Lot 57: ALABAMA CIVIL RIGHTS
January 25, 2017
Wells, ME, USA
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Description: [ALABAMA CIVIL RIGHTS] Thomas J. Toolan (1886-1976) American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Mobile from 1927 to 1969, and was given the personal title of Archbishop in 1954. Toolen opened several new churches, orphanages, hospitals, and other institutions that were meant to minister exclusively to African Americans, leading opponents to call him "the nigger bishop". In 1950, he oversaw construction of St. Martin de Porres Hospital in Mobile, which was the first hospital in Alabama where African American doctors could work alongside their white colleagues. He also persuaded a local hospital to become the first one in Alabama to accept pregnant African American women. Toolen rose to national prominence during the civil rights movement. In 1964, he ended racial segregation in Catholic schools throughout Alabama. He wrote, "After much prayer, consultation and advice, we have decided to integrate all the schools of the diocese. I know this will not meet with the approval of many of our people, but in justice and charity, this must be done. I ask all of our people to accept this decision as best for God and country." However, he publicly denounced the methods of the activists, speaking in favor of a more non-confrontational approach to civil rights. In 1965, Toolen ordered the Society of Saint Edmund to remove Rev. Maurice Ouellet because he had let his rectory serve as a headquarters for the Selma marchers. Offered here is an old scrapbook page with the signatures on 3x5 cards of Toolan and Ouellet affixed to it. Affixed to the other side is a TLS by Hal Holbrook, sending his autograph. Very scarce!..