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Painting the GospelBlack Public Art and Religion in Chicago$
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Kymberly N. Pinder

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039928

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039928.001.0001

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Father Tolton’s Soldiers

Father Tolton’s Soldiers

Black Imagery in Three Catholic Churches

(p.99) Chapter 4 Father Tolton’s Soldiers
Painting the Gospel

Kymberly N. Pinder

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the use of black imagery in three Catholic churches in Chicago: Saint Sabina Church, Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church, and Holy Angels Catholic Church. It first provides an overview of Chicago's black Catholicism before discussing Saint Sabina's visual ministry, led by its activist white pastor Michael Pfleger. In particular, it explores how Pfleger foregrounds his activist ministry in the visualization of the real and the imagined blackness of his congregants and himself. It then considers Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church's exterior mosaics of black martyrs and church fathers, designed by artist Ildiko Repasi who made a conscious effort to make her work conform to the spirit of the heavily damaged work that she was initially commissioned to repair. Those compositions from decades earlier focused on the history of those figures in Catholicism relevant to black Catholics and Saint Elizabeth's history. The chapter concludes with a discussion of Richard Hunt's liturgical sculptures at Holy Angels Catholic Church.

Keywords:   black imagery, Saint Sabina Church, Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church, Holy Angels Catholic Church, black Catholicism, Michael Pfleger, mosaics, Ildiko Repasi, Richard Hunt, sculpture

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