COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Columbia’s first Catholic high school will be named after the nation’s first known black priest.

The Rev. Augustine Tolton was born into slavery in Ralls County in 1854 in Missouri but later grew to be ordained a priest in in Rome.

Tolton and his family escaped to Illinois during his childhood. He was rejected by American seminaries because of his race, but was accepted by the Urban College in Rome. After being ordained in Rome, he served as a priest in Quincy, Ill., and Chicago.

The Diocese of Jefferson City announced in February that the school’s opening would be delayed because of difficulty raising money.

When it does open, Father Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School will take no more than 200 students during its first year, but will eventually have as many as 400 students.

Learn more about Rev. Tolton

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