St. Augustine in St. Johns County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Black Catholic Heritage
This block of property owned by the Catholic Church contains three historic buildings that embody an important part of African American heritage of St. Augustine. It was part of Yallaha orange grove plantation before the Civil War and was conveyed to the church by the Dumas family in 1890. The first building was constructed in 1898 was the school, originally called St. Cecilia, later St. Benedict. It is the oldest surviving brick schoolhouse in St. Augustine. With a tower and original wraparound porch, it was a landmark of Victorian architecture. It was the gift of Mother Katharine Drexel (1858-1955), a wealthy Philadelphia heiress who founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People and established more than 60 parochial schools around the country. On October 1, 2000, Pope John Paul II named Mother Drexel a saint, and two St. Augustinians attended the canonization ceremony at the Vatican. The Sisters of St. Joseph, a teaching order that was brought here in 1866, operated St. Benedict School. They were involved in a celebrated civil rights case when, on Easter Sunday 1916, three of the nuns Sisters Mary Thomasine Hehir, Mary Scholastia Sullivan
and Mary Beningus Cameron were arrested for violating a 1913 passed Florida law that made it a criminal offense for whites to teach
Erected 2004 by The Diocese of St. Augustine and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-526.)
Location. 29° 53.205′ N, 81° 18.906′ W. Marker is in St. Augustine, Florida, in St. Johns County. Marker is on Martin Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Augustine FL 32084, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Paul A.M.E. Church (a few steps from this marker); 84 St. Benedict Street (within shouting distance of this marker); 97 M.L. King Avenue (within shouting distance of this marker); First Baptist Church of St. Augustine (within shouting distance of this marker); 102 M.L. King Avenue (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 113 DeHaven Street (about 400 feet away); 120 DeHaven Street (about 400 feet away); 112 M.L. King Avenue (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Augustine.
Categories. • African Americans • Churches & Religion • Civil Rights •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 2, 2019. This page originally submitted on April 13, 2017, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 457 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 13, 2017, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.