The Irish-born Father James Coyle became a beloved pastor in early 20th-century Birmingham, Alabama. He cared about all of God’s children, and bringing as many souls to Christ as possible. But anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiment grew significantly in his time, especially with the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). He was a well-educated man, and was an eloquent defender of the faith, taking to newspapers to explain the Catholic faith and rebuff libelous attacks on Catholics. When he married the daughter of Edwin Stephenson, a KKK member, to a Catholic Puerto Rican man, Stephenson murdered him in cold blood on the porch of his rectory. The trial was a sham, Stephenson acquitted, but the uproar and horror over the event really was the beginning of the end of the anti-Catholic activity in the South.
- Life & Legacy: The Father James E. Coyle Documentary – The Father Coyle Memorial Project
- Tragedy In Birmingham – Columbia Magazine
- Killing of Birmingham priest in 1921 remembered at cathedral – al.com
- An American story about an Irish priest, a brave girl, and the KKK
- Remembering James Coyle: The Irish priest the Ku Klux Klan killed | IrishCentral.com
- Hugo Black and the Murder of Father James E. Coyle
- Father James Edwin Coyle — AOH Florida State Board
- EWTN Live – Rising Road and Fr. James Coyle project – Fr Pacwa w Prof Sharon Davies – 7-20-2011 – YouTube
- Learn about our upcoming pilgrimages to important and unforgettable Catholic holy sites
Books & More
- Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America
- Hugo Black of Alabama: How His Roots and Early Career Shaped the Great Champion of the Constitution
- Southern Civil Religions: Imagining the Good Society in the Post-Reconstruction Era (The New Southern Studies Ser.)
- “The Murder of Father James Coyle, the Prosecution of Edwin Stephenson, and the True Calling of Lawyers,” By Judge William Pryor
- The American Catholic Almanac
Follow to Get Episodes Automatically
And in your kindness, please leave a great rating and a review — those help more people to find American Catholic History!
Support American Catholic History
Noëlle and Tom enjoy doing this work, but they can't do it without support!
Become a supporter of American Catholic History to keep this great Catholic content coming.
Over on Locals we host reading groups, post exclusive videos, chat sessions, and we share more content not available to the public.
Join Our Locals Community
Learn how you can sponsor the American Catholic History Podcast. Your name and information will be included in our episodes, plus more benefits. Get information at the SQPN website.
Become a Patron
Drop a Tip in Noëlle & Tom's Tip Jar
Putting these episodes together takes time. If you appreciate what you get, show Noëlle and Tom a little love through Venmo or Paypal.