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Black History Month: SNJM Legacy at St. Gabriel's School

In a time when integrated schools were not the national norm, the Sisters of the Holy Names lived out their commitment to a just world by teaching African-American students in parochial schools. One of those schools, St. Gabriel's School in Washington, D.C., began admitting black Catholic students in the 1950s. By the mid-1960s, African-Americans made up a majority of the school's population. Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, the violent response to his death came within blocks of the school. Sisters were told to stay in their convent for safety, but rushed to meet the needs of the community around the school. They made food baskets, served sandwiches to the Army troops brought in to restore order, and ran the food center depot that opened in the parish to provide ongoing support.

St. Gabriels students 1965