Holy Family was built in 1894 and was the first black congregation of Catholics in Mississippi. The Holy Family Catholic Church Historic District is “arranged around Aldrich, Old D’Evereaux, St. Catherine, Abbott, and Byrne Streets in Natchez.” The Architect/Builder was William K. Ketteringham (Mary Warren Miller, Historic Natchez Foundation, 1995, Nomination form for National Register of Historic Places). According to Miller, St. Catherine Street, which Holy Family faces, was part of the Natchez Trace.
Holy Family Catholic Church architecturally dominates the district due to its siting on a hill, its monumental size, and the elevation of the sanctuary above a fully raised basement. (Miller, 1995)
The church is a Gothic Revival style, featuring Gothic-arched windows, and the basement story retains the original shutter blinds. Richard M. Tristano published in 1998,
a case study to describe a community of Catholic African-Americans in Natchez, Mississippi in the late nineteenth century; to describe who they were and how and why they came to identify themselves as Catholics as well as African-Americans….It is appropriate to use this microhistorical method to recover the story of another lost people, lost both to Catholic and to African-American history, by means of a parish level study, utilizing sacramental and census data. (Holy Family Parish: The Genesis of an African-American Catholic Community in Natchez, Mississippi, The Journal of Negro History, 83(4), 258-283)
Holy Family Parish voted in 1893 to separate from the white-controlled cathedral (St. Mary’s Basilica) and to establish a separate African-American parish. In 1892, 200,000 Catholics of African descent were in the United States, primarily Louisiana and Maryland, although “large colonies” were listed in Natchez and other places (Fort Wayne Sentinel, March 23, 1892).