Ford, Arnold Josiah
- Sholomo B. Levy
rabbi, black nationalist, and emigrationist, was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, the son of Edward Ford and Elizabeth Augusta Braithwaite. Ford asserted that his father's ancestry could be traced to the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria and his mother's to the Mendi tribe of Sierra Leone. According to his family's oral history, their heritage extended back to one of the priestly families of the ancient Israelites, and in Barbados his family maintained customs and traditions that identified them with Judaism (Kobre, 27). His father was a policeman who also had a reputation as a “fiery preacher” at the Wesleyan Methodist Church where Arnold was baptized; it is not known if Edward's teaching espoused traditional Methodist beliefs or if it urged the embrace of Judaism that his son would later advocate.
Ford s parents intended for him to become a musician They provided him with private tutors who instructed ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.