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Dennis, Lawrence  

Steven Leikin

diplomat, preacher, and author, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Sallie Montgomery. Nothing is known of his biological father. His mother, however, was an African American, and Dennis was of mixed race parentage. In 1897 he was adopted by Green Dennis, a contractor, and Cornelia Walker. During his youth Dennis was known as the “mulatto child evangelist,” and he preached to church congregations in the African American community of Atlanta before he was five years old. By the age of fifteen he had toured churches throughout the United States and England and addressed hundreds of thousands of people.

Despite his success as an evangelist Dennis had ambitions to move beyond this evangelical milieu. In 1913, unschooled but unquestionably bright, he applied to Phillips Exeter Academy and gained admission. He graduated within two years and in 1915 entered Harvard.

Dennis s decisions to ...


Easton, Hosea  

Donald Yacovone

minister, author, and abolitionist, was born in North Bridgewater (later Brockton), Massachusetts, to James, a successful businessman, and Sarah Dunbar Easton. Easton'sTreatise on the Intellectual Character, and Civil and Political Condition of the Colored People of the U. States (1837) was the nation's first systematic study of racism and stands with David Walker's Appeal (1829) as among the most important writings by African Americans during the early nineteenth century. The seven children of the Easton family blended African, American Indian, and white ancestry. Thus, the concept of “race,” as whites began to redefine it in the early nineteenth century, possessed little meaning to the Eastons. Indeed, one of Hosea Easton's brothers married into North Bridgewater's most distinguished white family.

James Easton had been a much respected businessman in the greater Boston area and a Revolutionary War veteran and viewed ...


More, Hannah  

John Gilmore

Writer and anti‐slavery campaigner. Hannah More first became widely known as a dramatist, with her play Percy proving a great success in 1777. She later turned to writing on social and religious topics, and had a particular interest in the education of women. She was a long‐term resident of Bristol, and the extensive acquaintance that her literary work brought her included John Newton, Beilby Porteus, and William Wilberforce. In 1788 she published Slavery, a Poem, which, while including traditional Eurocentric assumptions about Africans, insisted on their humanity and right to freedom:

Tho' dark and savage, ignorant and blind,

They claim the common privilege of kind;

Let Malice strip them of each other plea,

They still are men, and men shou'd still be free.

The slave trader was denounced as a White Savage and More called on Britain to free her slaves O let the ...


Shorter, Susie Isabel Lankford  

Arthuree McLaughlin Wright

educator, writer, clubwoman, and religious worker, was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, to the Reverend Whitten Strange Lankford, pastor of the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and Clarrisa Carter Lankford. The eldest of five children, Susie Isabel learned the precepts of Christianity and the beliefs of the AME as she listened to her father's sermons. The Reverend Lankford had high expectations for Susie Isabel. He took her to Wilberforce University in Ohio, where she was taught by the talented instructors that America's first black college president, Bishop Daniel A. Payne of the AME, had assembled. In 1873, at age fourteen, she left Ohio when her mother died, and she assumed responsibility for overseeing her four younger siblings and the household.

The family moved to Baltimore when Rev Lankford was appointed to the Bethel AME Church Susie prepared meals and welcomed traveling ...