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Augustus Tolton
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Religious Figure
    (April 1, 1854-July 9, 1897)
    Born in Ralls County, Missouri
    Although several mixed-race men had been previously ordained, he was the first 100% black to be ordained a Catholic priest in the United States
    Born a slave whose father was killed in the Civil war
    Known as 'Good Father Gus'
    Namesake for The Father Tolton Regional High School in Columba, Missouri and the Augustus Tolton Catholic Academy in Chicago, Illinois
    How he and his family obtained their freedom is unknown.
    Although attributed to the effects of a heatwave, the official cause of his death is unknown.
    He played the accordion.
    A few letters are his only writings to survive.
    He was the first black to attend his local parochial school but had to leave after a month due to the threats he and the staff and faculty of the school were receiving. He and his brothers and sisters ended up being privately educated by a group of nuns.
    He had to study for the priesthood in Rome after being turned down by every seminary in the United States because of his color.
    He was lauded for his preaching and beautiful singing voice.
    He was fluent in Italian, Latin, and Greek.
    Prejudice against him was so strong that he basically had to open his own parish.
    The church he founded in Chicago was considered to unofficial center for the black Catholic Church in the United States during his life.
    The cause for his canonization as a saint began in 2010.
    He was very close to his benefactor, Saint Katherine Drexel.

Credit: tom_jeffords

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