Black Saints in Early Modern Global Catholicism


ACLS Fellowship Program




“Black Saints” is a book project that assesses the rise, transmission, and meaning of devotion to holy people of sub-Saharan African origin or descent within the Catholic Church. Between 1500 and 1760, black saints flourished, a legacy most visible in the dozens of images that survive in churches throughout the Hispanic world. Veneration of black saints occurred simultaneously with religious reformations, transatlantic slave trade, global missionary efforts, and the rise of scientific racism. This project transforms our understanding of global devotional patterns and their effects on society by focusing on black saints as evangelizers, the Afro-Catholic role in shaping devotion, and how the clergy created new spiritual meanings of blackness and whiteness.