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Alan K. Lamm

Civil War army chaplain and Baptist minister, was born in North Branford, near New Haven, Connecticut, to Ruel and Jereusha Asher. His paternal grandfather had been captured in the Guinea region of Africa at the age of four and was brought to America as a slave. Young Jeremiah grew up hearing fascinating tales of his grandfather's life, which included military service during the American Revolutionary War. Those stories would later inspire Asher in his own life.

Asher's father was a shoemaker who married a Native American woman from Hartford, Connecticut. Jeremiah grew up as a member of the only African American family in North Branford and was permitted to attend school along with white children. At the age of twelve he left school to help out his family financially, and over the next several years he worked as a farmhand, servant, and coachman. In 1833 he married Abigail Stewart ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

U.S. Army chaplain, World War II veteran, and Bronze Star medalist, was born in Florence, Alabama, the youngest of three children of Mary (Sneed) and Rufus Beasley. On both the maternal and paternal sides of his family, Beasley was descended from slaves and had family members who performed military duty as soldiers in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Because of a rheumatoid arthritis condition, Louis Beasley's education was delayed and he would not graduate from high school until the age of twenty. Previously, in 1924, Beasley had met his future wife, Lauvenia Minor, and the two were wed in 1930. To help support his family, Louis would subsequently work at several sales jobs and attended Normal Agricultural and Mechanical Institute, graduating in 1931 while his wife was employed as a schoolteacher Uncertain as to what career path he should take Louis Beasley ...

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Earl P. Stover

Louis Carter was born on February 20, 1876, in Auburn, Alabama. He attended Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), in Tuskegee, Alabama, from 1895 to 1897, and Selma University, in Selma, Alabama, from 1897 to 1900, but he did not graduate from either institution. From 1901 to 1904 he attended the Virginia Union University Theological School, in Richmond, Virginia, as a special student, graduating with a bachelor of divinity degree. From his ordination in Auburn in 1899 to his enlistment in the Army in 1910 Carter served several pastorates in Alabama Virginia and Tennessee His popularity and success as a pastor was characterized as phenomenal As pastor of the 1 500 member First Baptist Church of Knoxville he was active in the black Young Men s Christian Association YMCA and was said to have done more to encourage young men to participate in YMCA activities ...

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Kathryn Grover

the first officially designated black chaplain in the Union army, was born free in Norfolk, Virginia. His father and grandfather, Henry Jackson Sr. and Jr., had been vessel pilots on the rivers flowing into Chesapeake Bay; Jackson's father had been freed in 1811 and during the War of 1812 ran the British blockade. According to an unpublished 1848 autobiography William Jackson “learned all the arts of steamboating from the kitchen to the cabins from there to the machinery,” and until Nat Turner's 1831 insurrection Jackson worked in the barrooms of the steamers and freighters that traveled between Norfolk and both Baltimore and Charleston. Jackson's father, stung by laws curtailing the assembly of free blacks after the Turner revolt, went to Philadelphia to find shelter for the family, and his son followed in 1832.

From 1834 to 1835 Jackson served in the U.S. Navy onboard the sloop Vandalia ...

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Sara Bagby

Baptist minister, and activist, was born in Mashulaville, Mississippi, to Allen and Julia (Ruth) Jernigan. He married Willie A. Stennis on 15 October 1889, with whom he had four children: Lottie R., Rosabell, Gertrude J., and Mattie. He married a second wife upon the death of the first. Jernigan attended school at Meridian Academy, and then taught in the public schools for five years. Jernigan received a BA degree from Jackson College in Mississippi.

In 1906, Jernigan became the pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, where he served until 1912. Jernigan actively opposed the institution of Jim Crow laws dictating segregation in the newly formed state of Oklahoma in 1907. As a result of Jernigan and others' efforts, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the case of Quinn v. United States in 1915 to outlaw the ...

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Patricia J. Thompson

Methodist minister, antislavery activist, and chaplain in the Civil War, was born in Norfolk, Connecticut, the son of former slaves, Jupiter and Fannie Mars.

Since his parents had escaped from their master, a Presbyterian minister, prior to his birth, John N. Mars grew up as a free man and was able to obtain six months of formal schooling. His brother James, however, born before their parents escape, remained a slave until his twenty-first birthday.

At age nineteen Mars left Connecticut and traveled to Spencertown and Ghent, New York, where he lived and worked for a number of years. Around 1824 he married Silvia Gordon and they had two sons, John S. (born c. 1832) and George (born c. 1835).

While living in the area Mars was converted in the Methodist Episcopal Church MEC and soon began to experience a call to preach He ...

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Geoffrey Gneuhs

Plummer, Henry Vinton (31 July 1844–08 February 1906), Baptist clergyman and U.S. Army chaplain, was born in Prince George’s County, Maryland, the son of Adam Francis Plummer and Emily Saunders. His parents were slaves on “Goodwood,” the plantation of George H. Calvert, a direct descendant of Lord Baltimore. When he was still young, he was sold to people living in Washington, D.C., and then to Colonel Thompson in Howard County, Maryland.

After the outbreak of the Civil War in the spring of 1861, Maryland, although a slave state, remained in the Union. Exercising extra-legal powers, President Abraham Lincoln placed parts of Maryland under martial law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus arguing that the Constitution did not provide for procedures to address a rebellion and secession and thus necessitated extraordinary measures With tensions high and rebels making incursions into Maryland in the spring of ...

Article

Geoffrey Gneuhs

Baptist clergyman and U.S. Army chaplain, was born in Prince George's County, Maryland, the son of Adam Francis Plummer and Emily Saunders. His parents were slaves on “Goodwood,” the plantation of George H. Calvert, a direct descendant of Lord Baltimore. When he was still young, Henry was sold to people living in Washington, D.C., and then to Colonel Thompson in Howard County, Maryland.

After the outbreak of the Civil War in the spring of 1861, Maryland, although a slave state, remained in the Union. Exercising extralegal powers, President Abraham Lincoln placed parts of Maryland under martial law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the Constitution did not provide for procedures to address a rebellion and secession and thus necessitated extraordinary measures. With tensions high and rebels making incursions into Maryland, in the spring of 1862 Plummer managed to escape from the ...

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Frank N. Schubert

George W. Prioleau was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to L. S. and Susan Prioleau, who were slaves. He graduated from Claflin College, Orangeburg, South Carolina, in 1875, and taught in the public primary schools of Lyons Township, Orangeburg County. In 1879 he joined the Columbia, South Carolina, Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), of which his father was a pastor at St. Mathews, just north of Orangeburg. His first pastorate was at Double Springs Mission, Laurens County. In 1880 the Columbia Conference sent him to Wilberforce University in Ohio, where he enrolled in the Theological Department. After his 1884 graduation, Prioleau served churches in Hamilton and Troy, Ohio. In 1888 he was appointed professor of theology and homiletics at Wilberforce. After the Theological Department became Payne Theological Seminary, he occupied the chair of historical and pastoral theology (1890–1894). In 1890 he ...

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Alan K. Lamm

Buffalo Soldier, U.S. Army chaplain, and African Methodist Episcopal (AME) pastor, was born a slave in Charleston, South Carolina, to L. S. and Susan Prioleau. After the Civil War he was educated at Charleston's public schools and Avery Institute. He then entered Claflin College in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and in the winter months taught school at the Lyons Township in Orangeburg County. During the same period he joined the AME Church at St. Matthews, South Carolina, where his father served as pastor. Young Prioleau assisted his father and was eventually ordained.

After completing his education at Claflin in 1875, Prioleau served as pastor of the Double Springs Mission in Laurens County, South Carolina. In 1880 he entered Wilberforce University in Ohio where he pursued the bachelor of divinity degree He helped pay for his studies by working as a farmhand in nearby Green and Clark counties ...

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 ...

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Charles Rosenberg

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church minister, was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the third of four sons and one daughter of Rev. William Drew Robeson, at that time minister of Witherspoon Presbyterian Church, and Maria Louisa Bustill Robeson. Two of the couple's seven children died in infancy. Named for his paternal grandfather, Benjamin Robeson was the only child at home in 1904 when his mother had a fatal accident caused by a hot coal spilling out of the stove, setting her dress on fire. According to Robeson's daughter, years later the sight of a flame still upset him.

In his late teens Robeson enrolled at Biddle University (later Johnson C. Smith), in Charlotte, North Carolina, affiliated at the time with the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Several years earlier Robeson's father had resigned the pulpit at Witherspoon Presbyterian, and in 1910 became pastor of ...