From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)
Brochure St. Peter Claver IMG_1975.jpg
Brochure 2 St Peter Claver IMG_1976.jpg

St Peter Claver Catholic Church, Lexington, KY

(start date: 1887) 

This entry was written and submitted February 15, 2024, by Yvonne Giles.

According to their history, The Diocese of Covington under the guidance of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, built the St. Martin De Porres Center in 1887 as a school, grades one to six, for African Americans. The school expanded to accommodate four high school students from 1948 to 1952. The school’s name paid honor to a Peruvian friar known for his social justice and racial harmony. He was beatified in 1837. A Chapel was opened in the school building in 1901; it was the second Catholic Church for African Americans in Kentucky. The St. Peter Claver Catholic Church and parsonage were built in 1948. Both buildings were razed in 2014. The former school building, facing West Fourth Street, was renovated, and temporarily hosted the congregation until the new church was dedicated April 16, 2023. The address is 485 West Fourth Street. The church’s name paid honor to Peter Claver who was a seventeenth century Jesuit priest. He met ships carrying slaves into Cartagena, Colombia. He provided medicine and food when they reached shore. It has been reported that he baptized 300,000 enslaved during his forty years of work. Peter Claver was canonized in 1888.
1. St. Peter Claver Catholic Church. Brochure. “Building Together for Christ.” 2014. (attached to this entry)
2. Davis, Merlene. Lexington Herald-Leader. August 4, 2002. J1/J5. “High schools’ 2 grads recall their good education.”
3. Saint Martin de Porres | Biography, Patron Saint, History, & Facts | Britannica (online).
4. St. Peter Claver Catholic Church. Brochure. “Building Together for Christ.” 2014. (attached to this entry)
5. Nate Tinner-Williams. "St. Peter Claver Lexington dedicates new church with Mass," 20 April 223, at
6. Saint Peter Claver | Biography & Facts | Britannica (online).

Other sources:
1. The Kentucky Leader. June 29, 1894. 6,3. “A Colored School”
2. Lexington Leader. April 23, 1907. 11, 1. “Catholic Church”
3. “St. Augustine Church (Louisville, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database,
accessed February 15, 2024.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Lexington herald-leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Kentucky leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Lexington and Fayette County, KY

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“St Peter Claver Catholic Church, Lexington, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-02-21 16:41:34