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Clifton H. Johnson

clergyman and abolitionist, was born in Colchester, Connecticut, the son of Jehiel C. Beman, a clergyman. Nothing is known of his mother. He grew up and received a basic education in Middletown, Connecticut, where his father was pastor of the African church. A Wesleyan University student, L. P. Dole, volunteered to tutor Beman after the university refused his application for admission because he was an African American. Dole and Beman suffered ridicule and harassment from other students, and an anonymous threat of bodily harm from “Twelve of Us” caused Beman to give up the effort after six months. He went to Hartford, where he taught school for four years, and around 1836 he briefly attended the Oneida Institute in New York.

Beman was ordained as a Congregational minister in 1839. At about this time he married a woman whose name is not known. In 1841 ...

Article

William C. Hine

clergyman and politician, was born to free parents in Greenbriar County, Virginia (now West Virginia). In 1831 his family moved to Gallipolis, Ohio. Cain was educated at local schools and worked on an Ohio River steamboat before being licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844. Complaining of racial discrimination in the church, he resigned and joined the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Assigned a pulpit in Muscatine, Iowa, he was ordained a deacon in 1859. He returned to Ohio and in 1860 attended Wilberforce University. From 1861 to 1865 he served as pastor at Bridge Street Church in Brooklyn, New York, and was elevated to elder in 1862. He participated in the 1864 national black convention in Syracuse, New York, that advocated abolition, equality before the law, and universal manhood suffrage. Cain married Laura (maiden name unknown), and they adopted a daughter.

In 1865 ...

Article

Linda M. Carter

missionary and founding father of the state of Liberia, was born in Hicksford, Greensville County, Virginia, the elder son of John Day Sr., an affluent furniture maker, farmer, and landowner, and Mourning Stewart Day. The Days were free African Americans, and Day's father, as early as the 1789 election, was accorded voting status.

In an era when formal education for African Americans was rare, Day reaped the benefits of being the offspring of two prominent families. His father arranged for him to board in Edward Whitehorne's home, and Day, along with the Whitehorne children, attended Jonathan Bailey's school. While residing with the family, Day received some level of religious instruction from Whitehorne. In 1807 Day's father, who had been residing in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, purchased a plantation in Sussex County, Virginia, near the Whitehorne residence, and Day then attended William Northcross's school.

At the age of nineteen ...

Article

Eric Gardner

African Methodist Episcopal (AME) minister and activist, was born into slavery in Maryland. Nothing is known of his parentage and youth. He gained his freedom, moved west during the Gold Rush, and was living in San Francisco by 1850. Fletcher and a brother (named Charles, George, or Edward in various sources) helped found St. Andrews Church in Sacramento, and Fletcher seems to have moved back and forth between Sacramento and San Francisco and worked at least occasionally as a miner. Some sources report that he earned enough to purchase his wife and children out of slavery. Although no spouse was living with him in 1850, his Virginia-born wife Elizabeth (also listed as Betsy) is named with him in the 1860 census, along with two children, Joseph G. and Mary E.

In addition to his work in Sacramento Fletcher helped found St Cyprian s African Methodist Episcopal ...

Article

Graham Russell Hodges

Born to petit bourgeois parents in Vého, Lorraine, in rural France, Henri-Baptiste Grégoire was educated at a Jesuit college. He then became a teacher and was consequently ordained as a priest in Lorraine at the age of twenty-five. Frustrated by hierarchical barriers to advancement, he turned to writing.

Grégoire's first essays, published in the late 1770s, advocated tolerance of Jews, a position that placed Grégoire in opposition to the wave of anti-Semitism in France. In 1785 he won awards for a book reflecting his passion for Jewish rights Grégoire contended that temporal salvation by which he meant absorption into the Roman Catholic Church was individual rather than racial or national He defined his duty as working for the creation of conditions under which Jews could convert to Catholicism and be eligible for salvation To avoid social corruption he believed Jews were to be encouraged to migrate to the countryside ...

Article

J. D. Bowers

minister, educator, civil servant, and social activist, was born in Richmond, Virginia, to Evelina Atkinson, of both African American and Cherokee descent, and Joseph Poindexter, a white newspaperman. Little is known about the circumstances surrounding his birth or of the nature of his parents' relationship, only that his mother passed away when he was four. At the age of ten he became an apprentice barber and practiced the trade for the next twenty-eight years.

Poindexter left Virginia at the age of eighteen, having already married his wife, Adelia maiden name unknown and moved to Dublin Ohio and soon thereafter settled in Columbus which then had the state s largest population of African Americans Because of his mixed blood and light complexion Poindexter although it was known that he was African American was allowed to actively participate in the political process and even to vote a right not ...

Article

Daniel W. Hamilton

Reconstruction politician, civil rights leader, and murder victim, was born free in Kentucky, the child of parents of mixed ethnicity whose names are unknown. When he was a child Randolph's family moved to Ohio, where he was educated in local schools. In 1854 he entered Oberlin College's preparatory department, before attending the college from 1857 to 1862. At Oberlin Randolph received instruction both in the liberal arts and at the college's theological seminary. Soon after graduation he was ordained as a Methodist Episcopal minister. During the Civil War Randolph served as a chaplain in the Twenty-sixth Colored Infantry, which was dispatched to Hilton Head, South Carolina, in 1864.

After the war ended in 1865 Randolph applied for a position with the Freedmen s Bureau He was not initially given an appointment but was instead sent to South Carolina by the American Missionary Association a ...

Article

minister, author, pamphleteer, and Socialist Party activist, was born a slave in Johnson County, Tennessee, the son of Charles Woodbey and Rachel Wagner Woodbey. While little is known about Woodbey's parents and early life, it is clear that he worked as a manual laborer in his youth. Woodbey was largely self-educated, attending only two terms of common school, yet he learned to read after gaining freedom during the Civil War. His experience of servitude spurred his gradual allegiance to socialism. As Woodbey wrote, he was “one who was once a chattel slave freed by the proclamation of Lincoln and now wishes to be free from the slavery of capitalism” (Foner, 10).

By 1874 Woodbey had been ordained a Baptist minister in Emporia Kansas Like many blacks confronted with the failure of Reconstruction Woodbey migrated westward It is estimated that some seven thousand black families ...