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Jernigan, William H.  

Sara Bagby

Baptist minister, and activist, was born in Mashulaville, Mississippi, to Allen and Julia (Ruth) Jernigan. He married Willie A. Stennis on 15 October 1889, with whom he had four children: Lottie R., Rosabell, Gertrude J., and Mattie. He married a second wife upon the death of the first. Jernigan attended school at Meridian Academy, and then taught in the public schools for five years. Jernigan received a BA degree from Jackson College in Mississippi.

In 1906, Jernigan became the pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, where he served until 1912. Jernigan actively opposed the institution of Jim Crow laws dictating segregation in the newly formed state of Oklahoma in 1907. As a result of Jernigan and others' efforts, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the case of Quinn v. United States in 1915 to outlaw the ...


Mars, John N.  

Patricia J. Thompson

Methodist minister, antislavery activist, and chaplain in the Civil War, was born in Norfolk, Connecticut, the son of former slaves, Jupiter and Fannie Mars.

Since his parents had escaped from their master, a Presbyterian minister, prior to his birth, John N. Mars grew up as a free man and was able to obtain six months of formal schooling. His brother James, however, born before their parents escape, remained a slave until his twenty-first birthday.

At age nineteen Mars left Connecticut and traveled to Spencertown and Ghent, New York, where he lived and worked for a number of years. Around 1824 he married Silvia Gordon and they had two sons, John S. (born c. 1832) and George (born c. 1835).

While living in the area Mars was converted in the Methodist Episcopal Church MEC and soon began to experience a call to preach He ...


Reynolds, Grant  

Christine Knauer

civil rights activist, army chaplain, and lawyer, was born in Delray Beach, Florida, the son of Frank Reynolds and Emma. He attended Hampton Institute (later Hampton University), an institution of higher education for blacks in Virginia.

When he graduated from Hampton in 1928, Reynolds intended to study medicine; however, because he lacked financial resources, he had to give up this dream. With the financial support of a white patron, Reynolds entered Michigan State University, but he was later expelled due to racial flare-ups. He continued his education at the Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, which wanted to integrate its facility and granted Reynolds a scholarship. Graduating in 1937, he became the minister of the Mount Zion Congregational Temple in Cleveland, Ohio. Little is known about his personal life.

With the onset of World War II, Reynolds joined the army in 1941 ...