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Kerima M. Lewis

The African Methodist Episcopal Church Review (AME Church Review) has the distinction of being the oldest magazine owned and published by African Americans. The denomination's first periodical, the African Methodist Episcopal Church Magazine, appeared in September 1841. The General Conference that met in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1884 changed the name of this periodical to the AME Church Review. The AME Church saw a need for a scholarly magazine to complement its Christian Recorder, which had been published as a weekly newspaper since 1852. Headquarters for the magazine was set up in Philadelphia, and Bishop Benjamin Tucker Tanner was appointed the first editor-manager.

As a quarterly magazine the Review was not limited to the news and business of the AME Church but provided thought-provoking, intellectual, and scholarly articles. The first issue of the AME Church Review appeared in July 1884 with the lead ...

Article

Ralph E. Luker

Methodist educator and theologian, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Edward Bowen and Rose Simon. John's father was a carpenter from Maryland who was enslaved when he moved to New Orleans. After purchasing his own freedom, Edward Bowen bought that of his wife and son in 1858 and served in the Union army during the Civil War. After the war, young J. W. E. Bowen studied at the Union Normal School in New Orleans and at New Orleans University, which was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church for the education of freedmen. Bowen received a bachelor's degree with the university's first graduating class in 1878. Eight years later, New Orleans University awarded him a master's degree. From 1878 to 1882 Bowen taught mathematics and ancient languages at Central Tennessee College in Nashville.

In 1882 Bowen began theological studies at Boston University While he was ...

Article

Frederick V. Mills

Episcopal clergyman, was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, the son of George Freeman Bragg Sr. and Mary Bragg (maiden name unknown). He was two years old when the family moved to Petersburg, Virginia, where he studied at the elementary school and at St. Stephen's Parish and Normal School. His family helped found St. Stephen's Church for Negroes in 1867. At age six he was employed as a valet by John Hampden Chamberlayne, editor of the Petersburg Index. In 1879 he entered a school founded by Major Giles B. Cooke, a former chaplain on Robert E. Lee's staff; the school had become a branch of Virginia Theological Seminary. The next year he was suspended for not being “humble” but was appointed a page in the Virginia legislature by the Readjuster Party. After a severe case of typhoid fever and a period of teaching school in 1885 ...

Article

Sandy Dwayne Martin

Edward McKnight Brawley was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of free African American parents, Ann L. (maiden name unknown) and James M. Brawley. Brawley's parents took a keen interest in the education and professional development of their son, providing him private schooling in Charleston, sending him at the age of ten to Philadelphia to attend grammar school and the Institute for Colored Youth, and having him apprenticed to a shoemaker in Charleston from 1866 to 1869. He enrolled as the first theological student at Howard University for a few months in 1870; he transferred to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania in January 1871. The first African American student at Bucknell, Brawley completed his education with the encouragement and financial support of a white couple named Griffith and his own work teaching vocal music and preaching during school vacations The white Baptist church in ...

Article

Sandy Dwayne Martin

Baptist minister, educator, and editor, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of free African American parents, Ann L. (maiden name unknown) and James M. Brawley. Brawley's parents took a keen interest in the education and professional development of their son, providing him private schooling in Charleston, sending him at the age of ten to Philadelphia to attend grammar school and the Institute for Colored Youth, and apprenticing him to a shoemaker in Charleston from 1866 to 1869. He enrolled as the first theological student at Howard University for a few months in 1870 but then transferred to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in January 1871 The first African American student at Bucknell Brawley completed his education with the encouragement and financial support of a white couple named Griffith and with his own work teaching vocal music and preaching during school vacations The white Baptist church ...

Article

Marlene L. Daut

escaped slave, navy landsman, and U.S. Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1841 of unknown parentage. Brown was a slave in Mississippi on a cotton plantation, and nothing is known of his childhood or to whom he belonged. In the early 1860s, at the start of the Civil War, Brown ran away from his master on a skiff that eventually managed to reach a Union ship stationed on the Mississippi River. This encounter with the navy probably accounts for his subsequent enlistment. The navy was a likely choice for an escaped slave; many escaped slaves, as well as free blacks from the North, were often drawn to the service because of its better pay and purported fairer treatment of blacks. Brown enlisted in the Union navy on 18 March 1863 under the title 1st Class Boy and was officially described as a Contraband Negro five ...

Article

Aldeen L. Davis

Alexander G. Clark was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania. His father, John Clark, had been freed by his Irish master; his mother, Rebecca (Darnes) Clark, was said to have been a full-blooded African. Alexander received a limited education in Washington County and in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was sent in 1839 to live with an uncle. He learned barbering, worked as a bartender on the steamer George Washington, and in May 1842 went to Muscatine, Iowa, where he opened a barbershop. He later contracted with steamboats to supply them with wood. Investing his money wisely, he purchased real estate and became a wealthy man. He devoted most of the rest of his life to the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), Prince Hall Masonry, the Republican Party, civil rights movements, and the Chicago Conservator which he edited He graduated from the University of Iowa Law ...

Article

Larvester Gaither

clergyman, And Pearl (b. 7 December 1948), author, journalist, and playwright. Albert Buford Cleage was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where his father was a distinguished physician. Despite his upper-class origins, young Cleage gravitated toward issues of social justice and civil rights. At the age of thirty-one he received his BA from Wayne State University in Detroit and a divinity degree from Oberlin Graduate School of Theology a year later. Initially Cleage was committed to integration. In 1943 he was ordained in the Congregational Church and soon after became interim pastor at the integrated San Francisco Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, a congregation cofounded by the renowned African American theologian Howard Thurman (1900–1981 But he became disillusioned by the social inequality within the congregation particularly toward the church s Japanese American members who had been removed from their homes ...

Article

Cassandra L. McKay

religious civil rights leader, and Charles Cobb Jr. (b. 23 June 1943), civil rights activist and journalist. The Reverend Dr. Charles Earl Cobb Sr. was born in Durham, N.C., in 1916 and graduated from North Carolina College. He received his bachelor of divinity degree from Howard University, a master's in theology from Boston University, and a doctor of divinity degree from Huston-Tillotson College in Austin, Texas. In 1966, Cobb became the first executive director of the United Church of Christ's Commission for Racial Justice. The defining moment in his tenure as the executive director was brought about by his advocacy for the Wilmington Ten. In 1971, ten civil rights activists were charged with arson and conspiracy in Wilmington, North Carolina. Cobb was instrumental in getting his denomination to support the Wilmington Ten, and the convictions were eventually overturned.

Understanding the need for collaboration Cobb founded the ...

Article

Dorothy Drinkard-Hawkshawe

Levi Jenkins Coppin was born in Frederick, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore. His parents, Jane Lilly and John Coppin, were free people; therefore, he and his three brothers and three sisters were born free. Coppin's mother was a very religious woman who had a profound influence on his life. In addition to giving him religious training, she taught him to read and write. Although it was against a state law before the end of the Civil War (1861–1865 to educate blacks his mother held classes secretly in her home at night and on Sunday mornings before church Coppin assisted his mother in this task As a teenager he had a reputation for being able to read and write and boys went to him to have their love letters written For this service he charged ten cents a letter and according to Coppin they gladly paid Coppin ...

Article

Diane L. Barnes

Samuel Eli Cornish was born free in Sussex County, Delaware. At the age of twenty Cornish traveled to Philadelphia, where he trained for the ministry under John Gloucester, the founder of the First African Presbyterian Church, and was licensed on probationary status in 1819. After briefly working as a missionary among the enslaved population of Maryland's Eastern Shore, in 1821 Cornish settled in New York City, where he served as a missionary among black residents. Formally ordained in 1822, Cornish established the first African American Presbyterian congregation in New York, at the New Demeter Street Presbyterian Church. Two years later he married Jane Livingston, with whom he would have four children.

In 1827 Cornish became the founding editor of Freedom's Journal, the first newspaper in the United States edited by African Americans. Along with his coeditor, John Brown Russwurm, Cornish used Freedom's Journal to ...

Article

Graham Russell Hodges

Samuel Eli Cornish was born in Sussex County, Delaware, the son of free black parents. Cornish was educated after 1815 in Philadelphia, where he studied for the ministry with John Gloucester, pastor of the First African Presbyterian Church. During Gloucester's illness, Cornish served as minister to the church for a year. In this brief tenure Cornish learned much about the tenuous finances of black churches, knowledge that would serve him later. Cornish gained a probationary license to preach from the Presbyterian synod in 1819. He then spent six months as missionary to slaves on Maryland's Eastern Shore, where his license gave him greater credibility than most black preachers enjoyed. In 1821 he moved to New York City where he worked in the blighted ghetto around Bancker Street and organized the first black Presbyterian congregation in New York the New Demeter Street Presbyterian Church Ordained in ...

Article

Graham Russell Hodges

clergyman and newspaper editor, was born in Sussex County, Delaware, the son of free black parents. Cornish was educated after 1815 in Philadelphia, where he studied for the ministry with John Gloucester, pastor of the First African Presbyterian Church. During Gloucester's illness, Cornish served as minister to the church for a year. In this brief tenure Cornish learned much about the tenuous finances of black churches, knowledge that would serve him later. Cornish gained a probationary license to preach from the Presbyterian synod in 1819. He then spent six months as missionary to slaves on Maryland's Eastern Shore, where his license gave him greater credibility than most black preachers enjoyed. In 1821 he moved to New York City where he worked in the blighted Lower East Side ghetto around Bancker Street and organized the first black Presbyterian congregation in New York the New Demeter Street Presbyterian Church ...

Article

William C. Fischer

journalist, poet, and clergyman, was born in Chain Lake Settlement, Cass County, Michigan, a colony first settled by fugitive slaves in the 1840s. His parents were James Richard Carruthers (the spelling was later changed by Corrothers), a black soldier in the Union army, and Maggie Churchman, of French and Madagascan descent, who died when Corrothers was born. Corrothers was legally adopted by his paternal grandfather, a pious and respected man of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish origins, who raised young Corrothers in relative poverty. They lived in several roughneck towns along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, where Corrothers attended school and became aware of racial hostility. When he was just a boy family members introduced him to a rich vein of African American folk tales that he would later draw upon for a number of his dialect sketches.

Working in his teens variously as a sawmill hand hotel menial coachman ...

Article

William C. Fischer

Corrothers, James David (02 July 1869–12 February 1917), journalist, poet, and clergyman, was born in Chain Lake Settlement, Cass County, Michigan, a colony first settled by fugitive slaves in the 1840s. His parents were James Richard Carruthers (spelling later changed by Corrothers), a black soldier in the Union army, and Maggie Churchman, of French and Madagascan descent, who died when Corrothers was born. Corrothers was legally adopted by his nonblack paternal grandfather, a pious and respected man of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish origins, who raised young Corrothers in relative poverty. They lived in several roughneck towns along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, where Corrothers attended school and became aware of racial hostility. In his boyhood family members introduced him to a rich vein of African-American folk tales that he would later draw upon for a number of his dialect sketches.

Working in his teens variously as a ...

Article

Sandy Dwayne Martin

Baptist leader and race advocate, was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, to free parents, Eliza (maiden name unknown) and William De Baptiste. Born in a slave state at a time when individuals were fined and incarcerated for teaching blacks, enslaved or free, Richard was fortunate to have parents who earnestly sought to educate their children and some relatives in their home, despite the law and heavy surveillance. In 1846 his family moved to Detroit, Michigan. Richard received additional education and for a time attended classes at the University of Chicago. Once the leading building and manufacturing contractor in Fredericksburg, William De Baptiste, following an unsuccessful partnership in a grocery enterprise, returned to the construction business. Richard became a partner in the business before his twenty-first birthday and served for some years as its manager. From 1858 to about 1861 he also taught black youth in the public schools of ...

Article

Frances Smith Foster

While details of Thomas Detter's early life are sketchy, it appears he was born in Maryland and educated in Washington, D.C., public schools. According to his father's will, he was to have been apprenticed as a shoemaker until his twenty-first birthday. Detter emigrated to San Francisco, California, in 1852, one of many African Americans lured by the economic prospects of gold and silver mining and the greater freedom of the western frontier. He quickly established himself as a community leader, becoming the Sacramento County delegate to the first Colored Citizens of the State of California Convention; serving on the State Executive Committee of that and other civil rights organizations; and campaigning in California, Nevada, Washington, and the Idaho Territory for public education, voting rights, and the admission of testimony by African Americans in court cases. Along with poet James Monroe Whitfield Detter was one of the first African ...

Article

John Langalibalele Dube was born near Inanda, Natal (in what is now KwaZulu-Natal province), in eastern South Africa. Dube studied at Oberlin College, in Oberlin, Ohio, and was ordained a minister before returning to Natal. In 1903 he was one of the founders and the editor of the first Zulu newspaper, Ilanga lase Natal (Sun of Natal). In 1909 he founded the Ohlange Institute for Boys and then a school for girls, both near Durban. The same year Dube helped convene a South African Native Convention at Bloemfontein to oppose the “European descent” clause in the draft constitution for the Union (now Republic) of South Africa, which would bar men of color from Parliament.

On January 8 1912, Dube was elected the first president general of the South African Native National Congress (which later became the African National Congress). He led the opposition to the 1913 ...

Article

David Killingray

Campaigning Christian evangelist, author, journalist, and Pan‐Africanist born in Dominica but educated in the neighbouring West Indian island of Antigua. An influential friend in Antigua was the Revd Henry Mason Joseph, later president of the African Association in London in 1897. In 1870 Edwards stowed away on a ship and over the next few years he travelled the world as a seaman visiting North and South America and Europe He landed in Sunderland and thereafter lived briefly in Edinburgh and Newcastle and worked with a group of black entertainers At some point he was converted to Christianity and as a Primitive Methodist worked as a temperance evangelist in Lancashire and Cheshire He had ambitions to go to Africa as a missionary but gravitated to east London where he ran a weekly Bible class for men and regularly preached in Victoria Park Some referred to ...

Article

Michele Valerie Ronnick

He was the son of David Henry Ferris (c. 1847–?) and Sara Jefferson Alexander Ferris (11 October 1847– May 1923) and the brother of Mabel Irene Ferris Williams (?–6 October 1924). His father was a Civil War veteran having joined Company E of the 20th Regiment of the US Colored Troops on 20 March 1865 when he was eighteen years old in New York. After studying at the Dixwell Avenue Grammar School, the Shelton Avenue and Gregory Street schools in New Haven, the thirteen-year-old Ferris entered the oldest public school in New Haven, the James Hillhouse School, and while there organized the De Yancey Guards, a colored boys’ militia group, which marched in New Haven’s Memorial Day Parade on 30 May 1888. After graduating from Hillhouse, he matriculated at Yale University in 1891 and earned his B.A. in 1895 having studied philosophy English ...