Winston Gregory made history last year as Washington D.C.’s first African American Archbishop. This year he is making history as America’s first Black cardinal.

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Pope Francis made the announcement on Sunday after his Angelus prayer from St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Gregory is one of 13 to be elevated to the rank in a ceremony that is to take place on November 28th.

Gregory is the only Black archbishop in the United States. He is well known for guiding the Catholic Church through multiple sexual abuse scandals in the early 2000s. In 2005, he led the Archdiocese of Atlanta before becoming Washington D.C.’s first Black archbishop in 2019.


The responsibility of a cardinal is to elect a new pope in the event that the pope dies or resigns. Pope Francis confirmed that Gregory and eight of the other thirteen are under the age of 80, which makes them eligible to elect his successor.