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Charles Rosenberg

a minister who helped consolidate the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church in the postbellum South, was born Jesse B. Colbert in Cedar Creek township, Lancaster County, South Carolina, the son of farm laborers Tillman Colbert and Mariah House Colbert. Neither of his parents could read, but they made sure their children attended school (1870 and 1880 Census, Kentucky Death Certificate). Colbert attended county schools until the age of eighteen and then entered Lancaster High School, originally called the Pettey High School after its founder and principal, Rev. (later Bishop) Charles Calvin Pettey, pastor of the Lancaster Courthouse AMEZ church.

After teaching school himself in South Carolina, Colbert entered Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, in January 1883, shortly after it was established by Dr. Joseph Charles Price, who served as president from 1882 to 1888. Bishop James Walker Hood recorded that Colbert ...

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Milton C. Sernett

bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church and abolitionist, was born Jarm Logue in Davidson County, Tennessee, the son of a slave mother, Cherry, and white slaveholder, David Logue. After David Logue sold his sister and mother to a brutal master, Jarm escaped through Kentucky and southern Indiana, aided by Quakers, and reached Hamilton, Upper Canada, about 1835. He tried his hand at farming, learned to read at the age of twenty-three, and worked as a hotel porter and lumberjack. It was in Canada that he added an n to the spelling of his name to distinguish it from that of his slave master. When creditors seized his farm in 1837, Loguen moved to Rochester, New York, and found employment as a hotel porter.

The black clergyman Elymas P. Rogers urged him to attend Beriah Green s abolitionist school Oneida Institute ...

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Paul A. Minifee

Jermain “Jarm” Loguen was the most famous “conductor” of the Underground Railroad in central New York during the antebellum period and served as a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church. Born to Dave Logue his master and Cherry a slave on a small plantation just outside Nashville Tennessee Loguen experienced the severe brutalities of slave life even witnessing the frequent bloody whippings of his mother At age twenty one he was hired out by his father s brother Manassah Logue to the Prestons the pseudonym given in Loguen s biography a white family of socially and politically conscious and well educated Methodists Unlike many southern whites the Prestons advocated the equality of races and held strong antislavery views For almost three years Loguen worked for this family and through several religious and philosophical discussions with them gleaned an enlightened perspective on the social dynamics between master ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Richard Newman

Born in Orange County, New York, James Varick was a widely influential free black in New York City at the turn of the nineteenth century. Although both his parents had Dutch Reformed Church connections, he joined the white John Street Methodist Church, but he and other blacks withdrew to create the first African American congregation in New York. A shoemaker by trade, he also taught school; participated in black Masonic, mutual aid, and anticolonization societies; petitioned for the right to vote; and was one of the founders of Freedom's Journal, the first black American newspaper.

The congregation Varick established grew into a denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AME Zion), and on July 30, 1822, Varick was elected its first bishop. The denomination, like the African Methodist Episcopal Church founded by Richard Allen kept Methodist theology polity and worship but in a black organization ...

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Sandy Dwayne Martin

Methodist leader, clergyman, and race advocate, was born near Newburgh in Orange County, New York, the son of Richard Varick. The name of his mother, who was a slave, is unknown. The family later relocated to New York City. With few educational opportunities for African American children growing up in New York City at the time, Varick by some means acquired very solid learning. Around 1790Varick married Aurelia Jones they had three girls and four boys While he worked as a shoemaker and tobacco cutter and conducted school in his home and church the ministry was clearly his first love Having embraced Christianity in the historic John Street Methodist Church Varick served as an exhorter and later received a preacher s license Racial proscription in the Methodist Episcopal Church during the latter part of the 1700s and early 1800s prevented Varick ordained a deacon ...

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Milla Rosenberg

Although historians have not verified his birth date, most agree that James Varick was born in 1750. His birthplace was most likely Newburgh, New York but he was raised in New York City A biographer of the Varick family the Reverend B F Wheeler states that Varick s father Richard was of Dutch heritage His mother whose name is not known was a woman of color Young Varick enjoyed some privileges given to black children in New York City at the time including a good school He became a shoemaker working from his home and shop on Orange Street where he lived for most of his life He also conducted a school in his residence According to Wheeler Varick did not marry until the age of forty eight some authorities say forty when he wed Aurelia Jones thirteen years his junior They had seven children four of whom ...

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Sandy Dwayne Martin

African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) bishop, civic leader, and author, was born in Chimney Rock, Rutherford County, North Carolina, the son of Hattie Edgerton and Edward Walls. His father died when Walls was only eight years old, leaving Hattie Walls, with the help of relatives and friends, to support and provide sufficient education for Walls and his three younger sisters. In 1899, at age fourteen, he entered the ministry. He was licensed to preach at the Hopkins Chapel AMEZ Church in Asheville, North Carolina, and began as an evangelist. He was ordained as a deacon in 1903 and received full ministerial, or elder, orders in 1905. After attending Allen Industrial School in Asheville, he transferred to the AMEZ-supported Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, where he received a BA in 1908 Five years later he received a bachelor of divinity degree from the denomination s ...

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Ralph E. Luker

African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) bishop and social reformer, was born in Bardstown, Kentucky, the son of Henry Walters and Harriet Mathers, both of whom were slaves. He joined Bardstown's AMEZ Church in 1870 and studied in private schools there from 1866 to 1871, when he left to work in Louisville as a waiter. Walters completed his formal education in 1875, graduating as valedictorian of his Bardstown school. During a year as a waiter in Indianapolis, he studied theology with an AME pastor, was licensed to preach, and, in 1877, was appointed pastor of a newly organized AMEZ Church in the city. In 1877 Walters married Katie Knox, with whom he had five children. After she died in 1896 Walters married Emeline Virginia Bird; they had one child. When his second wife died in 1902 he married Lelia Coleman of Bardstown; they had no children.

Walters rose ...

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Alexander Walters was born into a slave family, the sixth of eight children. Displaying academic promise, he was awarded a scholarship by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ) to attend private school in 1868. Receiving his license to preach in 1877, he began his pastoral duties in Indianapolis, Indiana. He went on to serve as pastor in Louisville, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee. After taking a church in New York, New York, he continued as a minister until he was consecrated in 1892 as bishop at the Seventh District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

Walters's contribution to civil rights activism began in 1898, when he and T. Thomas Fortune, the editor of the New York Age founded the National Afro American Council As president of this council Walters focused on several issues at the heart of current politics ...

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Kyle T. Bulthuis

tobacconist, sexton of John Street Methodist Church, and founding trustee of the African or Zion Chapel (later named “Mother Zion,” the first African Methodist Episcopal Zion, or AMEZ, church in the United States), was born on Beekman Street in New York City, the son of the African slaves George and Diana. At the time of his birth as many as one in five New York City residents were slaves, a percentage greater than any other British colonial area north of the Chesapeake. Two events in Peter Williams's early adulthood dramatically shaped his future. At some undetermined time, his owners sold him to James Aymar in New York City From Aymar Williams learned the tobacconist trade providing him skills that would one day make him one of the wealthiest blacks in the city Also as a young man Williams attended Methodist meetings and he converted to Methodism ...

Article

Born a slave in the New York City area, Peter Williams, Sr., joined a Methodist church and became sexton in 1778. When his master, a Loyalist, returned to England in 1783 the church s trustees bought Williams Williams firmly believed in equality and was upset when black members ...

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Graham Russell Hodges

Peter Williams Sr. was one of ten children born in New York City to George and Diana Williams, slaves of James Aymar, a prominent local tobacconist. Born in an annex to Aymar's cowshed, Williams often said, “ I was born in as humble a place as my Lord!” Encouraged by Aymar to attend services at the newly formed Wesley Chapel, later known as the John Street Methodist Church, Williams worshipped in the slave gallery. At the chapel he married Mary Durham, also known as Molly, who was an indentured servant for Aymar's wife and a legendary volunteer for Fire Company #11. She served hot coffee and sandwiches to the firemen and is shown in a famous painting pulling a fire truck through blinding snow.

During the American Revolution Aymar, a staunch Loyalist, fled to New Brunswick, New Jersey, taking with him his slaves and indentured servants. In 1780 shortly ...