The remarkable story of America’s First Black priest.

The Story: “A colored child born April 1, 1854, son of Peter Tolton and Martha Chisley, property of Stephen Elliott.” That’s all it says in the baptismal record for Father Augustus Tolton. Born a slave to Peter Paul and Martha Tolton, of Brush Creek, Missouri, he grew up to become the first African American Catholic priest. Ten years later, his father had gone to fight for the Union Army and was presumed dead in the Civil War. His heroic mother then risked her life to escape slavery. With her three young children, she crossed the Mississippi in a boat with one oar. After dodging Confederate bullets, she and her children then ran all the way to the town of Quincy, in the free state of Illinois. There they made a home, and Augustus Tolton grew in the Catholic Faith and in the conviction that God was calling him to be a priest. Read more:
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