social movement, Americans awakened to pleas for justice, civil rights, human rights and the eradication of racism.  At home and abroad those who were “less fortunate” sought relief from unjust systems of oppression, discrimination and colonial status.  In recognition of that critical moment, the USCCB will encourage the Catholic community to rediscover this slice of history through the prism of the Church’s involvement at the time and within the current social context.  From June 2014 through 2015, we will examine how the lessons and legacy of the civil rights era continue to shape us today as Catholics and faithful citizens.  Bookmark this page, share it with your friends and return often for guest commentaries on the USCCB Blog, a calendar of events, prayer and catechetical resources, video clips, practical ideas for engaging the Catholic community and much more.

Timeline - 50th Anniversary


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