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IHS Press

Pickin' Cotton On the Way to Church: The Life and Work of Father Boniface Hardin, OSB

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This is a biography of Father Boniface Hardin, a Benedictine monk. Excluded from the seminaries in Kentucky because of his race, he enrolled in Saint Meinrad Seminary in Spencer County, Indiana. After completing his studies he took his vows as monk and was ordained a priest in 1959.

In 1965 he accepted the position of associate pastor at Holy Angels Catholic Church, a predominately black parish in Indianapolis. Father Hardin was a social activist who spoke out against poverty, segregation, and police brutality, actions that were considered inappropriate for a priest.

Father Hardin soon left Holy Angels, and, along with Sister Jane Shilling, opened the Martin Center, where they advocated full time for the poor and disenfranchised through a series of programs and services. Realizing the correlation between education and career advancement, Father Boniface and Sister Jane founded Martin University, the only predominately African American institution of higher learning in Indiana.

Hardcover. 193 pages. 2019, Indiana Historical Society Press, By Nancy Van Note Chism.