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Steven Leikin

diplomat, preacher, and author, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Sallie Montgomery. Nothing is known of his biological father. His mother, however, was an African American, and Dennis was of mixed race parentage. In 1897 he was adopted by Green Dennis, a contractor, and Cornelia Walker. During his youth Dennis was known as the “mulatto child evangelist,” and he preached to church congregations in the African American community of Atlanta before he was five years old. By the age of fifteen he had toured churches throughout the United States and England and addressed hundreds of thousands of people.

Despite his success as an evangelist Dennis had ambitions to move beyond this evangelical milieu. In 1913, unschooled but unquestionably bright, he applied to Phillips Exeter Academy and gained admission. He graduated within two years and in 1915 entered Harvard.

Dennis s decisions to ...


David H. Anthony

YMCA secretary, missionary, theologian, and anti-Communist ideologue, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the son of Elizabeth Yeargan, a literate seamstress. Nothing is now known about his father. The family name has appeared variously as “Yeargin,” “Yeargan,” “Yergin,” “Yergan,” and even “Yergen.” The spelling “Yergan” was apparently adopted during his early adulthood, while there is evidence that his mother employed “Yeargan” until at least the second decade of the twentieth century.

Raised by his mother and maternal grandfather Frederick Yergan, Max Yergan grew up in a household in which Christian values held sway This was evident in his attendance at the St Ambrose Episcopal Parish School and Shaw Institute now Shaw University Frederick Yergan served as both deacon and trustee of the Baptist church from which Shaw grew years later Max recalled his zeal in seeing his grandson become a missionary to our ...