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Anderson, Matthew  

C. James Trotman

Presbyterian pastor, educator, and social reformer, was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, the son of Timothy Anderson and Mary Croog One of fourteen children he was raised in the comforts of a rural middle class home less than thirty miles from historic Gettysburg On a typical day of his youth Matthew faced both the physical demands of farm life and the movement back and forth between two cultures One dominated by commerce and materialism was uncharacteristically open to the Andersons who owned lumber mills and real estate at a time when most black Americans were dehumanized and disenfranchised by chattel slavery The other was a culture defined by close family ties and Presbyterian piety At home Matthew heard Bible stories and dramatic tales of runaway slaves indeed religious piety and the pursuit of racial freedom were dominant themes in his life These early experiences inspired Matthew so ...


Asante, David  

Sonia Abun-Nasr

pastor and missionary, was born around 1834 in Akuropon, the capital of Akuapem, north of Accra in present-day Ghana. The son of Owusu Akyem, a chief of the royal Asona clan, he possessed high social status but was excluded from succession to political posts because of the matrilineal structure of Akan societies. He shared this fate with all so-called Akan princes, who were among the first inhabitants of the Gold Coast to convert to Christianity and receive a European education, thereby creating a role for themselves as a new elitist avant-garde in precolonial Ghanaian societies.

From childhood, Asante’s life was intertwined with the activities of the protestant Basel Mission, forerunner of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, which established itself in Akuapem during the 1830s. He was one of the first pupils to enter the mission school in Akuropon in 1844 and was baptized David at Christmas 1847 again as ...


Augouard, Prosper  

Jeremy Rich

was born in Poitiers, France on 16 September 1852 to relatively poor and fervently Catholic parents. He attended primary school in his hometown and encountered two priests from his neighborhood, Joseph Dubois and Louis Bernard. He fought in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871 and exhibited some of the fiery courage that marked his entire life. After the war the priests from his hometown, Dubois and Bernard, encouraged Augouard to enter the minor seminary of Sées. While studying there, Augouard was inspired by Antoine Horner, a member of the Holy Ghost Fathers religious order, to consider missionary work in Africa. Horner’s description of Catholic evangelization on Zanzibar Island affected Augouard tremendously and in 1876 he was ordained a Catholic priest.

After spending a short time in the French town of Cellule, in the Puy-de-Dôme region, Augouard moved to the Gabonese capital of Libreville in 1877 Bishop Pierre Marie Le Berre ...


Beman, Amos Gerry  

Clifton H. Johnson

clergyman and abolitionist, was born in Colchester, Connecticut, the son of Jehiel C. Beman, a clergyman. Nothing is known of his mother. He grew up and received a basic education in Middletown, Connecticut, where his father was pastor of the African church. A Wesleyan University student, L. P. Dole, volunteered to tutor Beman after the university refused his application for admission because he was an African American. Dole and Beman suffered ridicule and harassment from other students, and an anonymous threat of bodily harm from “Twelve of Us” caused Beman to give up the effort after six months. He went to Hartford, where he taught school for four years, and around 1836 he briefly attended the Oneida Institute in New York.

Beman was ordained as a Congregational minister in 1839. At about this time he married a woman whose name is not known. In 1841 ...


Blackman, Peter  

David Killingray

Pan‐AfricanMarxist and scholar. Blackman was born in Barbados and won a scholarship to the University of Durham, where he studied theology. He was ordained in the Anglican Church and went to the Gambia as a missionary priest, where he clashed with his bishop over differences of pay for white and black clergy. Having resigned from the Church, Blackman returned to Barbados, but then, in 1938, he settled in London. He joined the leftist Negro Welfare Association, of which he became chairman, and also the League Against Imperialism, being a major speaker on both their platforms. He also became a member of the Executive Committee of the more liberally inclined League of Coloured Peoples, and in 1938–9 editor of its then occasional journal The Keys, writing critically on colonial policy; he also gave evidence to the Royal Commission on the West Indies. In November 1938 ...


Boilat, David  

Hilary Jones

missionary, parish priest, and religious educator, was born in Senegal on 16 April 1814, the same day that Napoleon Bonaparte left France for exile on the Island of Elba. Two years later Britain ended its occupation of Senegal and returned the fortified island territories of Gorée and Saint-Louis to France. The island of Saint-Louis du Sénégal, founded by France in 1659 as a strategic site in the period of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, gained a reputation as a cosmopolitan Atlantic port city shaped by patterns of intermarriage between African women (Signares) and European administrators, merchants, and soldiers. The son of Marie Monté, a “free mulâtresse,” and Pierre Boilat, member of the merchant marines, David Boilat came from the small but growing class of mixed race inhabitants who closely identified with the Catholic Church and sought the privileges of French education despite their relative isolation from French culture.

In 1816 ...


Boone, Clinton Caldwell, Sr.  

Raymond Pierre Hylton

minister, author, physician, dentist, and missionary, was born in Winton, North Carolina. His father, Lemuel Washington Boone (1827–1878), was a prominent minister and politician, and one of the original trustees of Shaw University.

Boone received his early education at Waters Normal and Industrial Institute in Winton. From 1896 to 1899 he attended Richmond Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. In 1899, when the seminary merged with Wayland Seminary College of Meridian Hill in Washington, D.C., to form Virginia Union University and moved to its new Richmond campus at North Lombardy Street, Boone finished his senior year and became part of the university's first graduating class in 1900; he received the bachelor's of divinity degree.

During his final year at Virginia Union, Boone met Eva Roberta Coles from Charlottesville, Virginia, who studied at the neighboring African American women's institution, Hartshorn Memorial College, from which she graduated in 1899 ...


Boone, Eva Roberta Coles  

Sylvia M. Jacobs

teacher and missionary, was born Eva Coles in Charlottesville, Virginia. Nothing is known about her parents or her early years. She is sometimes confused with Elizabeth Coles, and her parents are often erroneously listed as John J. Coles and Lucy A. Henry Coles, who married in 1886 and went to Liberia as missionaries in 1887.

Eva Coles was one of the first young women to attend Hartshorn Memorial College in Richmond, Virginia. This institution had been established in 1883 by northern white Baptists as the world's first college for African American females (Spelman College in Atlanta did not become a college until 1924, and Bennett College in North Carolina was coeducational until 1926 Hartshorn was established by the American Baptist Home Mission Society ABHMS through the donation of Joseph C Hartshorn of Rhode Island as a memorial to his late wife The first classes at ...


Boothe, Charles Octavius  

Daniel L. Fountain

Baptist minister, missionary, and author, was born Charles Octavius Boothe in Mobile County, Alabama, to a Georgia‐born slave woman belonging to and carried west by the slave owner Nathan Howard Sr. Little is known of Boothe s Georgian parents but he proudly claimed that his great grandmother and stepgrandfather were Africans Boothe s description of his ancestors reflects his lifelong pride in his African heritage but he was equally effusive about the spiritual influence that these Christian elders had on his life His earliest recollections included his stepgrandfather s prayer life and singing of hymns and the saintly face and pure life of my grandmother to whom white and black went for prayer and for comfort in the times of their sorrows These early familial Christian influences were further reinforced by attending a Baptist church in the forest where white and colored people sat together to commune and to ...


Bouey, Harrison N.  

Kenneth C. Barnes

educator, clergyman, missionary, and community leader, was born in Columbia County, Georgia, the son of Lewis Bouey, a carpenter, and Maria, a cook. The couple had no other children. Bouey spent his early life in Augusta, Georgia, where he was apprenticed to learn the painter's trade and attended night school. He passed the examination to become licensed as a teacher and taught in the public schools of Augusta for two years. From 1870 to 1873 he attended the Baptist Theological School in Augusta, an institution that later moved to Atlanta and in 1913 was renamed Morehouse College. Upon graduation he moved to Ridge Springs, South Carolina, where he became principal of a school and taught there for two years.

Bouey's work as an educational and community leader brought him into politics in 1874 He was elected to a two year term as probate judge in Edgefield County ...


Bowers, Joseph Oliver  

Estelle Appiah and Margaret D. Rouse-Jones

a pioneering Roman Catholic priest who served in the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana) in West Africa and the Leeward Islands, West Indies, was born in Dominica on 28 March 1910. He was the son of Sheriff Montague and Mary Bowers. From an early age, he showed an interest in the priesthood. His father, who was a head teacher of the Massacre Government Primary School, had been the roommate of George James Christian at the Mico Training College in Antigua in the 1890s. Bowers’s father had told his son about Christian, who had migrated to the Gold Coast in 1902. Bowers had met Christian during one of the latter’s return visits to Dominica in 1922.

On completion of his secondary education in Dominica Bowers set out on his journey of self discovery He enrolled at the only seminary in the United States that accepted students of African descent ...


Broughton, Virginia E. Walker  

Charles Rosenberg

one of the first four graduates from Fisk University, school teacher, missionary, founder of the Tennessee and National Baptist Women's Convention, was born free in Nashville, Tennessee, to Nelson and Eliza Smart Walker. Her father had been enslaved in Virginia, but was allowed to hire his time, earning enough money to purchase both his own freedom and that of his wife. Moving to Tennessee, by 1870 he had accumulated $1,200 in real property working as a barber, while Eliza Walker worked as a dressmaker, supporting three daughters and three sons (1870 Census). Virginia was named for the state of her father's nativity, “which he never ceased to praise” (Broughton, p. 7).

At an early age she enrolled at a private school in Nashville, opened in the 1850s by Daniel Watkins, later pastor of the First Colored Christian Church. When Fisk School convened 9 January 1866 Walker ...


Brown, George S.  

Patricia J. Thompson

Methodist Episcopal minister, missionary to Liberia, and expert stone mason, was born on Newport Island, Rhode Island, the son of Amos Brown, an elder in the Baptist Church. When George S. Brown was two years old, he moved with his family to Windham, Connecticut, and two years later to Ashford, Connecticut, where he grew up. According to his Journal (p. 8) Brown finally found himself in Kingsbury, New York, in order to recover from the effects of many years of carousing. He earned his living by building stonewalls, charging $1/day and a night's room and lodging for every rod (16.5 feet).

In 1828 Brown was converted by some Baptist friends but soon came under the influence of the Reverend William Ryder, whom he describes in his Journal p 19 as a Holy Ghost man an exhorter in the Methodist Episcopal Church He finally was led to join ...


Capitein, Jacobus  

Susan J. Hubert

Jacobus Capitein was one of the first Africans to be educated in Europe, ordained in a Protestant denomination, and commissioned to return to his homeland as a missionary. Although little is known of his African heritage, Capitein was probably born in what is now central Ghana. Orphaned or otherwise separated from his parents, he was enslaved and obtained by Dutch traders when he was about eight years old. His enslavement ended in 1728, when his owner took him to the Netherlands to learn a trade. Capitein's tutors recognized his intellectual gifts, and with the understanding that he would return to Africa as a missionary, his theological studies were supported by Dutch patrons. In 1737 he received a scholarship to the University of Leiden, where he excelled as a student. Capitein completed his studies in March 1742 and was ordained in the Dutch Reformed Church in May. In July 1742 ...


Capitein, Jacobus Elisa  

Leyla Keough

Jacobus Elisa Joannes Capitein was one of the few educated Africans in eighteenth-century Europe. He became a Protestant minister at a time when many Europeans doubted that Africans had souls and thus questioned whether or not they could be converted to Christianity. Capitein was born in West Africa, perhaps in Elmina on the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana), where he was sold into slavery at the age of eight. The man who bought him presented him to a Dutch captain and trader, Jacobus van Goch, at Elmina. Van Goch named him Jacobus Capitein and took him to the Netherlands in 1728.

Capitein and his owner settled in The Hague, where Capitein learned Dutch. Van Goch acquiesced when Capitein expressed interest in a theological education. Capitein learned Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and biblical Aramaic, and in 1735 he was baptized. In 1737 he won a scholarship to study theology at ...


Capitein, Jacobus Elisa Johannes  

Grant Parker

Ghanaian slave, theologian, missionary, and first African Protestant minister, was born in present-day Ghana and sold into slavery during childhood. Two aspects of his identity account for his considerable fame (or notoriety): here was a black intellectual in eighteenth-century Europe and a former slave who argued in favor of slavery. His treatise addressing the question, “Is Slavery Compatible with Christian Freedom or Not?” concluded in the affirmative. He and his work were invoked on both sides of subsequent debates about slavery: some pointed to the central argument of the treatise, whereas for others the work, regardless of its stance, proved the intellectual capacity, and hence humanity, of black persons. Only recently has the work received detailed attention.

The chief evidence for Capitein s life is the preface to this treatise supplemented by letters and sermons held in various Dutch archives Having been orphaned by war or some other cause on ...


Carter, Eunice Hunton  

Faye A. Chadwell

attorney, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of the Canadian-born William Alphaeus Hunton, an executive with the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), and Addie Waites Hunton, a field worker with the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) in Europe. Carter's parents had three other children, but only Carter and her younger brother lived to adulthood. After the race riots of 1906, Carter's family left Atlanta for Brooklyn, New York, where Carter attended public schools. When her mother went to Strasbourg, which was at that time in Germany, to study at Kaiser Wilhelm University from 1909 to 1910, Carter accompanied her.

Carter attended Smith College in 1917, graduating cum laude with a BA and an MA in 1921 Her master s thesis was titled Reform of State Government with Special Attention to the State of Massachusetts Following in her parents footsteps Carter went into public ...


Carter, Eunice Roberta Hunton  

Kathleen Thompson

Eunice Roberta Hunton Carter was part of a generation of black women lawyers who actively sought positions of power in white mainstream political and civic leadership. She responded to the call for black women lawyers who would work toward racial justice and the protection of women and children. In the year 2000, the Economic Report of the President, issued each year by the White House, stated that, in her time, Eunice Roberta Hunton Carter was “a trailblazer for expanded labor market opportunities for women and minorities.” Her selection as the first black woman district attorney in the State of New York by New York County District Attorney William C. Dodge made her one of the “twenty against the underworld,” as special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey called his prosecution team Securing the appointment also made Carter a first among black women lawyers in visible and influential civic social and ...


Cary, Lott  

Milton C. Sernett

Lott Cary was born on a plantation in Charles City County, Virginia, thirty miles from Richmond, the son of slave parents, names unknown. His grandmother Mihala had a strong influence on Lott's early religious development. He married around 1800 and with his first wife (name unknown) had two children. Lott's master sent him to Richmond in 1804 as a hired slave laborer. He worked in the Shockoe Tobacco Warehouse first as a laborer, then as a shipping clerk.

Cary attended the predominantly white First Baptist Church, as did other blacks in Richmond. He experienced conversion in 1807 after hearing a sermon on Jesus and Nicodemus. Allowed to earn money by selling waste tobacco, Cary purchased his freedom and that of his two children in 1813. His wife had died by this time. Anxious to study the Bible, Cary enrolled in a night school taught by William ...


Cary, Lott  

Jeremy Rich

Christian missionary and promoter of African American settlement in Liberia, was born a slave in Charles City County, Virginia, United States, around 1780. Little is known of his early life, though his father was thought to have been a Baptist. In 1803, Cary’s master hired him out to work at the Shockoe tobacco warehouse in the nearby city of Richmond. Cary’s diligence and industriousness impressed his new employers, who began to pay him a wage after they had sent a set fee to Cary’s master. This extra money allowed Cary to save money for himself, so that one day he could buy his freedom and the liberty of his wife and two children. Although he accused himself of swearing often and carousing during his early years at the warehouse, Cary had a religious experience in 1807 and became a Baptist At this point he had never received any ...