African American Seventh-day Adventist Timeline
Compiled by Benjamin Baker


January 1: The first black regional conferences begin operations: Lake Region Conference, Northeastern Conference, and Allegheny Conference

June 23: The Tucson Church is organized in Tucson, Arizona.

December 6: The General Conference Committee votes: "That beginning with April of 1946 a periodical be published monthly, called "The North American Informant," devoted to the interests of the colored conferences and membership of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination." G.E. Peters was appointed editor.

Andrews Memorial Hospital (Jamaica) is established.

Frank L. Peterson becomes president of Oakwood University.

Churches: 9,496

North American Department Colored Department Membership: 19,008

Beginning Membership: 557,768

End Membership: 576,378



June 3: Irene Morgan vs. Commonwealth of Virginia rules that segregated buses violated the Consitution's protection of interstate commerce.

June 5-June 15: 45th General Conference Session, Washington, D.C.

July 21: The D.B. Simons family flies from New York City for Freetown, Sierra Leone, as missionaries sent by the General Conference.

August 1: First issue of The North American Informant, later Regional Voice, appears.

August 7-11: 350 members from ten churches in the Central Union Colored Department hold campmeeting in Topeka, Kansas.

August 23-25: Allegheny Conference constituency meeting is held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. J.H. Wagner is reelected president and L.H. Bland as secretary-treasurer.

Summer: E.E. Cleveland conducts an evangelistic campaign in Greensboro, North Carolina, assisted by E.C. Ward, Warren Banfield, and Margaret Daniels. A 16-year old C.D. Brooks receives his calling in connection with the meetings.

September 9: Pine Forge Academy opens in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

September 21: The Hartford Seventh-day Adventist Company, a company in the Northeastern Conference, is organized in Hartford, Connecticut.

December 16: The African American constituency of the Southwestern Union assembles in Dallas, Texas, and organized the Southwestern Mission (precursor to Southwestern Union Conference), headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with W.W. Fordham as superintendent.

December 31: Message Magazine has a total subscription of 41,170.

Three regional conferences begin operations: South Atlantic Conference, South Central Conference, and Southwest Region Conference

Churches: 9,321

North American Colored Department Membership: 20,580

Beginning Membership: 576,378

End Membership: 598,683



January 28-30: Owen A. Troy is elected secretary of the Colored Department at the Pacific Union Conference session.

February 3: Dr. S.O. Cherry dies.

February 22: A company of 18 is organized in Nacogdoches, Texas, as a result of the labors of A.B. Humphrey.

March 1: C.T. Richards is ordained at the Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

June 5-14: South Central Conference campmeeting is held at Oakwood College.

June 5-14: The first campmeeting of the South Atlantic Conference is held outside Jacksonville, Florida.

June 9: Pine Forge Academy holds is first graduation with six graduates.

July 3-13: Allegheny Conference campmeeting is held at Pine Forge Academy in Pennsylvania.

Churches: 9,554

Beginning Membership: 598,683

End Membership: 628,594



August 19-29: Central States Conference holds what was hailed at the time by T.M. Rowe as "the greatest camp meetins session in the history of our organization."

September 1-4: Southern Union Youth's Congress is held at Oakwood College.

September 5: The main building of Riverside Sanitarium and Hospital (Nashville, TN) is dedicated.

September 18: E.E. Cleveland baptizeds 114 persons in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Churches: 9,749

Beginning Membership: 628,594

End Membership: 672,658



May 22: 61 students graduated with a baccalaureate degree from Oakwood College, the largest class of graduates since the school became a college.

June: The South Atlantic Conference camp meeting has an attendance of more than 1,000.

June: T.M. Fountain replaces J.G. Dasent as president of the Lake Region Conference.

Churches: 9,991

Beginning Membership: 672,658

End Membership: 716,538


July 10-July 22: 46th General Conference Session, San Francisco, California.

T&O:   $27,728,250

T&O (41-50):  $200,597,522

Churches: 10,237

Beginning Membership: 716,538

End Membership: 756,812



August 3: Charles M. Kinny dies.

September 18: Ben Carson is born.    

Calvin E. Moseley, Jr., makes first missionary trip to Africa for the Colored Department.

Louis B. Reynolds becomes first black editor of Message.

Churches: 10,585

Beginning Membership: 756,812

End Membership: 803,720



September 1-September 13: Bible Conference held in Washington, D.C.

November 19: Hattie Andre dies.

Churches: 10,830

Beginning Membership: 803,720

End Membership: 856,463



October 10: Louis Harold Bland dies.

C.E. Moseley becomes secretary of the Colored Department.

Churches: 11,158

Beginning Membership: 856,463

End Membership: 924,822



May 24-June 5: 46th General Conference Session, San Francisco, California.

November 11: J.G. Dasent dies.

E.E. Cleveland holds historic evangelistic meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, where over 500 persons are baptized.

E.E. Cleveland is elected Associate Secretary of the Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He serves there for 23 years.    

F.L. Peterson is elected first Negro Associate Secretary of General Conference and Secretary of North American Colored Department at the General Conference session.

Garland J. Millet becomes president of Oakwood University.

North American Colored Department becomes North American Regional Department.

Churches: 11,447

Beginning Membership: 924,822

End Membership: 972,071



December 1: Minneola Dozier Smith, a Seventh-day Adventist, stands behind Rosa Parks seat on the Cleveland Avenue bus in Montgomery, Alabama, when Parks refuses to relinquish her seat.

Churches: 11,745

Beginning Membership: 972,071

End Membership: 1,006,218



ADRA is established under the name Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS).

Churches: 12,018

Beginning Membership: 1,006,218

End Membership: 1,051,452



September 23: Terrence Roberts, a Seventh-day Adventist and one of the "Little Rock Nine," deals a decisive blow to racial segregationism by attending Little Rock's Central High.

Churches: 12,291

Beginning Membership: 1,051,452

End Membership: 1,102,910



June 19-June 28: 48th General Conference Session, Cleveland, Ohio.

August 31: Phillips Memorial Hospital in Orlando, Florida, is dedicated.

C.E. Moseley is elected field secretary of the General Conference.

Churches: 12,421

Beginning Membership: 1,102,910

End Membership: 1,149,256



June 25: James Lamar McElhany dies.

Adventist Youth Service (AYS) programs begin.

Churches: 12,707

T&O (51-60): $434,697,327

Beginning Membership: 1,149,256

End Membership: 1,194,070



September 10: Inauguration of new College Church in Loma Linda, California (now known as University Church).

Emmanuel Missionary College becomes Andrews University.

Churches: 12,975

T&O: $59,132,241

Beginning Membership: 1,194,070

End Membership: 1,245,125



June 21: Jeter E. Cox dies on his farm in Kilmarnock, Virginia.

Alma Foggo York is the first black instructor of nursing at Boston Hospital for Woman, a Harvard University affiliate.

Churches: 13,369

Beginning Membership: 1,245,125

End Membership: 1,307,892



July 26-August 2: 49th General Conference Session, San Francisco, California.

H.D. Singleton becomes secretary of the Colored Department.

Churches: 13,588

Beginning Membership: 1,307,892

End Membership: 1,362,775



Addison V. Pinkney becomes president of Oakwood University.

Churches: 13,856

Beginning Membership: 1,362,775

End Membership: 1,428,352



January 26: Arthur Asa Grandville Carscallen dies.

June 4: Ground is broken for Loma Linda Hospital (now Loma Linda University Medical Center).

September: Andrews High School (Trinidad) opens.

Churches: 14,316

Beginning Membership: 1,428,352

End Membership: 1,508,056


June 30: George E. Peters dies.

Alice Princess by Alice P. Siwundhla is published.

E.E. Cleveland holds evangelistic meeting in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad where 812 are baptized and another 400 in follow-up meetings.

Churches: 14,651

Beginning Membership: 1,508,056

End Membership: 1,578,504



January 25: Loma Linda University Hospital is completed.

June 16-June 25: 50th General Conference Session, Detroit, Michigan.

November 20: Vote is taken to organize two new conferences in Allegheny territory: Allegheny East and Allegheny West.

F.L. Bland is elected a General Vice President of the General Conference in Detroit, Michigan.

Frank W. Hale becomes president of Oakwood University.

First edition of the Seventh-day Encyclopedia is published.

Churches: 14,980

Beginning Membership: 1,578,529

End Membership: 1,661,657



Churches: 15,303

Beginning Membership: 1,661,657

End Membership: 1,747,614



April 5: In tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, death, more than 1,000 students and staff dressed in black gather in the Ashby Auditorium at Oakwood College. President Frank Hale declares an indefinite state of morning on the Oakwood College campus, and the American flag in the center of the campus at the Bell Tower should be flown at half mast for 30 days. A program in honor of King is held in Ashby.

Andrews University confers Doctor of Divinity degree on E.E. Cleveland. He is first African American to receive honorary doctorate from this school.

Churches: 15,744

Beginning Membership: 1,747,607

End Membership: 1,845,183



Churches: 16,257

T&O (61-70): $886,947.488

Beginning Membership: 1,845,183

End Membership: 1,953,078



June 11-June 20: 51st General Conference Session, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Cave Memorial clinic and Nursing Home (Barbados) opens.

E.G. White and Church Race Relations by Ronald Graybill is published.

Free at Last by E.E. Cleveland is published.

Churches: 16,505

T&O: $124,046,447

Beginning Membership: 1,953,078

End Membership: 2,051,864



October 1: Adventist World Radio (AWR) begins broadcasting.

Adventist Media center (AMC) is instituted.

Calvin B. Rock becomes president of Oakwood University.

Mission to Black America by Ronald D. Graybill, a work on the efforts of Edson White, Will Palmer, and the Southern Missionary Society for African Americans in the Deep South at the turn of the century, is published by Pacific Press.

Churches: 16,726

Beginning Membership: 2,051,864

End Membership: 2,145,061



March 25: James L. Moran dies.

June 3: Anna Knight dies in Huntsville, Alabama.

Clarence and Carol Barren Thomas leave for Brazil, becoming the first black missionaries to South America.

The Apollo 15 mission is successful. Tires for the moon buggy created by Adventist inventor Robert Shurney are used.

Churches: 17,150

Beginning Membership: 2,145,061

End Membership: 2,261,403



January 1: Washington Sanitarium and Hospital becomes Washington Adventist Hospital.

June 4: Arna Bontemps dies.

December 28: Association of SDA Historians is founded.

Churches: 17,448

Beginning Membership: 2,261,403

End Membership: 2,390,124



July: C.D. Brooks becomes speaker-director of Breath of Life and tapes his first telecast at the Adventist Media Center in Thousand Oaks, California.

Churches: 17,841

Beginning Membership: 2,390,064

End Membership: 2,521,429



January 12: Breath of Life telecast is first aired in Detroit, Michigan.

September 10: F.L. Bland dies.

The Colored Department becomes the North American Office of Regional Affairs. W.W. Fordham is its first director.

Churches: 18,437

Beginning Membership: 2,521,402

End Membership: 2,666,484



November 16: Lottie Blake dies.

Churches: 19,225

Beginning Membership: 2,666,484

End Membership: 2,810,606



Churches: 19,761

Beginning Membership: 2,810,606

End Membership: 2,949,758



April 23: Jacob Justiss dies.

The North American Office of Regional Affairs becomes the Office of Ethnic Relations. W.S. Banfield is its first director.

Churches: 20,446

Beginning Membership: 2,949,758

End Membership: 3,117,535



January 3: Neal C. Wilson becomes seventeenth president of the General Conference.

March 22: Thomas Milton Rowe dies in Sweetwater, Tennessee.

Atlanta Adventist Academy (AAA) opens.

E.E. Cleveland founds the Annual Council on Evangelism held each winter at Oakwood University.

Churches: 21,061

T&O (1971-80): $2,520,612,522

Beginning Membership: 3,117,535

End Membership: 3,308,191



April 16: G. Ralph Thompson is appointed secretary of the General Conference.

April 25: The 27 Fundamental Beliefs are voted at the Fifteenth Business Meeting at the GC Session in Dallas, Texas.

Thompson U. Kay becomes first director of Deaf Services (now Christian Record Services) at the General Conference.

The Southern Publishing Association merges with the Review and Herald.

April 16-April 28: 53rd General Conference Session, Dallas, Texas.

April 17: G. Ralph Thompson is elected executive secretary of the General Conference, the first person of color to hold the position.

Churches: 21,555

T&O:   $398,880,407

Beginning Membership: 3,308,191

End Membership: 3,480,518



April 11: Addison Pinkney dies.

Church Manual contains 27 Fundamental Beliefs for the first time.

Churches: 22,094

Beginning Membership: 3,480,518

End Membership: 3,668,087


April 9: B.W. Abney, Sr., dies.

Churches: 23,302

Beginning Membership: 3,668,087

End Membership: 3,897,814


September 12: Louis B. Reynolds dies.

October: AWR begins broadcasting in Africa.

November 10: Harvey Ward Kibble dies in a car accident in Huntsville, Alabama.

Churches: 23,722

Beginning Membership: 3,897,814

End Membership: 4,140,206



Mary Kate Stovall-Tapley becomes the first black mayor of Hurtsboro, Alabama.

We Have Tomorrow by Louis B. Reynolds is published.

Churches: 24,663

Beginning Membership: 4,140,206

End Membership: 4,424,612


June 27-July 6: 54th General Conference Session, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Benjamin F. Reaves becomes president of Oakwood University.

First NAD Pathfinder Camporee is held in Camp Hale, Colorado.

Churches: 25,547

Beginning Membership: 4,424,612

End Membership: 4,716,859


October 22: E.E. Cleveland is invited to the White House for a briefing with President Ronald Reagan on International and National Affairs.

October 29: Eva Beatrice Dykes dies.

Bermuda Mission becomes Bermuda Conference.

Churches: 26,684

Beginning Membership: 4,716,859

End Membership: 5,092,503



September 6: Ben Carson successfully separates conjoined twins.

The Unknown Prophet by Delbert W. Baker is published.

Churches: 27,791

Beginning Membership: 5,092,503

End Membership: 5,445,249



Churches: 29,039

Beginning Membership: 5,445,249

End Membership: 5,816,767



December 23: Charles Lee Brooks dies.

Rosa Banks becomes the secretary of the Office of Human Relations.

Churches: 30,711

T&O (1981-90): $5,069,051,968

Beginning Membership: 5,816,767

End Membership: 6,260,617