“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Natchez in Adams County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)

Holy Family Church and School

Natchez Trails

Holy Family Church and School Marker image. Click for full size.
July 8, 2017
1. Holy Family Church and School Marker
In 1889 Bishop Thomas Heslin started the first parish for Roman Catholic African Americans in Mississippi. He first oversaw construction of a small frame church (above left) on Beaumont Street and brought Father A.N.J. Peters to Natchez to become the founding parish priest.

The congregation grew quickly, and Father Peters traveled north to raise money for a new, larger church and school. Heiress Katharine Drexel of Philadelphia became a major benefactor.

In 1894 the congregation dedicated a Victorian Gothic brick church, constructed by local builder William Ketteringham, and named it Holy Family Church. The building featured an upper-story sanctuary with classrooms below.

Pictured above (left to right) are the 1906 school auditorium/cafeteria, the 1894 convent and Holy Family Church. Not visible is the ca. 1895 redtory.

Photo Captions.
Top left The interior of Holy Family has changed little since 1911. The aspe, the arch containing the altar, originally featured a wall painting of the Holy Family: Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

Bottom Left In 1899 the Josephite Society
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of the Sacred Heart, a Baltimore society focused on ministering to African Americans, took charge of the church. They assumed ownership of the property in 1904. Their strong commitment to social justice had a profound effect on the Civil Rights movement in Natchez.

Top right The Gospel Choir of Holy Family presents a musical history of the Natchez African American experience during the Spring Pilgrimage tour of houses and also by special arrangement.

Bottom Right Father William Morrissey of Holy Family (far right) was the first white officer of the Mississippi Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Also pictured at a 1965 NAACP meeting at Holy Family (left to right) are Civil Rights activists Shead Baldwin, P.K. Pennington, George West and Charles Evers.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & ReligionCivil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi - Natchez Trails series list.
Location. 31° 33.519′ N, 91° 23.802′ W. Marker is in Natchez, Mississippi, in Adams County. Marker is at the intersection of St. Catherine Street and Orange Avenue, on the right when traveling west on St. Catherine Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Natchez MS 39120, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least
Holy Family Church and School Marker image. Click for full size.
May 27, 2017
2. Holy Family Church and School Marker
8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Holy Family Catholic Church (a few steps from this marker); Dr. John Banks House - 9 St. Catherine Street (within shouting distance of this marker); 20-30 St. Catherine Street and Eduation (within shouting distance of this marker); Dr. John B. Banks House (within shouting distance of this marker); Natchez NAACP Headquarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Hospital Hill Neighborhood (within shouting distance of this marker); Voss Family and A-B Motor Company (within shouting distance of this marker); Good Neighbors - Alexanders and Gonnellinis (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Natchez.
More about this marker. St. Catherine Street is one way westbound at this location.

Part of the Natchez Trails "St. Catherine Street" walking tour.
Holy Family Church image. Click for full size.
July 8, 2017
3. Holy Family Church
Credits. This page was last revised on September 22, 2017. It was originally submitted on June 19, 2017, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 420 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 8, 2017.

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Jun. 13, 2024