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David B. McCarthy

Presbyterianeducator and activist, was born Thelma Cornelia Davidson at Iron Station, North Carolina, one of five children of Robert James Davidson, a Baptist minister, schoolteacher, and principal, and Violet Wilson Davidson a schoolteacher mortician and community organizer Her grandfather six uncles and three brothers were all ministers as would be her future husband She grew up in Spindale North Carolina where her mother was a teacher and her father was principal and superintendent of Western Union Baptist Academy and later in Kings Mountain North Carolina where her father served as a high school principal and as the pastor of several local churches After her early years in public school she enrolled in Lincoln Academy a boarding school run by the American Missionary Society of the Congregational Church Just before her thirteenth birthday she enrolled in Barber Scotia Junior College in Concord North Carolina a school of ...

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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 ...

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Valerie A. Gray

college president, educator, and minister, was born Jared Maurice Arter in Jefferson County, West Virginia, the son of Jeremiah Arter, a slave and a miller by trade, and Hannah Frances Stephenson, a slave. When Arter was seven years old his father died in an accident at the mill. The plantation on which the family lived, the Little plantation, was located four miles from Harpers Ferry. In 1859 Arter witnessed the hanging of four men who participated in John Brown's raid at that city. This childhood memory sparked in him the desire to fight for equality; the schoolroom would be his battleground.

As a teenager Arter applied for a position as a bellboy for which he would have to pass a test demonstrating his ability to read numbers With help from his brother in law he mastered the skill sufficiently in one evening to pass the test This accomplishment ...

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Charles C. Stewart

Mauritanian religious leader and founder of a school, was the grandson of his namesake known as “Sidiyya the Elder” (Sidiyya al-Kabir) and was raised by his uncles in the scholarly setting of his father and grandfather’s camps in southwestern Mauritania. His father, Sidi Muhammad, died in 1869 during a cholera outbreak when Baba was seven years old only one year after the death of Sidiyya al Kabir This was a moment when his lineage the Ntisha it was one of the dominant ones within the larger Awlad Abyiri a clerical lineage group that during his grandfather s time had risen to be among the most influential political forces in the region of Trarza southwestern Mauritania Sidiyya the Elder had spent a dozen years in the Kunta campus of the Azaouad adjacent to Timbuktu in the early nineteenth century and he brought back to the village that he founded at ...

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David B. McCarthy

was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the fourth of five children of Nannie Beatrice Perry and Zacharias Banner. After attending Philadelphia’s Walter George Smith School and Central High School, he graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.A. in 1935 and from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) in 1938.

That fall Banner began teaching as an instructor at Bennett College, a historically black women’s institution in Greensboro, North Carolina. On 7 June 1941 he married Beatrice Vera Suggs, a 1935 graduate of Bennett College who had been an English teacher at George Eastman High School in Enfield, North Carolina. They had one daughter, Anne, born on 15 May 1947, and one son, William Perry, born on 29 May 1952.

Banner began further graduate studies in 1943 at Harvard University where he was awarded a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship He received his M A ...

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Joanne H. Edey-Rhodes

educator, industrial school founder, and Episcopal Church school field secretary, was born in Hurtsboro, Russell County, Alabama, one of thirteen children of former slaves, Jeanetta (Redden) and Augustus Battle Sr.

Battle's parents sent him to the district school when he was eight years old. He had not progressed far in his education when, at the age of sixteen, he joined his older brother, Augustus Aaron Battle Jr., and two sisters at Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. Only prepared to enter the third grade, he attended class with eight-year-olds. Wallace was so determined to move forward in his education that he completed three grades in one year. He remained in attendance at Talladega College from 1889 to 1898 In the later years of his college preparatory studies there he taught during the summers at Duke Station Calhoun County Alabama He also became involved with teaching in Mission Sunday ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Daniel Donaghy

was born into slavery in Roane County, East Tennessee. In his autobiography, My Own Life Story, Brown writes that his father was “at least seven-eighths Caucasian and possibly one-eighth Negro. His family record was never known by him or the general public.” His father worked as a carpenter, blacksmith, and utility man whose competence earned him the nickname “Handy.” He married Brown’s mother when she was seventeen. Brown noted that while she spoke little of religion in their home, she was a member of the Methodist church and believed that Jesus Christ was her personal savior. From an early age people called her “Aunt Clara” because her caring nature and service to those around her. Brown’s 1929 record of death lists his mother as Clarisa and his father as Handy Brown Clarisa gave birth to thirteen children only three of whom all boys were alive when Sterling Brown ...

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Boyd Childress

white soldier, minister, educator, and administrator. Horace Bumstead was a pivotal figure in the education of African Americans at the turn of the twentieth century. Born in Boston to well-to-do parents, Bumstead was educated at Boston Latin School and Yale, from which he graduated in 1863. He was commissioned as a major during the Civil War and commanded black troops serving in the Richmond and Petersburg campaigns in 1864 and 1865. After the war Bumstead graduated from Andover (Massachusetts) Theological Seminary in 1870, studied in Europe, married in 1872, and served a Congregationalist church in Minneapolis. In 1875 he joined his Yale classmate Edmond Asa Ware at Atlanta University to teach natural science and Latin; he was named interim president in 1886 and president in 1888.

Bumstead an advocate of industrial instruction as well as of traditional higher education for blacks ...

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Genevieve Skinner

Civil War veteran, preacher, and teacher, was born free to an English sea captain and an African American mother on a ship sailing on the Atlantic Ocean. When Angus was two years old, his father died, and Angus and his mother were sold into slavery in Virginia, and later taken to Kentucky. He spent a majority of his early years in Virginia and learned how to read prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, an illegal pursuit for slaves. In 1864, now enslaved in Kentucky, at the age of sixteen Burleigh ran away from his master and enlisted in the Union Army at Frankfort, Kentucky. Upon enlisting Burleigh was trained at Camp Nelson in Kentucky, which was one of the largest areas for gathering African American soldiers during the Civil War. Burleigh became a sergeant with Company G 12th United States Colored Troops U ...

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David B. McCarthy

Presbyterian minister, educator, and womanist ethicist, was born in Concord, North Carolina, the daughter of Corine Emmanuelette Lytle, a domestic and Avon saleswoman, and Esau Cannon, a millworker, both of whom were elders in the local Presbyterian church. Cannon grew up with three sisters, three brothers, her parents, and her extended family in the Fishertown community, a part of the rural, segregated town of Kannapolis, North Carolina, the home of Cannon Mills. Her earliest work was as a domestic, cleaning the homes of nearby white mill workers. At the age of seventeen Cannon graduated from George Washington Carver High School and then enrolled at nearby Barber-Scotia College, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1971 with a BS in Elementary Education.

In August 1971 Cannon enrolled in Johnson C Smith Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center ITC in Atlanta where Dean James H Costen encouraged her ...

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Eric Gardner

minister and educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of the six surviving children of Joseph and Amy Matilda (Williams) Cassey. The Casseys were both part of Philadelphia's black elite and politically active. Joseph Cassey, a barber, wig manufacturer, and moneylender who sometimes partnered with the black abolitionist and reformer Robert Purvis, had come to Philadelphia from the West Indies in the first decade of the nineteenth century, built a successful business, bought real estate, retired as a gentleman in 1840, and left an estate worth perhaps $75,000 when he died in 1848. Amy Cassey was the daughter of New York Episcopal priest Peter Williams Jr., for whom Peter Cassey was named; she married Charles Lenox Remond two years after Joseph Cassey's death. Joseph served as an agent for William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist paper Liberator and Amy was active in the Philadelphia Female Anti ...

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Although most blacks in North Carolina were enslaved at the time of John Chavis's birth, the Chavis family was legally free. This status allowed Chavis to pursue an education, which helped him overcome the social and political oppression that thwarted most blacks of his time. Chavis attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, graduating with high honors in 1801. His academic performance at Washington and Lee attracted much public attention because it contradicted the widespread belief that blacks were intellectually inferior to whites.

When he returned to North Carolina in 1808 Chavis founded a school for the children of white slave owners Chavis s school proved extremely successful and many of his students became highly influential citizens In addition to teaching white students Chavis taught the children of both enslaved and free blacks at night Chavis s commitment to the education of blacks greatly improved the social ...

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Theodore C. DeLaney

Presbyterian minister and teacher, was born in Granville County, North Carolina; the names of his parents are unknown. He grew up as a free black near Mecklenberg, Virginia. By his own account, Chavis was born free and was a Revolutionary War army veteran. Details of his military service and the events of his life immediately following the war are not known, but he began his studies for the Presbyterian ministry in 1792 at the age of twenty nine According to an apocryphal account one planter had a wager with another that it was impossible to educate a black man In order to settle their dispute they sent Chavis to the College of New Jersey now Princeton University More than likely Chavis s religious fervor and potential for scholarship attracted the attention of Presbyterian leaders in Virginia who believed a black clergyman might do a better job of evangelizing slaves ...

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Kathleen Thompson

John Chavis was born into a free African American family in Granville, North Carolina—a circumstance that alone made him historically unusual. He served, while a teenager, as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Early accounts of his life state that he attended Princeton University, then known as the College of New Jersey. The historian Edgar W. Knight, in preparing a biography of Chavis in 1929, asked that institution to confirm his attendance. Princeton replied that although they had no actual records to verify that Chavis was a student, they believed that he had been and listed him as a nongraduate. Scholars now believe that Chavis was a private student of the college president, John Witherspoon, until that scholar's death in 1794. In 1795 Chavis began studies at Liberty Hall Academy later Washington Academy and then Washington and Lee University in Lexington Virginia Although this was ...

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Mary F. Corey

Daniel Coker was born a slave in Frederick County, Maryland, the son of Susan Coker, a white indentured servant, and Edward Wright, a black slave belonging to the same plantation owner whose name is unknown. Daniel Coker was educated with his master's son, who refused to go to school without his slave. When Coker was in his early teens he escaped to New York City where he joined the Methodist Church and was ordained as a lay minister.

Empowered by his education and ordination, Coker returned to Maryland in 1801 to become the first African American teacher at the African Academy, a school founded by the Baltimore Abolition Society for the education of free blacks. He was the first black licensed minister in Baltimore and the spiritual leader of an independent prayer meeting formed by black Methodists dissatisfied with their position within the white Methodist church ...

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Mary F. Corey

a founder of the African Methodist Episcopal church, author, and educator, was born a slave in Frederick County, Maryland, the son of Susan Coker, a white indentured servant, and Edward Wright, a black slave belonging to the same plantation owner, whose name is unknown. Daniel Coker was educated with his master's son, who refused to go to school without his slave. When Coker was in his early teens he escaped to New York City where he joined the Methodist Church and was ordained as a lay minister.

Empowered by his education and ordination, Coker returned to Maryland in 1801 to become the first African American teacher at the African Academy a school founded by the Baltimore Abolition Society for the education of free blacks He was the first black licensed minister in Baltimore and the spiritual leader of an independent prayer meeting formed by black Methodists dissatisfied ...

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Debra Newman Ham

Daniel Coker was born Isaac Wright in 1780, probably in Frederick County, Maryland, to the enslaved African Edward Wright and the white indentured servant Susan Coker. Isaac's mother also had an older white son, named Daniel Coker, who refused to go away to school unless Isaac could accompany him. While with his half brother, Isaac received a rudimentary education and ran away to New York, where he assumed his brother's name.

The mixed-race Coker was active in the Methodist movement under the traveling bishop Francis Asbury. Coker became a minister in a Baltimore Methodist church that was modeled after the Reverend Richard Allen's church in Philadelphia and opened a school in about 1800 Despite the fact that early Methodists were encouraged to free their slaves welcome African American members and support abolition many white preachers trustees and churchgoers treated African American members of their congregation unjustly ...