Marker Dedication: Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
On November 24th, the Georgia Historical Society will hold a ceremony to unveil a new marker commemorating Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Atlanta’s first African-American church. The ceremony will take place at 1:45pm at the church, located at 25 Boulevard NE in Atlanta.
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
Atlanta’s First African-American Catholic Church
Our Lady of Lourdes was established in November 1912 by Father Ignatius Lissner as the first African-American Catholic church in Atlanta. Father Lissner received funding for the church and parish school from Mother Katharine Drexel, a Pennsylvania heiress who founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (SBS), an order established to serve and support African and Native Americans. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, Lourdes parishioners, including SBS nuns, participated in protest activities as part of the Old Fourth Ward community. The SBS staffed Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School until 1974. The school closed in 2001 when the Archdiocese of Atlanta could no longer provide funding. The building is now the Katharine Drexel Community Center.
Erected by the Georgia Historical Society and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church