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David Michel

minister and Church of God in Christ leader, was born in Derma, Mississippi, to William and Mollie Patterson. One of four children, James grew up in Heath, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee. In Memphis he attended public schools and the Howe School of Religion, which later merged with LeMoyne-Owen College. On 4 July 1934 he married Deborah Mason, with whom he had two children, James Oglethorpe Jr. and Janet Laverne. A year later Patterson was ordained an elder in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and took his first charge in Gates, Tennessee. He pastored other churches in Brownsville and Memphis, Tennessee, and in East Orange, New Jersey, before moving to Memphis to found the Pentecostal Temple Institutional COGIC in 1941. Patterson remained a lifetime resident of Memphis, where the COGIC maintained its headquarters for more than a century.

As a local pastor Patterson became ...

Article

David Michel

minister and social activist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and during his childhood lived in Chicago, Illinois, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His Pentecostal mother was a nurse and his Muslim father a painter. Rivers's parents separated when he was three, and he was reared by his mother. While living in Philadelphia during his teenage years, Rivers joined a gang whose leaders constantly harassed him. In 1963 he responded to a message delivered by the Reverend Billy Graham through the Hour of Decision radio program. Consequently Rivers joined Deliverance Evangelistic Church, pastored by the Reverend Benjamin Smith. Smith helped Rivers get out of gang life and counseled him in many ways.

In 1968 Rivers won a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts College studies opened a new world for Rivers who had by then become estranged from Smith The young Rivers had observed the activism of the ...

Article

Adrienne Israel

church leader and organizer, was born Lizzie Smith in Phillips County, Arkansas, one of five children of enslaved parents, Lizzie Jackson and Mose Smith. Her father died shortly after her birth, leaving her illiterate mother to raise their children alone. Nevertheless, after the Civil War all five attended school, and by age eight, Lizzie had learned to read. When Lizzie was fifteen her mother died, forcing her to quit school and work as a washerwoman to support herself. In 1880, while living in Helena, Arkansas, she married William Henry Holt and gave birth to a daughter, Ida Florence. When Holt died, she married William H. Woods, who also died soon after they were married. In 1892 Robinson settled in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where she joined a Baptist church and where she and Ida lived together and worked as laundresses until Ida married Archie Baker ...