This clip from James Baldwin hits close to home since the topics of religion and labor unions have been in my discussions last week while traveling with Wadada Leo Smith (these are just thoughts, not a stance):
You can see the struggle of equal Union rights and participation in the long fought issues over the integration of the musicians union, especially in Chicago.
In an interview with trombonist Julian Priester re-counted that the end of the jam-session culture in Chicago came about by order from the white musician's union to put a stop any non-contracted musicians from sitting in on gigs. As he put it, this was reinforced with armed intimidation.
Of course, the Memphis Sanitation workers strike encouraged by the American Federation for State and County Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Some people still don't know that MLK was assassinated while in Memphis to support this strike at he Loraine Motel. Coincidentally also the major social hangout for artists and employees' of the Soul label Stax Records.
Of course the Christian church at large plays a big role in Black America, in any social or political dealing church leaders are an important caucus of the community. Black Catholics, however, only make up under 5% of the total number of Catholics in the U.S. and with a few exceptions their power base moves from individual parishes to Bishops, Cardinals & the Pope.
Although a racist and segregationist aspect of the Catholic church is undeniable, the strength of the Catholic Church in the U.S. is probably wrapped up more in the dispute amongst this country's European ancestors. Much of the first European settlers of what is now The United States were anything but Catholic. The catholics by way of the Spanish and Portugeesse sunk their teeth into the Central and South America. The dominant European Protestants brought their discrimination that grew against Catholicism itself. The wonder of electing our first Black President was thrown on JFK more than 50 years ago when we elected our first (and only) Catholic President a sign of the longevity of this inter-caucassion issue.
codeswitch/2015/09/22/ 442509427/pope-francis- inspires-black-catholics- despite-complicated-church- history-on-race
Despite the racial and ethnic issues within the Catholic church it seems that the overall mission to convert mass numbers in evidenced in Africa and South America trumped full exclusion from the Catholic religion; separate and kind of equal.
Nonetheless, some would say that the Church in its' minority communities acts in these contradictory forms of sanctifier, mouth piece and enslaver, the latter maybe being true for not just minorities.