St. Francis Xavier Church (Baltimore)

Baltimore, United States

St. Francis Xavier Church (Baltimore)

Historic St. Francis Xavier Church is a Black Catholic parish in Baltimore, Maryland. It's said to be the first exclusively Black parish in America, having been established in 1863 (with roots in the late 18th century).

On July 11, 1791, six ships from the French fleet arrived at Fell's Point, Baltimore, bringing a large number of Black Catholic refugees from Cape Francois in the French colony of San Domingo. There were between 500 and 1,000 Black refugees, both enslaved and free. The Sulpician Fathers had fled France in 1790 as refugees of the French Revolution and were affiliated with St. Mary's Seminary, in whose basements the Haitians began to meet. Both the Sulpicians and the Haitian refugees spoke French.

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