1-20 of 31 Results  for:

  • Society and Social Change x
  • Spiritual Communities and Movements x
  • 1801–1860: The Antebellum Era and Slave Economy x
  • Religion and Spirituality x
Clear all

Article

ʿAbduh, Muhammad  

Geoffrey Roper

Egyptian Muslim theologian, modernist, and reformer, was born in the Gharbiya Province of Lower Egypt, the son of ʿAbduh ibn Hasan Khayr Allah, a peasant farmer, and his wife, who was descended from the Bani ʿAdl clan. He grew up in the village of Mahallat Nasr and received a traditional education, learning the Qurʾan by heart. In 1862 he was sent to the madrasa (Islamic college) in Tanta. There, he perfected his Qurʾan recitation and started to learn Arabic grammar, by the then normal method of memorizing texts and commentaries without explanation from his teachers.

Reacting against this, according to his own account, he ran away from the college and returned to his village, intending to become a peasant rather than a scholar. In this condition he married in 1865 at the age of sixteen But after various vicissitudes he resorted to his great uncle Shaykh Darwish Khadr who ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Colenso, John William  

Michael R. Mahoney

first Anglican bishop of Natal, theologian, and political activist, was born in Saint Austell, Cornwall, on 24 January 1814, the eldest of four children of a mineral agent to the Duchy of Cornwall. He began attending Saint John’s College, Cambridge University, in 1832, and in 1836 he graduated as a second wrangler in the mathematical tripos and a second Smith’s prizeman. A year later he was elected a fellow at Saint John’s. In 1839 he took up holy orders in the Church of England but worked as a mathematics tutor at Harrow, where he gained some notoriety as an author of mathematics texts. During this period Colenso also became increasingly active in the Church of England and in 1846 became rector of Forncett Saint Mary Church in Norfolk County. That same year he married Sarah Frances Bunyon, with whom he had five children.

In 1853 at the ...

Article

Delaney, Emma B.  

Brandi Hughes

nurse, foreign missionary, and school founder, was born to Anna L. Delaney and Daniel Sharpe Delaney in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Emma Beard Delaney came of age in the postbellum generation that witnessed the collapse of Reconstruction and the fading of the early promise of African American emancipation. Against the rising tide of segregation and racial violence, however, Delaney's family managed to sustain a measure of economic security and educational advancement. Her father, Daniel, held the distinction of being the only African American helmsman commissioned for service on the Revenue Cutter Boutwell, a federal ship that patrolled the ports of Savannah, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Charleston, South Carolina, as a forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard. The unique benefits of her father's government employment enabled the Delaney family to support an expansive education for Emma and her sister, Annie. In 1889 shortly after completing secondary classes ...

Article

Dungee, John William  

Charles Rosenberg

minister, active in the Underground Railroad, reputed to have founded ten churches, including the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, was born in 1833 on a plantation in New Kent County, Virginia. By the laws of that state, he was the property of the Ferrell family. His name was variously spelled Dungee, Dungy, Dunjy, and Dunjee. His children adopted the Dunjee spelling.

Five Ferrell heirs moved to Alabama, and sold the family's Virginia plantation in 1842 to former president John Tyler, who renamed it “Sherwood Forest.” Dungee was hired out to Virginia governor John Munford Gregory, and in later years spoke well of him. However, when the Ferrells—who had sold off many slaves, and had a reputation for severity—sent word that they wanted him sent to Alabama, Dungee escaped to Canada via the Underground Railroad in February 1860 arriving first in Hamilton Ontario then traveling via Toronto ...

Article

Freeman, Thomas Birch  

David Killingray

Black BritishWesleyan missionary and traveller in West Africa. Freeman was born in Hampshire, the child of a black father and a white mother. Little is known of his early years, but he was employed as a gardener in Suffolk and became a Christian, joining the Wesleyan Methodists. In 1838 Freeman went as a missionary to the Gold Coast, an area of West Africa where he was to spend most of his life. He built Methodist churches at Cape Coast and Accra, promoted education, and trained local men for the ministry. He established a mission station in Kumase, the Asante capital, and visited towns in southern Nigeria and also the kingdom of Dahomey, where he urged King Gezo to stop the slave trade. On furlough in Britain in 1843 Freeman actively promoted missionary work and also the anti‐slavery cause, both helped by publication of his travel accounts. In 1847 ...

Article

Freeman, Thomas Birch  

Jeremy Rich

a missionary and a founding father of the Methodist Church in Ghana and Nigeria, was born on 6 December 1809 in Twyford England His father Thomas Freeman was a former slave of African descent who worked as a gardener It is unclear if he was born in Jamaica or somewhere on the African continent although Freeman adamantly claimed his father was from Africa rather than the Caribbean His mother was an Englishwoman of European descent named Amy Birch Freeman s father died when he was only six years old He was raised in his grandfather John Birch s middle class home as his mother remarried and apparently left the boy in her father s care Freeman as a boy received a fair amount of education as displayed by his excellent training in botany Freeman became the head gardener and botanist for a wealthy aristocrat Sir Robert Harland who lived ...

Article

Fuller, Joseph Jackson  

Jeffrey Green

Jamaicanmissionary and public speaker born the son of an enslaved woman and Alexander Jackson, a member of the Spanish Town Baptist mission. In the aftermath of emancipation (1838), some freed Jamaicans returned to Africa to assist in the anti‐slavery cause, aided by Jamaican Baptists, who proposed the establishment of a mission to West Africa. As well as spreading the Christian gospel, the mission would provide a stimulus for the repatriation of African‐Caribbeans to Africa. Among the Jamaican missionaries were Alexander Fuller and his son Joseph, who were recruited to assist the establishment of a Baptist mission in Fernando Po, an island off the Gulf of Guinea. Joseph arrived in 1844.

Despite early optimism, the Fernando Po mission did not thrive, and the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) relocated to Cameroon in 1846 Fuller served out a five year apprenticeship with the Cameroon BMS before ...

Article

Fuller, Joseph Jackson  

Jeremy Rich

Christian missionary active in Cameroon, was born on 29 June 1825 in Spanish Town, Jamaica, to a slave family. His father, Alexander McLeod Fuller, was a skilled slave carpenter and cabinetmaker. His mother came from a Jewish family and apparently never lived with her husband. Fuller’s father was the first member of his family to join the Baptist mission in Spanish Town. He convinced his owners to allow his son to attend classes at the mission school, and the school reduced its usual fees so that Joseph and his brother Samuel could attend. His grandmother ran a small grocery and also helped pay the necessary expenses for Fuller’s education. The official end of slavery in Jamaica occurred when Fuller was thirteen years old, and he never forgot the joy of that day. He continued to go to school until 1839 but then chose to go to work on his ...

Article

Goodell, William  

Diane L. Barnes

William Goodell was born in Coventry, New York, to the Connecticut natives Frederick Goodell and Rhoda Guernsey. A childhood illness left Goodell bedridden for several years but also sparked a lifelong interest in learning. Although his meager circumstances precluded the attainment of formal education beyond common school, he developed an interest in writing and embarked on a career as an author and journalist. Goodell's editing work was closely tied to the reform agendas of his day: in 1827 he began to edit a general reform weekly from Providence, Rhode Island, and over his career was associated with such periodicals as the Genius of Temperance, the Emancipator, the Friend of Man, the Christian Investigator, the American Jubilee, the Radical Abolitionist, and the National Principia. By 1830 Goodell had returned to New York and for the remainder of his career as an editor ...

Article

Gorham, Sarah Everett  

Sylvia M. Jacobs

traveling preacher, social worker, and missionary, was born in either Fredericktown, Maryland, or Fredericksburg, Virginia. Little is known of her life before 1880. In that year she visited relatives who had emigrated to Liberia, and then she spent a year traveling throughout that African country preaching and comforting the needy. It was on this trip that she became interested in African missionary work.

Gorham settled in Boston, Massachusetts, where she joined the Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church. She became active in humanitarian and volunteer work with her church, assisting needy families with food and clothing and educational and social welfare projects. Between her move to Boston in 1881 and her travels to Sierra Leone in 1888, she was employed as a social worker by the Associated Charities of Boston.

In 1888 at age fifty six Gorham offered her services as a missionary to ...

Article

Holly, James Theodore  

David M. Dean

James Theodore Holly was born free in Washington, D.C., the son of James Overton Holly, a bootmaker, and Jane (maiden name unknown). At fourteen he and his family moved to Brooklyn, where he worked with his father. By 1848, while clerking for Lewis Tappan, an abolitionist, Holly became interested in the antislavery movement. In 1850 he and his brother Joseph set up as “fashionable bootmakers” in Burlington, Vermont, where both became involved with the growing debate over black emigration. James supported the American Colonization Society and Liberia, while Joseph believed that freed slaves should not have to leave the United States.

In 1851 Holly married Charlotte Ann Gordon (with whom he was to have five children) and moved to Windsor, Canada West (now Ontario), to coedit Henry Bibb's newspaper Voice of the Fugitive During his three years in the Windsor Detroit area Holly ...

Article

Holly, James Theodore  

David M. Dean

black emigrationist, missionary, and bishop, was born free in Washington, D.C., the son of James Overton Holly, a bootmaker, and Jane (maiden name unknown). At fourteen he and his family moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he worked with his father. By 1848, while clerking for Lewis Tappan, an abolitionist, Holly became interested in the antislavery movement. In 1850 he and his brother Joseph set up as “fashionable bootmakers” in Burlington, Vermont, where both became involved with the growing debate over black emigration. James supported the American Colonization Society and Liberia, while Joseph believed that freed slaves should not have to leave the United States.

In 1851 Holly married Charlotte Ann Gordon (with whom he would to have five children) and moved to Windsor, Canada West (now Ontario), to coedit Henry Bibb's newspaper Voice of the Fugitive During his three years in ...

Article

Johnson, James  

Jeremy Rich

pioneering religious leader and political activist in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, also known as James “Holy” Johnson, was born around 1835 in the town of Kakanda, near Waterloo on the coast of Sierra Leone. The incessant conflicts that tore Yoruba communities apart in the early nineteenth century brought his parents to Sierra Leone, as they had been enslaved and sold to Europeans. Johnson’s mother told him as a child of the horrors of the Middle Passage and the willingness of slaves to commit suicide rather than endure the voyage into bondage. Luckily, Johnson’s father and mother were liberated from slave ships by British naval anti-slave patrols. His father belonged to the Ijesha community, while Johnson’s mother came from an Ijebu kingdom and claimed to be related to the Awujale royal family. Details about Johnson’s parents are scant, and Johnson’s short 1908 autobiography did not mention his father at all ...

Article

Lange, Mary Elizabeth  

Mary Reginald Gerdes

educator and founder of both the oldest Catholic school for African Americans and the first order of African American nuns in the United States, the Oblate Sisters of Providence. The place and date of Lange's birth are unknown. Oral tradition says that she was born on the western part of the island of St. Domingue (now Haiti). Born Elizabeth Lange, she was the offspring of mixed parentage and was a free mulatto. Her mother was Annette Lange her father s name is unknown The revolution on the isle of St Domingue coupled with the Napoleonic revolution forced the emigration of many natives both black and white refugees fled to other parts of the Western Hemisphere Lange arrived in the United States educated refined and fluent in French When she arrived on the shores of Maryland she encountered major problems She was a free person of color in a ...

Article

Love, Emmanuel King  

Barbara McCaskill

minister, political activist, missionary, writer, and editor, was born a slave near Marion, Alabama. As was the case with many African American men of the post-emancipation era, Love's early schooling was scattershot; still it was substantive enough to prepare him for theological study and a lifelong commitment to service and leadership. Ordained on 12 December 1875, he graduated at the head of his class two years later in 1877 with a BA from the Augusta Institute, a forerunner of Atlanta's historic Morehouse College and a training ground for future African American ministers, politicians, and educators.

The highlight of Love's ministry was to pastor the influential First African Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia, from 1885 to 1900. Tracing its origins to as early as 1773, before the birth of the American nation, First African Baptist was officially instituted in 1788 and it ...

Article

Mason, Biddy Bridget  

Born into slavery to unknown parents and raised on John Smithson's plantation in Hancock, Mississippi, Biddy Bridget Mason was given by her owners as a wedding gift in 1836 to Robert Marion Smith and Rebecca Crosby Smith. After converting to Mormonism in 1847, Smith's family and their slaves made the 2,000-mile trek to Utah. Traveling with her three daughters, Ella, Ann, and Harriet, who were probably fathered by her owner, Mason acted as midwife, nurse, and caretaker for the caravan. After four years in Salt Lake City, Smith took the group to a new Mormon settlement in San Bernardino, California. Smith had apparently forgotten that California was declared a free state in 1850, and under this law Mason and her family were manumitted on January 1, 1856.

Now free, Mason moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as a nurse. By 1866 she ...

Article

Moorland, Jesse Edward  

Richard Newman

book collector and religious leader, was born in Coldwater, Ohio, the son of William Edward Mooreland (sic) and Nancy Jane Moore, farmers and members of a black family that had been free for several generations. Raised by his maternal grandparents because of his parents' early deaths, Moorland, an only child, attended Northwestern Normal University in Ada, Ohio, and the theological department of Howard University. In 1886 he married Lucy Corbin Woodson; they had no children. Moorland was ordained to the ministry in the Congregational Church in 1891 and became the organizing pastor of a church in South Boston, Virginia, as well as secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Washington, D.C. From 1893 to 1896 he was minister of Howard Chapel, Nashville, Tennessee, and then went to Mount Zion Congregational Church in Cleveland, Ohio.

A social gospel preacher who believed in working ...