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religious teacher and expert in Islamic law in Timbuktu, was born 26 October 1556 in the village of Araouane, a few days north of Timbuktu by camel caravan. His full name was Abu al-Abbas Ahmad Baba ibn Ahmad ibn Ahmad ibn ʿUmar ibn Muhammad Aqit al-Sinhaji, al-Tinbukti. His father was Ahmad (1522–1583), his grandfather al hajj Ahmad (1458–1535), and his great grandfather Umar, the son of Muhammad Aqit, the celebrated patriarch of the Masufa Tuareg clan of Aqit (one of the most powerful families of Timbuktu).

Ahmad Baba was raised in Timbuktu, where he studied the hadith and Islamic law with his father and other Aqit family members. His most influential teacher was the famous scholar and historical figure Mahmud Bagayogo, author of numerous qurʾanic commentaries, whose acts of courage are recorded in al hajj Mahmud Kati’s Tarikh al fattash Prior to the Moroccan invasion ...

Article

Ralph E. Luker

Methodist educator and theologian, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Edward Bowen and Rose Simon. John's father was a carpenter from Maryland who was enslaved when he moved to New Orleans. After purchasing his own freedom, Edward Bowen bought that of his wife and son in 1858 and served in the Union army during the Civil War. After the war, young J. W. E. Bowen studied at the Union Normal School in New Orleans and at New Orleans University, which was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church for the education of freedmen. Bowen received a bachelor's degree with the university's first graduating class in 1878. Eight years later, New Orleans University awarded him a master's degree. From 1878 to 1882 Bowen taught mathematics and ancient languages at Central Tennessee College in Nashville.

In 1882 Bowen began theological studies at Boston University While he was ...

Article

Sandy Dwayne Martin

Baptist minister, educator, and editor, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of free African American parents, Ann L. (maiden name unknown) and James M. Brawley. Brawley's parents took a keen interest in the education and professional development of their son, providing him private schooling in Charleston, sending him at the age of ten to Philadelphia to attend grammar school and the Institute for Colored Youth, and apprenticing him to a shoemaker in Charleston from 1866 to 1869. He enrolled as the first theological student at Howard University for a few months in 1870 but then transferred to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in January 1871 The first African American student at Bucknell Brawley completed his education with the encouragement and financial support of a white couple named Griffith and with his own work teaching vocal music and preaching during school vacations The white Baptist church ...

Article

Willard B. Gatewood

educator and clergyman, was born a slave in the District of Columbia. His mother was Laurena Browning Cook, but his father's identity is unknown. His mother's sister, Alethia Browning Tanner, was clearly a dominant influence in his early life. Although she was a slave, her owner allowed her to hire out her own time, and by operating a profitable vegetable market in Washington, D.C., she acquired the money to purchase her own freedom as well as that of her sister and about twenty-one other relatives and acquaintances, including her nephew. Freed at the age of sixteen, Cook apprenticed himself to a shoemaker in order to earn the money to repay his aunt.

He completed his apprenticeship in 1831 but abandoned shoemaking because of an injured shoulder. He secured a job as a messenger in the office of the United States Land Commissioner where a white employee, John Wilson ...

Article

Allan D. Austin

Muslim teacher who is variously known as Kibbe, Lamen Abd al-Amin, and Paul. Beyond two short notices in the African [Colonization Society's] Repository (1835) and a mention in a list of Liberian colonists, all that is known about Kebe was recorded by Theodore Dwight Jr., African Colonizationist and a founder and secretary of the American Ethnological Society.

Lamine Kebe was born into a prominent family of the influential Kaba, or Kebe, of the Jakhanke clan of the Soninke or Serahule people. These were the founders of ancient Ghana, according to some accounts, and, more conclusively, twelfth-century converts to Islam from an area near the bend of the Niger River in present-day Mali. A short history of his people by Kebe accurately but sketchily describes the migration of a pragmatic, dedicated Qāadirīya brotherhood of teachers of Islam toward Kebe's Futa Jallon (home of Bilali ...

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Graham Russell Hodges

Born in France to Huguenot parents, Neau fled to the West Indies along with other French Protestants in 1679 to avoid persecution. There he married and then traveled to North America in the early 1680s. Captured by a French privateer in 1692 while he was on a business trip to London, Neau became a galley slave and later was held in the prison at Marseilles.

While in prison, he wrote a series of letters to correspondents in North America, including Cotton Mather, about his sufferings. Released in 1698 after the end of King Williams's War, Neau migrated to New York City. Although he soon owned slaves and became a minor slave trader, Neau published in 1699 a classic text on the meaning of Jesus s sufferings Only through pain and imprisonment Neau argued could Christians receive the gift of true religious comprehension qualities that any enslaved African American ...

Article

Jon F. Sensbach

Protestant missionary of mixed African and European parentage, was born in or near the Danish slave-trading fort of Christiansborg (present-day Accra, Ghana) on the Gold Coast. Little is known about his father, a Danish soldier stationed at the fort. His Ga mother was the daughter of Ofori, the king of Anecho, or Little Popo, a Ga kingdom some one hundred miles east on the Bight of Benin. Protten’s early upbringing reflected his bicultural heritage. Even as he grew up speaking Ga and Fante, two important languages widely used in commercial transactions along the coast, he attended a school for mixed-race children at Christiansborg taught by Danish Lutheran minister Elias Svane, learning Danish and receiving instruction in Christianity. Such multilingualism was not uncommon for Gold Coast residents, both African and European. In 1727 Svane left Christiansborg for Denmark taking eleven year old Protten and another mixed race student Frederick Pedersen ...

Article

Robert Fay

Christian Jacob Protten was born to a Danish soldier and the daughter of a Ga chief in Christiansborg, Gold Coast. He was educated in the Danish school for mulattos (of African and European descent) in Christiansborg Castle, today part of the city of Accra in Ghana. In 1726 Protten traveled to Denmark to seek further education. There he caught the notice of King Frederick IV, who became Protten's godfather at his baptism on November 27, 1727.

After meeting the leader of a Christian denomination known as the Moravian Brethren and spending a year at their refuge at Herrnhut, Germany, Protten joined the order in 1735. In 1737 he sailed to the Gold Coast present day Ghana to found a Moravian school for Euro African children at the Dutch post of Elmina These plans were frustrated by a war between the Dutch and the Dahomey ...