Thursday, July 20, 2017

With A Brooklyn Accent: A Crime Against History: A Crime Against The Bronx: The Demolition of St Augustine RC Church

With A Brooklyn Accent: A Crime Against History: A Crime Against The Bronx: The Demolition of St Augustine RC Church:

A Crime Against History: A Crime Against The Bronx: The Demolition of St Augustine RC Church

"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot"

Joni Mitchell

Today, as i was taking Fordham College Dean Maura Mast on a tour of the Morrisania neighborhood, one of the sites I had planned to show her was St. Augustine RC Church, once site of a vibrant predominantly Black parish in that community, and a place where I had once celebrated mass with people from its sister church in New Orleans shortly following Hurricana Katrina. I knew the parish had been closed, but wanted to show Dean Mast the building and explain some of the parish's noble history of serving African Americans in the Bronx largest Black community. But when I drove by the site of the church on Franklin Avenue and 167th Street, what I saw filled me with anguish and rage.
THERE WAS NO CHURCH THERE!
The church had been knocked down and an apartment building- and an ugly one at that- was being erected in its place.
How did that happen? Why did it happen? Why did people allow a beautiful building, first erected in 1853 through pennies saved by German immigrants and which, in another era,became a cultural as well as spiritual home for the Bronx's Black Catholics, get With A Brooklyn Accent: A Crime Against History: A Crime Against The Bronx: The Demolition of St Augustine RC Church:

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