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Joe M. Richardson

Jonathan C. Gibbs was born free in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Maria Jackson and Jonathan C. Gibbs, a Methodist minister. He learned carpentry as a youth and followed that trade until the Presbyterian Assembly helped him enroll at Dartmouth College in 1848. Gibbs, who was one of only two black students at Dartmouth, claimed that he had been rejected by eighteen colleges before being accepted. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1852 he attended the Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and pastored churches in Troy, New York, and in Philadelphia. While in New York Gibbs campaigned for the extension of black suffrage in the state. When he moved to Philadelphia in 1859 he became prominent in the local Underground Railroad. During the Civil War he joined the freedmen s relief efforts campaigned against segregated city streetcars encouraged black enlistments in the ...

Article

Henry Warner Bowden

Francis James Grimké was born near Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Henry Grimké, a planter, and Nancy Weston, a mulatto slave. As the second son of an illegitimate dalliance that was familiar to plantations such as Caneacres, young Grimké inherited his mother's status as servant. During the Civil War his white half brother sold him to a Confederate officer whom Grimké accompanied until the end of that conflict. The end of the war brought his manumission, and a benefactor from the Freedmen's Aid Society sent him to study at Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Hard work and natural talent brought Grimké recognition on the campus. A newspaper account of the young scholar's outstanding record also attracted attention from his white aunts, Angelina Emily Grimké and Sarah Moore Grimké who had been deeply involved in antislavery activities After learning of the existence of a previously ...

Article

Henry Warner Bowden

Presbyterian minister and civil rights activist, was born near Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Henry Grimké, a planter, and Nancy Weston, a biracial slave. As the second son of an unrecognized dalliance that was familiar to plantations such as Caneacres, young Grimké inherited his mother's status as servant. During the Civil War his white half brother sold him to a Confederate officer whom Grimké accompanied until the end of that conflict. The end of the war brought his manumission, and a benefactor from the Freedmen's Aid Society sent him to study at Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Hard work and natural talent brought Grimké recognition on the campus. A newspaper account of the young scholar's outstanding record also attracted attention from his white aunts, Angelina Emily Grimké and Sarah Moore Grimké who had been deeply involved in antislavery activities After learning of the existence of ...

Article

Charles Orson Cook

civil rights advocate and longtime pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. Francis James Grimké was born near Charleston, South Carolina, on 4 November 1850. He and his brothers, Archibald and John, were the children of a slave mother, Nancy Weston, and a wealthy white planter father, Henry Grimké. Their white aunts, Angelina and Sarah Grimké, were famous abolitionists who had left Charleston several years before to campaign against slavery and in favor of women's rights. When Francis's father died in 1852, the boy was placed under the care of his white half-brother, who eventually sold Francis to a Confederate officer. At the end of the Civil War he and his brother Archibald went north to enter Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. The other brother, John, settled in Florida, where he remained in obscurity for the rest of his life.

Quite by chance Angelina ...

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Claude Hargrove

Presbyterian minister and civil rights advocate, was born on 13 June 1908 to Albert and Annie Lee Hawkins in the Bronx, New York. He attended public schools in New York and, after graduating from high school around 1935, Hawkins enrolled in Bloomfield College in New Jersey, an affiliate of the northern Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterian Church founded Bloomfield College in Newark in 1868 as a German Theological Seminary for German-speaking ministers. The College moved to Bloomfield in 1872 and by 1923 became a four-year college with approximately 1,300 full-time students. Hawkins graduated magna cum laude from Bloomfield with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1936. At age thirty-five, in 1938, Hawkins earned a Bachelor of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Presbyterians had founded Union Theological Seminary in 1836 and admitted students from a wide range of Protestant sects. Since 1910 the ...

Article

Robert Fikes

minister, educational administrator, and civic activist, was born in Hayneville, Alabama, the son of Will Smith, a sharecropper, and Amanda (Tyler) Smith, a laundress. Valedictorian of his Miller's Ferry, Alabama, Presbyterian high school class, George worked his way through Knoxville College in Tennessee majoring in chemistry with a minor in biology and German. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, he was awarded his bachelor's degree in 1951, the same year that he married Irene Hightower; they eventually had three children.

Smith was taking graduate courses in education at Alabama State University while teaching high school in the rural town of Annemanie, Alabama, when a series of incidents of extreme racial brutality persuaded him to leave his job and his home state and enter the ministry, a career path that he had earlier rejected. In 1953 he enrolled at the Pittsburgh ...