University of Arkansas Press Publishes A Cry for Justice

Born a slave, Daniel Rudd accomplished much in long life, journalism

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The University of Arkansas Press has published A Cry for Justice: Daniel Rudd and His Life in Black Catholicism, Journalism, and Activism, 1854-1933 ($39.95 cloth), by Gary B. Agee.

Daniel Rudd, born a slave in Bardstown, Ky., grew up to achieve much in the years following the Civil War. His Catholic faith and talent for writing were joined with his passion for activism; Rudd used his newspaper, the Catholic Tribune, to promote a vision of justice that presumed for the Catholic Church an essential role in bringing about racial equality. At its zenith, the Tribune had 10,000 subscribers, making it one of the most successful black newspapers in the country. Rudd was also an active leader of the Afro-American Press Association, and a founding member of the Catholic Press Association.

By 1889, Rudd was one of the nation’s best-known black Catholics. His work was endorsed by a number of high-ranking church officials in Europe as well as in the United States, and he was one of the founders of the Lay Catholic Congress movement. Later, his travels took him to Bolivar County, Miss., and eventually on to Forrest City, Ark., where he worked for the well-known black farmer and businessperson, Scott Bond, and eventually co-wrote Bond’s biography.

“In this highly original book, Gary Agee unveils the complex challenges and opportunities for the black religious press in its quest for racial justice during the era of Jim Crow,” said John David Smith, the Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “Specialists and general readers will judge it a valuable contribution to the field of African American religious history.”

Reginald Hildebrand, professor of African and Afro-American studies at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, called the book “an important contribution to the scholarship on black journalism, black Catholicism, and black leadership.”

Gary B. Agee teaches church history at Anderson School of Theology, Anderson University.

Keywords: Arts & Humanities


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