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Research Talk by History Dissertation Fellowship Candidate James Padilioni

Date: 3:30pm PDT March 16, 2017 Location: Albany 218

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Albany 218

Please join the History department for a research talk by 2017-2018 Dissertation Fellowship Candidate James Padilioni.  The title of his talk is, Finding Martin in Atlanta: Entangling Martin Luther King, Jr​. and St. Martin de Porres at Atlanta’s Oldest Black Catholic Church.

This talk focuses on the relation of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Martin de Porres throughout the long twentieth century at Our Lady of Lourdes, Atlanta’s oldest Catholic congregation serving the African-American community. Founded in 1912, OLL is located a short walk down the street from Ebenezer Baptist Church and is today located within the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. During the 1950s, OLL installed a 7’ tall statue of Martin de Porres, a seventeenth-century Afro-Peruvian friar whose case for sainthood culminated in 1962 when Pope John XXIII canonized him as the universal patron of social justice. Members of OLL founded the St. Martin Human Relations Council in 1965, participating in anti-police brutality demonstrations following the “Bloody Sunday” incident in Selma, AL and coordinating an in-home dialog program to foster mutual understanding around issues of race. From a combination of archival records and ethnographic fieldwork, Padilioni teases out the ways that congregants at OLL entangled the two Martins together in their mobilizations for social and racial justice, as well as the ways OLL transformed Martin Luther King, Jr. into a “folk saint of Black History” by elaborating his memory through oral history apocrypha and hagiographic practices.


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