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Dorsia Smith Silva

writer, educator, and preacher, was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Addie Mae Leonard, a teacher's aide. In 1990 Dyson was adopted by the auto worker Everett Dyson when Leonard married him. As a child, Dyson read avidly and enjoyed the Harvard Classics. His intellectual vigor earned him a scholarship to the prestigious Cranbrook Kingswood School in 1972. However, Dyson behaved poorly and was expelled in 1974. He then attended Northwestern High School and graduated in 1976.

In 1977, Dyson married his girlfriend, Terrie Dyson, who gave birth to Michael Eric Dyson II a year later. Due to the pressures of being a young couple, Dyson and his wife divorced in 1979. To help focus his life, Dyson became a licensed Baptist preacher in 1979 and ordained minister in 1981 with his pastor Frederick G. Sampson II s assistance He ...

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Raymond Pierre Hylton

minister, author, and educator, was born near Burgess in Northumberland County, Virginia, to Robert, a fisherman, and Maggie Ellison, a homemaker. Coming from an impoverished background, he received a rudimentary education and had to work at age fourteen as a farm laborer earning seven dollars per month. His first stroke of good fortune occurred in 1906 when he entered the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute (later Virginia State College and still later Virginia State University) in Ettrick, Virginia. Getting into Virginia Union University in Richmond was not so easy; there was initial skepticism on the part of its president, Dr. George Rice Hovey, who saw no academic promise in the young man. In 1909 Hovey reluctantly admitted Ellison to the Wayland Academy (as Virginia Union's high school program was then called), and he then went on to the collegiate undergraduate program, graduating in 1917 ...

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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 ...

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Deborah Bingham Van Broekhoven

scholar, preacher, and teacher, was born at the Colored General Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Annie Beatrice Moore Washington and James W. Washington. Raised with six siblings (Louise Hill, Helen Brown, Howard Moore, Willie Moore, Charles Washington, and Ray Washington) in the Austin Homes Project and at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Washington felt the call of God to preach in 1961 while attending a meeting of the National Baptist Young People's Union (Conversations, xxvii). In 1971 Washington married Patricia Anne Alexander, with whom he had a daughter, Ayanna Nicole Washington.

As a youngster from a working class family in a segregated city Washington s only source of books was a small library for colored After reading in the newspaper that Knoxville libraries were no longer segregated he visited the magisterial Lawson McGhee Library with its ...

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Richard Newman

James M. Washington was born April 24, 1948, in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Annie and James W. Washington. He was ordained in 1967 by his home church, Mount Olive Baptist, for the pastorate of the Riverview Missionary Baptist Church. He earned degrees from the University of Tennessee, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale University, where he received a doctorate in 1979.

Washington taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York, New York from 1975 until his death, being promoted to full professor in 1986. He was the author of Frustrated Fellowship: The Black Baptist Quest for Social Power (1986), A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King Jr. (1986), and Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans (1994 He held dual membership at Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn and the Riverside Church in ...

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Stephen Gilroy Hall

Born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, to Thomas and Ellen Rouse Williams on 16 October 1849, George Williams was the oldest son of five siblings. Given the lack of educational opportunities for African Americans in western Pennsylvania, Williams received little formal schooling. In 1863, at the age of fourteen, he enlisted in the Union army. After leaving the army in 1868, Williams applied for admission and was accepted at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1869. He dropped out, however, and entered Wayland Seminary, also in Washington. In 1870 Williams entered Newton Theological Institution outside of Boston. Upon graduation from Newton, Williams was ordained and then offered the pastorate of a prominent African American congregation in Boston, the Twelfth Street Baptist Church, in 1875.

While pastor at Twelfth Street Baptist Church, Williams wrote a monograph, History of the Twelfth Street Baptist Church He left ...

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John Hope Franklin

soldier, clergyman, legislator, and historian, was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Williams, a free black laborer, and Ellen Rouse. His father became a boatman and, eventually, a minister and barber, and the younger Williams drifted with his family from town to town in western Pennsylvania until the beginning of the Civil War. With no formal education, he lied about his age, adopted the name of an uncle, and enlisted in the United States Colored Troops in 1864. He served in operations against Petersburg and Richmond, sustaining multiple wounds during several battles. After the war's end Williams was stationed in Texas, but crossed the border to fight with the Mexican republican forces that overthrew the emperor Maximilian. He returned to the U.S. Army in 1867 serving with the Tenth Cavalry an all black unit at Fort Arbuckle Indian Territory ...

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Todd Steven Burroughs

historian, preacher, writer, newspaper editor, soldier, and human rights activist. Williams wrote two major works of history: A History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880: Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens (1882, two volumes) and A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865 (1887). His open letter to King Leopold II of Belgium (r. 1865–1909), criticizing the country's brutal colonization of the Belgian Congo, was a seminal human rights document of the nineteenth century.

George Washington Williams was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania. He ran away from home at the age of fourteen to fight for the Union during the Civil War. He was a soldier in Mexico before returning to the United States to serve in the U.S. Army's all-black Tenth Cavalry.

After receiving a medical ...

Article

George Washington Williams left school at fourteen and lied about his age in order to enlist in the Union Army during the Civil War. He later enlisted in the Mexican Army, where he quickly rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and then joined the United States Cavalry in 1867 where he served in the Indian campaigns.

In 1868 he enrolled at Newton Theological Seminary, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Graduating in 1874, he became the school's first African American alumnus. Immediately upon graduation, Williams was ordained as pastor of Twelfth Baptist Church in Boston. Fascinated with the church, he wrote an eighty-page study of its history. He left, however, after one year, and in Washington, D.C. started an unsuccessful academic journal about African Americans. Williams became pastor of Union Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he became a regular contributor to the Cincinnati Commercial under the ...

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Gloria Grant Roberson

George Washington Williams had a pioneering spirit throughout his life as a soldier clergyman, journalist, historian, lawyer, author, and state legislator. Often aided by influential social and political alliances, he made valuable contributions to the cultural enlightenment of black people. However, as an ambitious and abrupt young man, Williams's drive for success often antagonized those whose support he needed.

Williams was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, to Thomas and Ellen Rouse Williams. He had one older sister and three younger brothers, but little is known of his siblings—Margaret, John, Thomas, and Harry. In his thoroughly researched biography, John Hope Franklin noted that Williams was a “wicked and wild” child who spent time in a boy's shelter. Departure from home at age fourteen to join the military reveals young Williams's propensity for adventure. His positive adjustment to military life is evidenced in his reenlistment patterns from 1864 through 1868 ...