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Christopher J. Colvin

South African religious and political leader, was born on 10 January 1931 in Cape Town, South Africa to Mike Boraine and Isa Blanche. He grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Brooklyn in an English-speaking household and had two brothers, both of whom were killed in World War II. As was typical for white families of his generation, his early years brought him into very little contact with South Africans from other racial groups, and the political consciousness in his family centered mostly around the divisions between the English and Afrikaner communities in South Africa. After completing tenth grade, Boraine left school and worked at a variety of odd jobs. His father died when he was eighteen.

In that same year after a childhood that was relatively nonreligious Boraine attended a Methodist youth camp and experienced a dramatic conversion His rise through the church was equally dramatic Within a year ...


Donald Yacovone

civil rights advocate, musician, and minister, was one of six children born to Earsey Bryant Current and John T. Current, a bank employee, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He grew up in Chicago and Detroit and credited the “outspokenness” of his parents and his grandfather the Reverend Gloster Bryant for his long career in the struggle for black rights (New York Times, 9 July 1997). Current's mother was an officer in the Women's Society of Christian Service, a black women's Methodist organization, and both parents played active roles in their local church. Gloster attended the Detroit Institute of Musical Art and in 1941 received an AB degree from West Virginia State College, near Charleston. In 1951, he earned a master's degree in Public Administration from Wayne State College in Detroit.

On 6 September 1941 he married Leontine Teenie Turpeau of Cincinnati whom Current had met at ...


De Witt S. Dykes

minister and registered architect, was born in Gadsden, Alabama, the second male and the fifth of six children born to Mary Anna Wade, a homemaker, and the Reverend Henry Sanford Roland Dykes, a lay minister in the Methodist Church (later the United Methodist Church), a brick mason, and construction contractor.

In the early 1900s the family moved to Newport, Tennessee, which was a racially segregated small town with a semirural atmosphere. Henry Dykes served as a circuit riding minister, conducting services on alternate Sundays at Methodist churches in three communities, including one at Newport, but earned enough to support his family as the head of a construction firm on weekdays until his death in 1945 Henry Dykes taught brick masonry and construction skills to not only his sons but also others By age fourteen Dykes had become a master mason by age seventeen he was a ...


Regina V. Jones

former slave, and itinerant Methodist minister, was born in Maryland and apparently never used a surname. Elizabeth did not relate the names of her parents or her siblings in the memoir she dictated at one hundred years of age. She did, however, reveal that her parents belonged to a Methodist Society and she recalled that every Sabbath morning from the time she was five until she was eleven years old her father read the Bible aloud to her and the rest of their family. At the age of eleven she was separated from her family when her owner sold her or her services to another plantation twenty or more miles away. Elizabeth ignored her overseer's instructions and visited her mother and family. Inconsolable over the separation from her family, her mother advised Elizabeth that she had “nobody in the wide world to look to but God” (Elizabeth ...


Randall J. Stephens

preacher, bishop of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church of God of the Americas, and Pentecostal leader, was born in Mountville, South Carolina, to sharecroppers, George and Martha Fuller. His father died when he was still a boy, and he was raised largely by his aunt, Ida Fuller Vance, and his grandparents, Richard and Mahulda Fuller. Like many other African American youths in the post–Civil War South, he hungered for a full education, and he walked five miles to his log cabin schoolhouse where he learned to read and write. The young Fuller developed a deep religious faith and became a devoted member of New Hope Methodist Church in Mountville, where he was converted under the ministry of the Reverend W. Burgess New Hope was one of the many Methodist churches that entered the region after the war and drew black members from Southern white dominated denominations ...


Steve Strimer

Methodist minister, abolitionist lecturer, and self-emancipated slave, was born to slave parents, Grace and Tony Kirkwood, at the Hawes plantation in Hanover county near Wilmington, North Carolina. About 1815 he was sold to a storekeeper from whom he took his surname. After his escape to Massachusetts, Jones became a tireless speaker on the antislavery circuit in New England. The principal source of information for his early life is his widely circulated slave narrative, The Experience of Thomas H. Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years. First published in 1850, his book went through at least nine printings.

Thomas succeeded in learning to read despite the disapproval of Mr. Jones, the storekeeper. Thomas was converted to Christianity around 1824. He attended services at a neighboring plantation against the objections of his irreligious owner. Upon Mr. Jones's death in 1829 Thomas began to ...


Charles Rosenberg

minister of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, was born Charles Wesley Mossell in Baltimore, Maryland, the eldest son of Aaron Mossell and Eliza Bowers Mossell, free African American residents of that city. Aaron Mossell was a skilled brickmaker. Charles moved with his parents and oldest sister Mary to Canada in 1853, where he and Mary completed the lower grades of public school. Aaron Mossell established his own business in Hamilton, Ontario, where the family's most famous son, Nathan Francis Mossell, was born, as well as the youngest son, Aaron Jr. and younger daughter Alveretta. By 1865 the family had moved to Lockport, New York, where by 1870 Aaron Mossell owned $2,000 in real estate, including his brick-making business and the family home, and $300 in personal property.

Mossell graduated from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1871 The same year he assisted his younger siblings ...


Sadye L. Logan

minister, civil rights activist, and state senator, was born in Darlington County, South Carolina. He was the youngest child of Charlotte Morris, a schoolteacher, and Milton C. Newman, an itinerant minister. Newman, who had three older sisters, was raised in the home of his paternal grandmother in Hartsville, South Carolina, after his mother died when he was six years old. His father's second wife, Serena a member of the Hamilton family of Charleston South Carolina was also a teacher Eleven children were born to this union Newman s white paternal grandmother and his biracial paternal grandfather owned a mill and two plantations in Hartsville South Carolina Unlike many other less privileged rural black families the Newmans held a vision of hope and progress and tenaciously clung to the goal of attaining higher education As a youngster Newman attended public school in Williamsburg County and ...


Fidelis Nkomazana

Methodist minister and pioneer of African theology, was born at Kroonstad in the Free State Province, South Africa, on 4 February 1925 as the third of six children of William Mabeleng and Rebecca Masetimela Setiloane. Setiloane attended primary and secondary school at Kroonstad and matriculated in 1941. He obtained a teacher’s certificate of education at Moroka Missionary Institute in Thaba Nchu in 1942 and taught in various South African mission and Bantu high schools in Heilbron, Saulspoort, Rustenburg, Ficksburg, Ventersburg, Kroonstad, and Maseru (Lesotho) from 1943 to 1948. He continued private studies through a distance learning program with the University of South Africa and demonstrated the indomitable spirit of a motivated achiever from his early life. His interest was mainly in the field of African studies, with a focus on Bantu languages and native administration; he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1947. In 1948 ...


Laura Murphy

writer and preacher, was born in Northern Neck, Northumberland County, Virginia, to Rachel and Charles, on the property of Thomas Langdon, on which they were enslaved. Over the course of her life, Smith s mother gave birth to eleven children and labored as a cotton spinner His father managed the Lancaster County plantation his owner had acquired through inheritance When Smith was a young boy he was injured while carrying lumber and remained crippled for his entire life because his owner did not think Smith s life was worth enough to call a doctor As a result of his disability Smith worked in the house with the women knitting and carding Later in his life he was apprenticed to a shoemaker which proved to be the source of his livelihood in all the places he settled For a brief time Smith was hired out to a ...


David Dabydeen

Englishevangelist, co‐founder of Methodism, and celebrated preacher against slavery and the slave trade. Wesley was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, and was an enduring challenger of slavery. He was inspired by the Philadelphia Quaker Anthony Benezet'sSome Historical Account of Guinea (1771), which also influenced abolitionists such as Thomas Clarkson and Granville Sharp. In consequence, Wesley produced a pamphlet entitled Thoughts Upon Slavery (1774 which dealt with the dynamics of the slave trade and the viciousness of slavery especially in terms of life on the plantations But even before Benezet and the publication of Wesley s pamphlet Wesley had opposed the slave system on moral human and religious grounds His sermons often evoked questions directed towards the slave traders The main issues raised involved matters of compassion sympathy and empathy for fellow human beings He was also an avid reader of slave accounts and ...