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Congolese Protestant minister, was born near the town of Becimbola, located not far from the town of Lotumbe in the northwest Equateur region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite his major role as the head of the Église du Christ de Zaïre (ECZ), the church created at the behest of Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1970 that he presided over for roughly three decades, no single academic study has seriously considered his career. Most written sources have come from his host of detractors, further complicating understanding his life and controversial role as a religious leader. Bokeleale met a Congolese minister named Jean Bomenge in 1937 while the young man was organizing a party Bomenge convinced Bokeleale to enter the Disciples of Christ mission school at the town of Lotumbe not far from the provincial capital of Mbandaka The boy wanted to socially advance through acquiring literacy ...


Nigerian religious leader, was born sometime between 1882 and 1885, most likely in Obonoma, a small Kalabari town in the Niger Delta region. Obonoma, in present-day Nigeria, was the home of his mother Abarigania, although some people suggested he was actually born in the nearby town of Bakana. Obonoma was known in the late nineteenth and twentieth century as a center of indigenous spirituality and the home of a powerful deity known as Oyu or Ogu. Braide was raised in Bakana, the home of his father Daketima Braide, a member of the Marian Briade house. As an adolescent, he belonged to the entourage of the paramount chief of Bakana.

Braide also shared the indigenous polytheistic beliefs of his parents and may have been initiated into the service of the deity Ogu by his mother It is unclear how or when Braide abandoned these older traditions and became a convert ...


Julia Sun-Joo Lee

slave and minister, was born in Maryland. The names of his parents are unknown. For the first twenty-five years of his life Cooper was known as “Notly.” He escaped to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, around 1800 and took the name John Smith. Employed at a lumberyard, he married a free black woman and had four children. Around this time Cooper's identity was betrayed by a friend. He was separated from his family and sent to Washington, D.C., to be sold at auction. He managed to escape and, with the help of a friend, return to Philadelphia, where he was reunited with his family. Still in danger of recapture, Cooper concealed himself at the home of a Quaker, where he stayed for a week while his master attempted to locate him.

Cooper fled to New Jersey where he was hired by a farmer His whereabouts were again discovered and Cooper escaped by ...


Jeremy Rich

early Congolese Protestant, skilled translator, and author, was born to a Kikongo-speaking family in the town of Padwa, located in northern Angola. At a very young age, Dundulu became the ward of his powerful uncle Tulante Mbidi. Dundulu’s uncle was the chief of the village of Lemvo and a regionally renowned ivory and slave trader. This territory was under the domain of the Kongolese monarch Dom Pedro V, who brought the British Missionary Society minister William Bentley to Dundulu’s village in 1879 Bentley was trying to learn Kikongo and found Dundulu to be an excellent instructor With the consent of Tulante Mbidi and the Kongolese king Dundulu became Bentley s teacher and colleague He displayed his gift for language by quickly learning how to read and write Bentley called him Nlemvo after the name of his home village Bentley believed this word meant obedience in Kikongo but it later ...


Jeff Bloodworth

civil rights activist and minister, was born James Morris Lawson Jr. in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the oldest boy in a family of nine children. His parents, James Lawson Sr., a minister, and Philane Cover both were immigrants to the United States, Lawson from Canada and Cover from Jamaica. Lawson Jr.'s paternal great grandfather was a runaway slave who settled in Canada and took the last name Lawson to honor the man who helped him escape via the Underground Railroad. Thereafter the family always greatly valued education, and Lawson's father became one of McGill University's first black graduates before he moved to the United States to serve as a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church. Though the Lawsons moved throughout the country, they finally settled in Massillon, Ohio, where young James Lawson grew up.

Raised by a pacifist mother and strict father Lawson was converted to nonviolence ...


Anja Becker

civil rights leader and theorist and advocate for nonviolent resistance. The Reverend James Morris Lawson Jr. was an associate of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and was involved in many direct-action projects of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He is best known for his role in the Nashville movement.

Lawson's belief in nonviolence can be traced to his childhood. He was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Massillon, Ohio, the sixth of nine children and the oldest son. Lawson and four of his siblings obtained a higher education. His father, James M. Lawson Sr. the grandson of an escaped slave who made his way to Ontario with the help of the Underground Railroad was one of the first black graduates of McGill University He came to the United States as a minister of the AME Zion Church Although Lawson s father believed in self defense ...


Robert Fay

James Morris Lawson was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He served as a low-profile leader of the Civil Rights Movement, but his influence was profound and lasting. He first made his mark on the civil rights struggle by teaching the nonviolent techniques of civil disobedience of Indian activist Mohandas Gandhi during the Nashville, Tennessee, Sit-Ins of 1960. Lawson, an ordained minister and pacifist who in the early 1950s had gone to prison rather than fight in the Korean War had traveled to India as a missionary after his release and studied Gandhi s tactics firsthand A divinity student at Vanderbilt University when the sit ins began he was dismissed from the school when he refused to accede to the university s demand that he discontinue his organizing activities Lawson s willingness to accept expulsion from the seminary rather than cease his civil rights work moved its sympathetic ...


Zachery R. Williams

third president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Joseph Lowery was a student at Knox College in Tennessee from 1939 to 1941. Studying theology at Paine Theological Seminary in the 1940s, he went on to become an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. He served as pastor of Warren Street Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama, from 1952 to 1961. There, Lowery developed a social justice ministry that advocated for lower-income and middle-class African American housing. By January 1957, Lowery was invited by Martin Luther King Jr. to become a founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), where he remained through some of the most pivotal moments of the civil rights movement.

In 1962 Lowery gained national prominence as Montgomery, Alabama, city commissioners sued him, three other members of SCLC, and the New York Times for libel SCLC ...


Peter C. Murray

clergyman and civil rights leader, was born in Huntsville, Alabama, to LeRoy Lowery, a store owner, and Dora (Fackler) Lowery, a teacher. Born in the era of Jim Crow, Lowery early had to learn the harsh reality of discrimination against African Americans in Alabama. Lowery grew up with the nurturing influence of the black church, especially Methodism. One of his great grandfathers, Echols Lowery, had founded the local Huntsville Methodist Church and his mother's family included several African Methodist Episcopal Church ministers. In 1928 he began his schooling and in 1936 he enrolled in high school at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College's (A&M) laboratory school. After graduating from high school in 1939, Lowery attended Knoxville College and Alabama A&M before transferring to Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, and graduating in 1943 with a BA in Sociology His first job out of college was as ...


Leyla Keough

Despite his lack of formal education, Robert Wedderburn possessed a flair for inciting political action with fiery speeches and eccentric burlesque. He is best known as a follower of the underground millenarian and land-reform advocate Thomas Spence. In Spencean radicalism, Wedderburn found a way to express the disaffection he had experienced throughout his life.

Wedderburn was born in Kingston, Jamaica. His father, a plantation owner, sold his mother while she was still pregnant because of her “troublemaking,” and he later rejected Robert's pleas for financial assistance. Wedderburn was reared by his maternal grandmother, “Talkee Amy.” A noted preacher, she instilled in Wedderburn a predilection for proselytizing. He joined the navy at seventeen and arrived in England in 1778 Like many black sailors he was refused his wages by the British government Although he found work as a tailor his trade skills were devalued by mechanization ...