Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Thesis Advisor

Joseph Edward Lee

Committee Member

Joseph Edward Lee

Committee Member

Donald A. Rakestraw


Oratorians, Rock Hill, Boone, Catholic, Jim Crow

Committee Member

Peter Joseph Judge


The Roman Catholic Oratorians came to Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1935 with the mission to minister to the poor, underprivileged, and disadvantaged of all races and creeds, and to spread the good news of Catholicism. During the past eighty-one years, the Catholic Church has had a tremendous effect on where the community stands today. It was, and remains, significant because it improves economic, social, educational, and vocational conditions for the black community in particular. The church is ever changing, growing, and evolving to meet the needs of its congregation and community, and is quite different from the Catholic Church of the twentieth century. This thesis shows the transformational impact of the Catholic Church upon the community, as it converted from a segregated one to an integrated whole, from the post-World War II years to 2016. It is the story of the Roman Catholic Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina, its people, and the Oratorians who are its inspirational religious leaders. The focus is upon St. Mary's Church which was founded as a black Catholic Church in 1946.