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David McBride

physician and public service and church activist, was born Leonidas Harris Berry on a tobacco farm in Woodsdale, North Carolina, the son of the Reverend Llewellyn Longfellow Berry, general secretary of the Department of Home and Foreign Missions of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and Beulah Harris. Leonidas acquired the desire to become a doctor at the age of five, when a distinguished‐looking local doctor treated a small wound on his foot. The young boy was impressed by this “miraculous” event. His aspiration to go to medical school intensified while he was attending Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1924 Berry graduated from Wilberforce University and went on to obtain the SB in 1925 from the University of Chicago. In 1930 he also received his medical degree from the University of Chicago s Rush Medical College Berry continued his medical training earning an MS ...

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Raymond Pierre Hylton

minister, author, physician, dentist, and missionary, was born in Winton, North Carolina. His father, Lemuel Washington Boone (1827–1878), was a prominent minister and politician, and one of the original trustees of Shaw University.

Boone received his early education at Waters Normal and Industrial Institute in Winton. From 1896 to 1899 he attended Richmond Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. In 1899, when the seminary merged with Wayland Seminary College of Meridian Hill in Washington, D.C., to form Virginia Union University and moved to its new Richmond campus at North Lombardy Street, Boone finished his senior year and became part of the university's first graduating class in 1900; he received the bachelor's of divinity degree.

During his final year at Virginia Union, Boone met Eva Roberta Coles from Charlottesville, Virginia, who studied at the neighboring African American women's institution, Hartshorn Memorial College, from which she graduated in 1899 ...

Article

Rochell Isaac

pastor, educator, and entrepreneur, was born a slave in Christian Country, Kentucky. Clark never knew his biological father. While Clark was still a baby, his father escaped from slavery. His mother, Mary Clark, subsequently married Jerry Clark, who would join the Union army in 1860. Charles Henry Clark remained a slave for a total of nine years, and it was at the age of seven that the overseer's wife took him as her servant. She taught Clark to spell and initiated his path to literacy, but the outbreak of the Civil War would separate Clark from his teacher. During this period, Clark's mother moved from Kentucky to New Providence, Tennessee, to await her husband, Jerry Clark, who was returning from the army. Mary Clark had difficulty financially supporting her family, since her only income at this time came from her eldest son, George W. Clark As ...

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Barbara A. White

fugitive slave, Baptist minister, and abolitionist leader on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, was born the son of his wealthy white owner and Mary, one of his father's slaves on a plantation in Virginia. No account has been found yet which reveals his father's name or how James Crawford himself was named. Though stories about how and when he escaped slavery are in conflict, all of them agree that his white half brother broke his promise to their dying father to free Crawford. Instead, Crawford was sent into the fields to work. His obituary in the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror claimed that he escaped the first time by running to Florida to live among the Seminole Indians for two years as a preacher The same account claimed that his half brother then the master of the plantation spent a fortune to recapture him and then strung him up by the thumbs ...

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Alexis Cepeda Maule

minister and politician, served thirty-six years (1943 to 1979) in the Illinois State House of Representatives for the 22nd District and acted as associate pastor at Chicago's Quinn African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Corneal was born on a farm near Vicksburg, Mississippi, to a white landowner and an African American former slave named Pearl Darden. After attending primary school at Sisters of the Holy Ghost, a Roman Catholic School, Davis graduated from Magnolia Public High School. At Magnolia there had been one teacher who taught all the subjects.

Davis attended Tougaloo College, a historically black institution near Jackson, Mississippi. Established in 1869 by the Home Missionary Society of the Disciples of Christ Tougaloo offered a first class liberal education to African Americans At Tougaloo he read the newspaper almost every day and participated in the debate society which would help his oratory skills in his later ...

Article

David Michel

minister and historian, was born one of six children to Elijah John Fisher, a Baptist minister, and Florida Neely in Atlanta, Georgia. His father later pastored the Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago, where he had moved his family. The young Fisher grew up in Chicago but was sent to Atlanta to attend Morehouse College where he earned the BA in 1918. He was immediately ordained, but worked for the YMCA as camp secretary. Fisher married Ada Virginia Foster, with whom he would have six children.

In 1919 Fisher returned to Chicago to take over the International Baptist Church. One year later he moved to Racine, Wisconsin, to pastor the Zion Baptist Church. In 1921 he published a short biography of Lott Carey, a pioneer black Baptist missionary to West Africa. In 1922 Fisher earned the BD and thus became the first black graduate of Northern Baptist ...

Article

Eric Gardner

activist and educator, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Nothing is known of his parentage or youth. He was probably the James Gilliard listed in the 1860 Federal Census of Stockton, California; if this is the case, he was a barber, his wife was named Charlotte (c. 1835– ?), and had a step-daughter, Mary E. Jones (c. 1848– ?). In the late 1860s Gilliard worked as a teacher and sometime-minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and spent time in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. He wrote several short pieces for the San Francisco Elevator—sometimes under his full name and sometimes using simply “J. E. M.”—and was noted by the editor Philip Bell as one of the weekly's best contributors (along with Thomas Detter and Jennie Carter). Gilliard was even occasionally noted as the paper's “associate editor.”

Gilliard lectured throughout California in 1870 ...

Article

Benjamin A. Jackson

Presbyterian minister, clinical and counseling psychologist, and educator, was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, to Edmund Taylor Gordon, a physician, and Mabel Ellison Gordon, a schoolteacher. At the time of his birth and during Gordon's early life there, Goldsboro, a small city in eastern North Carolina, was typical of southern locales, with a pattern of racial segregation and racial prejudice. Despite the segregation that he experienced, Gordon grew up in privileged circumstances. His parents, both educated professionals, were firmly ensconced members of the black upper middle class.

After completing high school in Goldsboro, Gordon attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. During his early college years Howard University suspended Gordon for a semester for not making proper academic progress. When he returned, he was lucky enough to find a mentor in the person of Professor Alain Locke the noted black philosopher and scholar who was ...

Article

John G. Turner

the son of Darius McKinley Gray (named for William McKinley, elected president in the year of his birth) and Elsie Johnson Gray. Neighbors in Colorado Springs introduced Darius Aiden Gray to the scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Christmas Day 1964, one day before his scheduled baptism into the church, the missionaries planning to baptize him informed him that African Americans could not hold the priesthood. For Mormon men in good standing, ordination into the priesthood is an expectation. The ban on persons of African descent holding the priesthood meant that the church’s black members could not hold positions of authority or participate in the sacred ordinances the church taught were necessary for exaltation into celestial glory.

Gray chose to be baptized despite the ban I went home and prayed he later recounted And I received a personal revelation an inspiration from God This ...

Article

Michele Valerie Ronnick

pharmacist, physician, man of letters, and licensed preacher in the British Methodist Episcopal Church and African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, to Stephen and Eleanor Jones Hartley. His mother, who was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, on 7 June 1830, was of Creole origin. She was confirmed at St. Michael's Cathedral, an Anglican church, on 6 January 1849, and moved a few months later on 27 June 1849 to Port of Spain. Her husband, whom she married at the Church of the Holy Trinity on 27 December 1860, was a merchant's clerk. A physician from Paris, France, named Louis Saturnin witnessed the couple's wedding and also the baptism on 5 February 1862 of their only son, Henry, who was Saturnin's namesake.

Not quite four years later, on 26 January 1866 Hartley s father died To make ends ...

Article

Allen J. Fromherz

philosopher, physician, and rabbinical scholar, was born around 1135 in that ornament of the world the city of Córdoba in Muslim controlled al Andalus In fact Maimonides would spend his whole life in lands under Muslim control mainly in Morocco and Egypt Also known as Rambam and Ibn Maymun he and his thought were fundamentally influenced by the Islamic and mainly Arabic speaking civilization in which he lived At the same time he had a profound knowledge of Jewish literature and scriptural commentary as well as Greek thought In this way Maimonides integrated the major historical and cultural traditions of the Mediterranean the Middle East and Africa Faced with powerful attacks on Judaism from Christian and Muslim scholars such as Petrus Alfonsi and Ibn Hazm attacks based on a use of Greek reason and logic Maimonides was able to respond with his own application of reason to Jewish theology ...

Article

Amon Saba Sakaana

Black doctor and activist. Harold Moody was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1882 and arrived in London in 1904 to study medicine. His mother, a dark woman, was aware of the liability of black skin in colonial Jamaica for she advised her son to make friends with those fairer than himself. Moody's father worked on the Panama Canal and returned with enough money to open a pharmacy. Moody was sent to a prestigious school in Kingston run by Sir William Morrison, and was then transferred to Woolmer's Free School until 1899. His scholarship was sound, and upon graduation he opened his own school, where he taught for some time. From his very early beginnings Moody was a devout Christian, becoming secretary of the Christian Endeavour Society at the age of 19. He also was a preacher at two churches in Kingston.

As early as 1912 Moody was ...

Article

Elizabeth D. Schafer

physician, was born in Winchester, Texas, the son of Pierce Moten, a farmer and businessman, and Amanda (maiden name unknown). His mother, who died when he was young, had planned for her sons to attend college. Moten studied in segregated public schools and pursued many interests, hoping to escape the sharecropper's life.

The New York Age editor T. Thomas Fortune convinced Moten's father to send Moten to Tuskegee Institute, and Moten enrolled there in September 1896. Expressing an interest in medicine, he was employed in the doctor's office and drug room. After two years Moten was recommended for a position in a Tuskegee drugstore owned by a white physician. He learned to fill prescriptions and earned a prescription clerk certificate.

Moten continued to work in Tuskegee's drug room “with my heart and hopes set on the day I would become a doctor.” In 1900 he graduated ...

Article

Kevin Barrett

clergyman, physician, and abolitionist, was born in slavery in Winchester, Virginia. The names of his parents are unknown. Although the scant records of his early life differ on the details, most sources indicate that while still a “youth” he ran away from his master and found refuge with a kindly family in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This household provided the moral and religious influences that shaped Thompson's commitment to physical and spiritual healing. In the evenings and winter months he attended common school, where he proved studious and ambitious. For a time he worked with a physician at Middletown Point (later Matawan), New Jersey.

Although he retained a lifelong interest in medicine, Thompson was resolved to become a minister. He studied theology privately with the Reverend Dr. Mills of Auburn Theological Seminary in Auburn, New York, and was licensed to preach in 1839 For several years he probably ...

Article

Kevin Barrett

Thompson, Joseph Pascal (20 December 1818–21 December 1894), clergyman and physician, was born in slavery in Winchester, Virginia. Although the scant records of his early life differ on the details, most sources indicate that while still a “youth” he ran away from his master and found refuge with a kindly family in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This household provided the moral and religious influences that shaped his commitment to physical and spiritual healing. In the evenings and winter months he attended common school, where he proved studious and ambitious. For a time he worked with a physician at Middletown Point (later Matawan), New Jersey.

Although he retained a lifelong interest in medicine Thompson was resolved to become a minister He studied theology privately with Rev Dr Mills of Auburn Theological Seminary in Auburn New York and was licensed to preach in 1839 For several years he probably worked as ...

Article

Kathryn M. Silva

educator, minister, industrialist, physician, was born Thomas Wellington Thurston Jr. in Moorefield, West Virginia, to Betty (Jones) Thurston and Thomas W. Thurston Sr., both of West Virginia. Thurston grew up in Moorefield and attended Romney High School before leaving to receive his theological education in New Jersey. According to an article featuring Thurston in Who's Who of the Colored Race, after high school, Thurston studied theology under Reverend J. A. Gayley of Princeton University. Thurston married Julia Lacey of Washington, D.C., in 1890. The couple went on to raise eight children.

Thurston began his career as an educator He moved from West Virginia to Fort Barnwell North Carolina and served as the principal of the Barnwell Normal and Farm Life School for Colored Youth His work as an educator later intersected with his career in manufacturing with his pioneering work in the textile ...

Article

Linda T. Wynn

a physician, minister, educator, university president, and business executive who had a distinguished career of service in many areas during his lifetime. Townsend was born in Winchester, Tennessee, to the Reverend Doc Anderson and Emma A. (Singleton) Townsend, both of whom were educators. The elder Townsend was not only a minister but also a principal and director of the Franklin County Negro Elementary Schools. Townsend's mother was a schoolteacher in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Townsend was reared in Winchester and received his formal education there; in 1891, however, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and enrolled at Roger Williams University. During his student days in Nashville, Townsend became active in church affairs: he served as organist in several Nashville churches, conducted Sunday school classes, and organized missions to hospitals and jails. Later, he joined the Spruce Street Baptist Church, where he met his future wife, Willa ...

Article

Kevin Ward

Ugandan Roman Catholic cardinal, was born on 15 December 1926, at Kamaggwa in the Masaka district of Uganda, the heartland of Buganda’s Catholicism. He trained for the priesthood at Bukalasa Junior Seminary, and from 1949 to 1955 he studied at the senior seminary of Katigondo. He subsequently spent two years at the Urban University in Rome.

The late 1950s was a significant time for African Catholicism—a number of bright young African ordinands completed their studies in Rome before returning to their respective countries to take up positions of leadership in the Catholic churches of independent African countries. Wamala learned to speak fluent Italian and Latin during these years. Wamala was ordained as a priest in Rome in December 1957 and returned to Uganda to work in the Masaka diocese under Bishop Joseph Kiwanuka. He was assigned to the Villa Maria parish. In 1974 Bishop Adrian Ddungu appointed ...

Article

Tedros Abraha

Eritrean Catholic bishop, lexicographer, and grammarian, was born in Hebo (Eritrea) on 11 April 1889 to Gebre Iyesus Gebre Medhen and Sellas Jegger. His grandfather, an orthodox priest converted to the Catholic Church by Saint Justin de Jacobis (1800–1860), was from a noble family of Gwela related to Emperor Yohannes IV and Dejazmach Subagades (1770–1831).

At the end of his training for the priesthood in Akrur and Keren, Yaqob Gebre Iyesus was ordained priest by Bishop Camillo Carrara on 30 April 1913. After his ordination, he worked as pastor in the parishes of Beraqit, Ginda, Akrur, and Segeneiti, and in 1918 he was appointed translator and adviser to Bishop Carrara for a period of three years He was also active in pastoral ministry in teaching and was in charge of censoring the publications printed at the Francescana Printing Press At the end of his term he moved to ...