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Tom Leatherwood
 
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Archbishop James P. Lyke 1939 - 92

Born on February 18 in Chicago, Illinois, Father James P. Lyke, OFM, Ph.D. was the first African-American Catholic priest to serve in Tennessee. Two years after his June 24, 1966 ordination, he was assigned to St. Thomas (St. Augustine) Church where he served until 1977. On August 1, 1979, when ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland, Ohio, he became the fifth African-American and youngest Bishop in the nation. In 1991, Pope John Paul II named him Archbishop of Atlanta. Until his death on December 27, 1992, Archbishop James P. Lyke was the highest ranking African-American prelate in the U.S.