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Eugene Antonio Marino became the first Black Archbishop of the United States on this day in 1988. Although Archbishop Marino’s appointment in the post ended in scandal, he was still honored by the Catholic Church and served the people until his passing in 2000.

Marino was born to Black and Puerto Rican parents on May 30, 1934 in Biloxi, Miss. After attending New York’s Epiphany Apostolic College, he entered St. Joseph’s Seminary in 1962 which is when he was also ordained. Marino completed his education at Loyola University and Fordham University.

Among Marino’s accomplishments was his announcement as the vicar general of the Josephites, the first Black person to do so. He was also an auxiliary bishop for the Washington archdiocese, just the fourth Black person to have the position at the time. Marino is also the first Black secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The archbishop candidly discussed race during his rise in the church and was proud to represent Black people who followed the faith.

Little Known Black History Fact: Eugene Antonio Marino  was originally published on

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