The first black bishop to serve in the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit was Bishop Moses B. Anderson. Anderson passed away last week from cardiac arrest.
Bishop Anderson was ordained in 1958. He is a native of Selma, Alabama and attended Xavier University in New Orleans. In 1983, Bishop Anderson was given his position by Pope John Paul II. This anointment made him the first African-American of that position in Detroit and the seventh black Bishop in the United States. He was over 63 churches in the archdiocese.
Bishop Anderson took his ministry to Ghana after learning of his lineage and African ancestry. His great-great-great grandmother was an African woman from Ghana who was brought to the United States during slavery. During his many pilgrimages to Ghana, Anderson was honored with the title of Tribal Chief of the Ashanti Tribe in 1990.
Despite his chosen life in the Catholic Church, the Archbishop was exposed to Jim Crow laws of the south and racism. It was said that he continued to have a kind spirit regardless of his surroundings. His first speech as an archbishop was on race in 1953. He “warned that the United States was going backwards on race relations after years of improvement,” according to an article by the Catholic News Service.
Services for the 84-year-old Archbishop were held yesterday at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.