About this journal

At the 2006 Annual Meeting of the BCTS in Boston, The Journal of the Black Catholic Symposium was born. It was an historic occasion. For years — since the birth of the BCTS — the idea of our own publication was an aspiration. For historian Fr. Cyprian Davis, O.S.B., a charter member of our organization, preserving the history, research and scholarship of Black Catholics had been a driving passion.

When Fr. Cyprian would visit Black parishes, fundamentally the people wanted to know, “What is our history in the Church?” Their questions became his as well. … When The History of Black Catholics in the United States was published in 1990 by Crossroads, it offered what so many Black Catholics had been waiting for – the opportunity to understand from a historical point of view their ancestors’ places in and contributions to the Church.

As an historian, Fr. Cyprian deeply understood the urgency of preserving our work through publication. So many of us were producing quality scholarship that was being rejected by mainstream journals whose editorial boards either preferred work that reflected the concerns and experiences of mainstream scholars, or couldn’t understand or appreciate the significance of the issues fueling Black Catholic research. If our work was never published, our knowledge would die with us. Fr. Cyprian, like so many others in the BCTS, felt that establishing our own journal and publishing our work was one of the most important and impactful actions we could take as an organization. He wanted us to leave our own historical record for future generations. So, when I first joined the BCTS in 1997, the concept of the Journal had already been formed. And when Fr. Thaddeus Posey, O.F.M. Cap., produced Theology, A Portrait in Black: Proceedings of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium, No. 1, he set the stage for us. In fact, by adding “No. 1” to the title, he made it clear that additional volumes were anticipated. At first, we reached out to several presses in hopes that one would take on the work of a journal or proceedings. We contacted Orbis, Crossroads, and University of Notre Dame Press, among others. No one was interested at that time, however. So we made the decision to publish our own journal at that historic Boston meeting. Fortuity Press — owned and operated by affiliate member Steven Hamilton — would become our publisher.

Fr. Cyprian agreed to serve as editor. A few months after the meeting ended, he called me and requested that I serve with him on the editorial board. And so Fr. Cyprian became editor-in-chief, and I became editor. For the next two years, we worked together. It wasn’t long before Cecilia Moore joined our editorial team. A few years later, Diana Hayes joined us as book review editor. Steven eventually joined the editorial board as well. Our most recent edition to the board is Joseph Flipper.

In 2023, all issues of the Journal of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium became available electronically on this site with the permission of the original publisher, Fortuity Press - Hamilton Publishing, LLC. All articles carry the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives License (CC-BY-NC-ND).

— Composed by Kimberly Flint-Hamilton