T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History Collection




INTERVIEWEE NAME: Saah-Buckman, Michael Kwa       COLLECTION: 4700.0848


IDENTIFICATION:  Michael Kwa Saah-Buckman is the Pastor of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and Private School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


INTERVIEWER: Green, S. and Jacobi, P.


PROJECT:     McKinley 3: African American Churches


INTERVIEW DATES:                      June 12, 1997


FOCUS DATES:        1918 - 1997




T 1222, Side A

Introduction; St. Francis Xavier founded in 1918 exclusively for African-Americans by the diocese of New Orleans; also established a school at that time by closing its orphanage; lost its high school with the construction of I-10 and I-110; is administered by the Josephite fathers and Holy Family of Nuns; is a family church without territorial boundaries that encourages gifts and talents to be exhibited; located on the 1100 block of 11th Street in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; described as a young, African American, gifted, spiritual, and active congregation of about 650 families; 75th Anniversary and an African Pastor are significant events; St. Francis' location and being the only African American Catholic Church with a School makes the St. Francis Xavier unique; typical Sunday includes choir, acknowledgement of visitors, announcements, “From the Pastor's Desk,” service, remarks, social gatherings before everybody goes home; has a partnership with St. Thomas More to deal with racism; St. Francis' African American spirituality makes worship unique; SaahBuckman is a spiritual leader, administrator, and community minister to St. Francis; he also has a passion for education; father, John Benjamin Buckman; mother, Elizabeth Nyankah; was educated in Catholic schools; degree of philosophy and theology from St. Peter's Regional Seminary in Ghana; came to United States in 1987; ordained in 1993; attended University of New Orleans and De Salis School of Theology; assigned to St. Francis in 1996 as Father Norvel left; St. Francis Xavier school ended the year with 295 students in pre-K to 8th grade and 65 % are catholic; 24 children in the daycare; 98% of students are African American; has community outreach of Alcoholics Anonymous, St. Vincent DePaul, and the Boy Scouts; has helped the community through its worshiping community and family; agrees to provide list of potential interviews and booklet for the St. Francis Xavier 75th Anniversary; closing.  


TAPES:  T1222                                                          TOTAL PLAYING TIME:    34 minutes


# PAGES TRANSCRIPT:     16 pages


OTHER MATERIALS:  Index, Notes and Words list, Interview Comments, Interview Data Sheet, Correspondence