Group of Adventists gathered at Sojourne

Biographies

This page features links to the best sources on deceased black Seventh-day Adventists.

To contribute information on an individual contact us here.

A
Warren E. Adams
Adams (1882-1978) was a literature evangelist for more than 40 years, and was publishing director for the South Central Conference.

Keith Densel Albury
Albury (1953-2006) was a Bahamian minister and administrator.

Alan Arthur Anderson, Jr.
Anderson (1911-1993) was a minister and government minister who fought for equal rights in the Adventist Church.

B
Amelia Christian Baker
Baker (1931-2012) was a longtime Bible worker and one of the first women ordained as an elder in California.

Rosetta Cora Baldwin
Baldwin (1903-2000) was an educator for nearly 75 years; The Rosetta C. Baldwin Historical African-American Museum in High Point, North Carolina, is named in her honor.

Michael St. Clair Banfield
Banfield (1892-1985) was a minister and administrator, the charter treasurer of Allegheny Conference and father of W.S. Banfield.

Warren St. Clair Banfield
Banfield (1922-2006) was a prominent minister, administrator, and civil rights activist.

Harold Wilson Baptiste
Baptiste (1938-2019) was the longest-serving executive secretary of the North American Division (1990-2002), before taking the position of general vice president at the General Conference from 2002 to 2005.

Eri L. Barr
Barr (1814-1864) was a Sabbatarian leader and the first Seventh-day Adventist minister of color.

Maurice T. Battle
Battle (1927-2010) was a longtime minister, missionary, administrator, and an associate secretary of the world church.

Turner R. Battle
Battle (1887-1964) was an early literature evangelist and father of Maurice T. Battle.

John Joseph Beale
Beale (1909-1989) was a minister, educator, and theologian, for many years at Oakwood University.

Bernard Wilfred Benn
Benn (1929-2014) was a longtime educator and president of the University of Southern Caribbean. 

Alma Montgomery Blackmon
Blackmon (1921-2009) was a musician, educator, and humanitarian who directed the Oakwood Aeolians for twelve years.

David Emmanuel Blake
Blake (1877-1917) was a pioneering minister, missionary, and physician, and husband of Lottie Blake.

Charlotte (Lottie) Cornelia Isbell Blake
Blake (1876-1976) was a pioneering physician, hospital administrator, medical missionary, and educator.

Frank L. Bland
Bland (1908-1975) was a minister and administrator, the second black General Conference vice president.
 
Louis H. Bland
Bland (1893-1953) was a minister and administrator, the first president of Northeastern Conference.

Frances Louise Bliss
Bliss (1924-2016) was an educator who taught at Oakwood University for more than thirty years.

Arna Bontemps
Bontemps (1902-1973) was a world-renowned author and leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

Mary Inez Booth
Booth (1913-2010) was a music teacher at Oakwood University who led a prison ministry for 54 years.

Charles Bowles
Bowles (1761-1843) was an iterant Baptist minister in New England (mainly Vermont) in the first half of the nineteenth century and may have been a Millerite.

Charles Edward Bradford
Bradford (1925-2021) was a minister, administrator, and author, the first black president of the North American Division.

Henrietta Paterson Branch

Branch (1858-1913) and her husband Thomas and daughter Mable were the first blacks to serve as missionaries to Africa by the Seventh-day Adventists.

Mable Florence Branch Webb
Webb (1878-1945) was the first black public school teacher in the state of Colorado and she, along with her parents, Thomas and Henrietta Branch, were the first black missionaries sent to Africa by Seventh-day Adventists.

Thomas H. Branch
Branch (1856-1924) and his wife Henrietta and daughter Mable were the first blacks to serve as missionaries to Africa by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

Alice Evelyn Blake Brantley
Brantley (1913-2014) was the daughter of Lottie and David Blake and a lifelong educator.
 
Mary Ellen Britton
Britton (1855-1925) was a pioneer physician, educator, humanitarian and civil rights activist.

Charles Decatur Brooks
C.D. Brooks (1930-2016) was one of the most successful evangelists of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and as speaker-director of Breath of Life Ministries for twenty-three years was a trailblazer of religious media.

Charles Lee Brooks
C.L. Brooks (1923-1989) was a pastor, educator, departmental administrator, and acclaimed musician.

Walterene Lillian Wagner Brooks
Brooks (1932-2019) was a lifelong educator and school administrator; wife of C.D. Brooks and daughter of J.H. Wagner, Sr.
 
Lloyd Rudy Broomes
Broomes (1936-2021) was a prominent psychiatrist. 

Lambert Wellington Browne
Browne (1883-1966) was a pioneer missionary to Sierra Leone.

Geneva Bryan
Bryan (1894-1981) was a teacher and nurse, and the first black woman to serve as a General Conference departmental officer.

Franklin Henry Bryant
Bryant (1877-1909) was the first black Adventist to author a book and the first black to earn a law degree from the University of Colorado. 

Taswell Benjamin Buckner
Buckner (1860-1924) was an early minister.
 
Natelkka Izetta Edith Burrell
Burrell (1895-1990) was a longtime teacher, principal, department chair, professor, and residential dean.
 
Lucy Byard
Byard's (1877-1943) refusal for treatment at an Adventist hospital was a catalyst for the organization of regional conferences in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

C
Robert Harris Carter
Carter (1925-1999) was a minister, missionary, administrator, and the first black president of a North American Union Conference.

Wilbert Augustus Cheatham
Cheatham (1942-2015) was a community organizer, administrator, and educator.

James Alexander Chiles
Chiles (1860-1930) was a lawyer, civil rights activist, and lay Adventist minister, who argued a segregation case before the US Supreme Court in 1907.
 
Celia Marie Abney Cleveland
Cleveland (1921-2003) was a pianist and Bible instructor, partnering with her husband E.E. Cleveland in bringing many thousands of people to faith.

Edward Earl Cleveland
Cleveland (1921-2009) was preeminent in Adventist public evangelism during the second half of the twentieth century, and trained thousands of pastors, Bible instructors, and ministerial students in evangelistic methods.

William James Cleveland, Jr.
Cleveland (1945-2011) was an editor.

Emerson Cooper
Cooper (1924-2012) was a scientist, educator, and administrator, serving in numerous positions at Oakwood University from 1948-1992.
 
Jeter E. Cox
Cox (1885-1961) was a longtime minister, evangelist, and administrator.

John Frederick Crichlow
Crichlow (1865-1963) was a minister and early leader of the black Adventist work.

Frederick Nathan Crowe
Crowe (1914-2018) was a cofounder of the first regional conference, Lake Region Conference, and was a treasurer there and for South Central Conference.

Eugenia Isabella Cunningham
Cunningham (1878-1963) was a faculty member and administrator at Oakwood University for more than fifty years.

D
James Gershom Dasent
Dasent (1879-1954) was an early minister and administrator, the first president of the Lake Region Conference

Theodore Casper Dawson
Dawson (1903-1988) was a custodian, church deacon, and educational humanitarian.
 
Carl Ashley Dent
Dent (1915-1995) was a missionary and pioneering physician, for 37 years chief of staff at Riverside Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.

Samuel Lee DeShay
DeShay (1933-2019) was a physician, missionary, and administrator.

Minneola Lanora Dabney-Dixon
Dixon (1929-2014) served Oakwood University for approximately 40 years in various capacities, including secretary/administrative assistant, director of student employment, director of alumni affairs, and director of the museum and archives.

Martha Dorsey
Dorsey (1840-1926) was an early Adventist in Coshocton County, Ohio, and helped grow the Adventist Church in the region.

Rosetta Douglass-Sprague
Sprague (1839-1906) was a civil rights activist and assistant to her father Frederick Douglass.
 
Charles Edward Dudley, Sr.
Dudley (1927-2010) was a minister, civil rights activist, and longest-serving conference president.
 
Eva Beatrice Dykes
Dykes (1893-1986) was the first black woman to complete requirements for a Ph.D., founder of the Oakwood Aeolians, and a longtime educator.

James Elmore Dykes
Dykes (1919-1990) was a minister, author, administrator, and educator.

E
George Roland Earle
Earle (1918-2018) was a minister and administrator, the president of Northeastern Conference from 1966-1983.

Vernelle Elaine Rogers Earle
Earle (1922-2018) was an educator and educational administrator.

Lillie Henrietta Emanuel
Emanuel (1898-1976) was an educator for almost fifty years.

F
Henry Edward Felder
Felder (1943-2018) was an economist for the US government, consultant, and educator.
 

Henry "Butch" Joseph Fordham III

Fordham (1943-2021) was a longtime minister and administrator, the president of Allegheny East Conference since 2012-2021.
 

Sharon Wright Fordham

Fordham (1943-2021) was an administrative assistant and budget analyst, and from 2012-2021 the first lady of Allegheny East Conference.


Walter Wraggs Fordham

Fordham (1911-1998) was a minister, evangelist, administrator, and author.

Allen William Foster, Sr.
Foster (1940-2019) was a renowned musician and social worker.

William Ellis Foy
Foy (1818-1893) was a black Free Will Baptist minister who had religious visions and shared them at Millerite gatherings from 1842-1845. Seventh-day Adventists hold that he was the first of three individuals to receive divine visions during this period, followed by Hazen Foss and Ellen G. White.

G
Alvin R. Goulbourne, Sr.
Goulbourne (1928-2011) was a minister and administrator, president of Bermuda Conference (1977-1986) and secretary of Atlantic Union (1986-1996).
 
Jessie Catherine Dorsey Green
Green (1874-1971) was an educator who cofounded Voorhees College, a historically black liberal arts college in Denmark, South Carolina.

William Hawkins Green
Green (1871-1928) was a lawyer and minister who was the first black to lead the North American Negro Department (1918-1928).

Victor S. Griffiths
Griffiths (1934-1990) was a minister, educator, and administrator, the first black dean of the graduate school at Loma Linda University and an associate director of the Education Department at the General Conference.

H
Ida Mae Hanks
Hands (1929-2002) was a longtime Bible instructor, mostly in Connecticut and the Northeastern Conference.

Frank W. Hale, Jr.
Hale (1927-2011) was an educator, activist, and administrator, the fifth president of Oakwood University a vice provost at The Ohio State University from 1971-1988.

Eliza Watts Hardy
Hardy (c. 1822-1890) and her husband William were among the earliest black Seventh-day Adventists.

William J. Hardy
Hardy (1823-1888) was an early Adventist lay leader and the first black elected officer in Michigan.

Chessie Harris
Harris (1906-1997) worked for orphans and marginalized youth for the span of the twentieth century and earned the President's Volunteer Action Award from President George H.W. Bush in 1989.

C. Dunbar Henri
Henri (1912-2002) was a minister, missionary, and administrator, a vice president of the General Conference from 1973 to 1980.

Lorraine Davis Henri
Henri (1922-2019) was a missionary and educator, wife of C. Dunbar Henri.

James H. Howard
Howard (1861-1936) was a physician, government minister, and humanitarian.

Roscoe J. Howard, III
Howard (1955-2019) served as secretary of the North American Division, president of Mid-America Union, and a vice president of Adventist Health System.

R.T. Hudson
Hudson (1912-1966) was a pastor, evangelist, and administrator.

Edwin J. Humphrey
Humphrey (1922-2010) was a minister and administrator.
 
James Kemuel Humphrey
Humphrey (1877-1952) was a prominent early black minister and evangelist who defected from the church in 1929 and started the Sabbath-Day Adventists in New York City.

I
L.O. Irons
Irons (d. 1950) was a minister and administrator.

J
Lawrence Jacobs, Sr.
Jacobs (1911-2011) was the manager of agriculture at Oakwood University for more than two decades.

Leonard William Johnson, Jr.
Johnson (1932-1987) was a physician and aerospace medical pioneer.

Murray E. Joiner, Sr.
Joiner (1935-2015) was a minister and administrator.
 
Frank L. Jones
Jones (1926-2007) was a minister, architect, and treasurer, serving as associate secretary at the General Conference from 1977-1990.

Jacob Justiss
Justiss (1919-1978) was a minister, educator, and one of the first to publish a history of black Adventism.

K

Dennis Collins Keith

Keith (1937-2017) was a missionary and treasurer, serving as associate treasurer of the General Conference from 1995-2005.

Harvey Ward Kibble, Sr.

Kibble (1908-1983) was a pastor, evangelist, and administrator for more than fifty years.

Charles Marshall Kinny/Kinney

Kinney (1855-1951) was a pioneering black minister often referred to as the Father of Black Adventism.

Anna Rachel Knight

Knight (1874-1972) was the first black woman missionary to serve in India, a nurse, educator, and administrator.

L

Joseph Hermanus Warrington Laurence

Laurence (1885-1987) was a pioneering Caribbean evangelist and pastor who worked primarily across the American South. 

Alyne Dumas Lee

Lee (1903-1970) was an internationally renowned lyric soprano soloist and educator.

Louise Helen Norton Little

Little (1897-1989) was a civil rights activist and mother of Malcolm X.

Harry Lowe

Lowe (c. 1828-1908) pastored the first black Adventist church in Edgefield Junction (Nashville), Tennessee, which he cofounded in 1883.

M

Roy Enfeld Malcolm

Malcolm (1934-2018) was an educator and administrator, most notably at Oakwood University.

Mylas "Bobby" Walter Martin, Jr.

Martin (1931-2018) was an award-winning journalist who helped bring about racial parity in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Norwida A. Marshall

Marshall (1936-2018) was an educator and administrator, the first woman and first woman of color to be named associate director of education at the Southern Union.

Ealy Mae Neese McNichols

McNichols (1902-1987) was a charter member and deaconess for 40 years at the Mizpah SDA Church in Gary, Indiana.

Garland Jefferson Millett

Millett (1913-2008) was a minister and educator who served as fifth president of Oakwood University.

Ursula Bernice Berry Millett

Millett (1916-2008) was the first lady of Oakwood University from 1954 to 1963, and was a longtime personal assistant to her husband, Garland Millett, H.D. Singleton, and W.W. Fordham.

Prince James Henry Minisee

Minisee (1785-1875) was an early black landowner in Michigan and one of the first black Seventh-day Adventists.

J. Paul Monk
Monk (1940-1994) was an Adventist minister, chaplain, editor of Message, and president of Central States Conference.

James Lewis Moran

Moran (1894-1972) was a pioneer of black Seventh-day Adventist education who served as the founding principal of Harlem and Pine Forge academies, as well as the first black president of Oakwood University.

Mercedes Aguirre Moran

Moran (1904-1967) was an educator and wife of J.L. Moran, the first lady of Oakwood from 1932-1945. 

Irene Amos Kirkaldy Morgan

Morgan (1917-2007) was a civil rights activist who won the case Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia, in which the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in interstate passenger travel.

Calvin Edwin Moseley, Jr.

Moseley (1906-2001) was a pastor, educator, administrator, and musician for more than sixty years.

Donald L. Mullett

Mullett (1929-2013) was an educator and educational administrator.

Lloyd Evans Mulraine

Mulraine (1930-2017) was a longtime English professor.

Kenneth Mulzac

Mulzac (1963-2008) was a minister, theologian, and educator.

Herman Robert Murphy

Murphy (1912-1993) was a minister and evangelist who served as the founding president of South Central Conference. 

N

 

Leonard Newton

Newton (1930-2009) was a minister, missionary, and administrator of almost fifty years.

Richard Steven Norman, Jr.

Norman (1925-2017) was an accountant/comptroller and faculty member of the Business Department at Oakwood University for almost three decades.

P

Lulu Edna Padgett-Roache

Padgett-Roache established an accredited nursing program at Oakwood University.

Gaines Roland Partridge

Partridge (1923-2009) was a lifelong educator and educational administrator, holding posts at a dozen institutions, including Oakwood University, Loma Linda University, and UCLA.

James Elisha Patterson

Patterson (1857-1922) was the first black to serve as a foreign missionary in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, going to Jamaica in 1892.

Lorenzo Paytee

Paytee (1929-2015) was a minister, educator, and administrator, onetime president and treasurer of the Southern California Conference.

Jim Pearson

Pearson (1826-) was an early physician and educator in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Julia Baugh Pearson

Pearson (1892-1978) was a longtime dean at Oakwood University and principal of Shiloh Academy in Chicago, Illinois.

Walter Leonard Pearson, Jr.

Pearson (1945-2020) was a minister and evangelist, the second director/speaker of Breath of Life Ministries from 1997-2010.

 

Frank Loris Peterson

Peterson (1893-1969) was one of the most important black church leaders of the twentieth century, and was the first black General Conference vice president.

George Edward Peters

Peters (1883-1965) was a minister and administrator, and one of the most important black Adventist leaders in the first half of the twentieth century.

Joni Mae Pierre-Louis

Pierre-Louis was a musician and educator who directed the Oakwood Aeolians.

Addison Vastapha Pinkney

Pinkney (1903-1981) was a minister, educator, and the sixth president of Oakwood University.

Annie D. Powe-Hyman

Powe-Hyman (1931-2010) was an educator and community activist, founder of Temple University's Pan African Studies Community Education Program (PASCEP).

Joseph Tiffany Powell

Powell (1923-2009) was an army chaplain, minister, civil rights activist, and educator.

R
Samuel Acton Rashford
Rashford (1908-1982) was a community organizer, civil rights activist, and educator. 

Jean Manuel Reaves
Reaves (1930-2013) was an educator and musician.

Louis Bernard Reynolds
Reynolds (1917-1983) was a minister, administrator, author, and editor, the first black editor of Message in 1945.

Clarence Theodore Richards
Richards (1912-1995) was a minister, musician and educator who primarily served at Oakwood University.

Marie L. Kibble Robinson
Robinson (1936-1994) was a prominent education administrator and social worker in Chicago.

Reginald Orealus Robinson
Robinson (1942-2009)  was a pastor and evangelist.

Clara Elizabeth Peterson Rock
Rock (1931-2018) was a musician and pioneering archivist.

Peter Gustavus Rodgers
Rodgers (1885-1961) was a leading urban evangelist for forty years and a leading voice in the struggle for black equality within the church.

Thomas Milton Rowe
Rowe (1893-1979) was a prominent pastor and administrator, and the first president of the Central States Conference.

S
Emmanuel Saunders
Saunders (1929-2016) was an educator and administrator, for many years at Oakwood University.

William Clinton Scales, Jr.
Scales (1935-2017) was a minister, evangelist, and administrator, serving as ministerial director of the North American Division from 1986-1997.

William Clinton Scales, Sr.
Scales (1915-2010) was a literature evangelist and public evangelist.

William Henry Sebastian
Sebastian (1871-1962) was a pioneer black minister in the Southern United States.

Fred Harold Seeney
Seeney (1865-1925) was an early Adventist minister.

Talbert Oscall Shaw
Shaw (1929-2018) was an educator who served as president of Shaw University from 1987-2002.

Lewis C. Sheafe
Sheafe (1859-1938) was an early black Adventist minister and civil rights activist who ultimately defected from the church.

Robert Shurney
Shurney (1921-2007) was an engineer and inventor at NASA for almost thirty years.

Donald Barnett Simons
Simons (1918-1998) was a pastor, missionary, public relations officer, and administrator for more than forty years.

Harold Douglas Singleton, Jr.
Singleton (1908-2010) was a minister, editor, church administrator, and a charter regional conference president.

Reger Cutting Smith, Jr.
Smith (1953-2008) was a musician, photographer, graphic designer, and public relations specialist. 

Byron Reginald Spears, Sr.
Spears (1912-2013) was an evangelist renowned for his memorization and recitation of Scriptures.

Randolph Poten Stafford
Stafford (1946-2016) was a minister, evangelist, and administrator.

Matthew Carpenter Strachan
Stachan (1875-1950) was an early minister and administrator.

Maud Elizabeth Brown Strachan
Strachan (1874-1936) was a nurse, educator, and literature evangelist, who worked with her husband Matthew Strachan in a ministry of thirty-seven years.

Ward D. Sumpter
Sumpter (1935-2013) was a minister and administrator, his final post as executive secretary of the Southern Union.

T
Ruth Janetta Temple
Temple (1892-1984) was the first black graduate from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, the first black female physician licensed to practice in California, and a lifelong public health crusader.

John G. Thomas
Thomas (1883-1967) was a minister and administrator, mainly in the Southern United States.

Lyndsay Thomas, Jr.
Thomas (1929-2015) was a linguist, educator, and humanitarian of Adventism in Africa.

Richard Edward Tottress
Tottress (1917-2019) was a minister, radio personality, and theology professor at Oakwood University.

Owen Austin Troy, Jr.
Troy (1927-2014) was a minister and the first communication director for the North American Division from 1980 to 1995.

Owen Austin Troy, Sr.
Troy (1899-1962) was a minister, media innovator, administrator, and civil rights activist.

Ruby Bontemps Troy
Troy (1905-1987) was a longtime clerk of the Oakwood College Church, sister of Arna Bontemps, wife of Owen Troy, Sr., and mother of Owen Troy, Jr.

V
Valerie Justiss Vance
Vance (1913-2015) was an educator, broadcaster, social worker, and organizer.

W
Trula Elizabeth Wade
Wade (1898-1995) was a pioneer educator and residence hall dean at Oakwood University.

John Henry Wagner, Sr.
Wagner (1902-1962) was a minister and administrator, the first president of South Atlantic Conference.

Eric Calvin Ward
Ward (1924-2004) was a renowned pastor and evangelist.

Adell Roy Warren, Sr.
Warren (1920-1988) was the business manager of Oakwood University and Riverside Sanitarium for more than four decades.

John West
West (1816-1868) was one of the first Seventh-day Adventist ministers of color.
 
Lennox Samuel Westney
Westney (1928-2016) was a physician and medical administrator.

Margaret Nelda Norman Williams
Williams (1938-2015) was a missionary and educator.

Charles Milton Willis
Willis (1914-2001) was a longtime literature evangelist and the associate publishing director of the General Conference from 1975-1985.

Robert Lee Woodfork
Woodfork (1921-2019) was a longtime minister, evangelist, and administrator.

Edward Woods, Jr.
Woods (1945-2016) was an educator and education administrator.
 
Carol Lindsey Wright
Wright (-2021) worked in administrative positions in the church for almost 40 years, 28 of those in the Columbia Union's Treasury Department.

Eleanor A. Crews Wright
Wright (1926-1992) was a prolific gospel music writer, singer, pianist, and arranger.

Walter L. Wright, Sr.
Wright (1935-2009) was a civil servant, minister, and administrator, president of Lake Union from 2003-2008.