St. Gerard Parish was established in 1942 by the Redemptorist Fathers from Orangeburg as a mission for black Catholics who had been meeting in homes without a Pastor. It started in an abandoned theater across York Street from First Baptist Church.
In 1949, the Oblate Sisters of Providence started a school for black children from any denomination on the first floor, and a second floor was added for the Sanctuary. In 1972, the school was closed because integration allowed its students to attend St. Mary’s School two blocks away, and the parish built the present church on Edrie Street. St. Gerard’s formally became an independent parish in 1979.