Morning Star - Colorized Oakwood Archive

Timeline of Black Adventist History


Compiled by Benjamin Baker 



May 17: 3rd General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


May 23: General Conference Session resolves: “That a field is now opened in the South for labor among the colored people and should be entered upon according to our ability.”


December 25: Ellen White receives vision to establish a health institution. 


Churches: 140


T&O: $12,000


End Membership: 4,000





May 16-17: 4th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


June 12: The Visions—Objections Answered by Uriah Smith is published.


September 5: Western Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek, Michigan, opens for patients.


Churches: 150


End Membership: 4,250






May 14-May 19: 5th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 160


End Membership: 4,320






May 12-May 18: 6th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


December 25: John West, believed to be the second black Seventh-day Adventist minister, dies in Peterboro, New York.


Churches: 159


Beginning Membership: 4,320


End Membership: 4,475






May 18-24: 7th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 167


Beginning Membership: 4,475


End Membership: 4,900






March 15-20: 8th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


December 20: William Hawkins Green is born in Lewisburg, North Carolina.


Churches: 179


T&O: $25,375


T&O (1866-1870): $103,157


Beginning Membership: 4,900


End Membership: 5,440






February 7-February 12: 9th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


May 2: Elbert B. Lane, the first Adventist minister in the South, reports in the Review and Herald of holding meetings in a depot in Edgefield Junction, Tennessee, with "white people occupying one room, and the Colored the other." Black Baptist minister Harry Lowe embraces Adventism at the meetings.


December 29, 1871-January 3, 1872: 10th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 185


Beginning Membership: 5,440


End Membership: 4,550






December 29, 1872-January 3, 1873: 10th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 204


Beginning Membership: 4,550


End Membership: 4,901






March 11-March 14: 11th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


November 14-November 16: 12th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 239


Beginning Membership: 4,901


End Membership: 5,875






March 4: Anna Knight is born to Newton and Georgeanne Knight in Jones County, Mississippi.


June 4: First issue of Signs of the Times, edited by James White, is published in Oakland, California.


August 10-August 15: 13th General Conference Session is held in Battle Creek, Michigan.






April 1: Silas Osborn reports in the Review and Herald of four black converts from meetings he held in Powder Mills, Kentucky.


August 15-August 18: 14th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 339


T&O: $33,156


T&O (71-75):  $147,690


Beginning Membership: N/A


End Membership: 8,042






March 31-April 6: 1st Special General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


June 10: Lottie Cornella Isbell Blake is born.


September 19-September 24: 15th General Conference Session, Lansing, Michigan.


November 12 and 13: 2nd Special General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 398


Beginning Membership: 8,042


End Membership: 10,044






February 22: A report appears in the Review and Herald from Mrs. H.M. Van Slyke about a "colored school" in Ray County, Missouri, in which she taught black orphans to read the Bible.


May 24: William F. Minisee dies in Solon, Kent County, Michigan.


March 7: James Kemuel Humphrey is born.


September 20-September 28: 16th General Conference Session, Lansing, Michigan.


September 22: Lucille Lewis (later Byard) is born.


Churches: 478


Beginning Membership: 10,044


End Membership: 11,608







January 3: C.O. Taylor reports in the Review and Herald that lawyer and planter W.F. Killen of Houston County, Georgia, is converted to the Adventist faith, along with his family. Killen states that "I have no trouble in getting my laborers (colored people) to keep it [the Sabbath]."


March 1-March 4: 3rd Special General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


March 14: C.O. Taylor reports in the Review and Herald that a black minister in Worth County, Georgia, is keeping the Sabbath.


August: Charles Kinny/Kinney is baptized in Reno, Nevada, during a tent meeting conducted by J.N. Loughborough and guest speaker Ellen White.


October 4-October 16: 17th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 549


Beginning Membership: 11,608


End Membership: 13,077






July 6: James Gershom (J.G.) Dasent is born.


November 7-December 1: 18th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 599


Beginning Membership: 13,077


End Membership: 14,141



March 11-March 15: 5th Special General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


October 6-October 12: 19th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 640


T&O: $67,801


T&O (76-80):  $290,783


Beginning Membership: 14,141


End Membership: 15,570






August 6: James White dies.


August 22: W.F. Killen reports to the Review and Herald that "The colored man, Edmund Killen, is holding on firmly to the truth. I believe he will do right just as far as he knows. 1 would be glad if he were licensed to preach the truth among those of his race. He is certainly doing a good work among them. I baptized his wife the second Sunday in last June."


October 14: Black minister Harry Lowe is granted a ministerial license by the Tennessee Conference.

December 1-December 19: 20th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 640


Beginning Membership: 15,570


End Membership: 16,916






April 3: George Albert King begins colporteur work with sale of first copy of Daniel and Revelation by Uriah Smith.


April 11: Healdsburg Academy (later Pacific Union College) opens in Healdsburg, California.


April 19, 1882: South Lancaster Academy, forerunner of Atlantic Union College, opens in Lancaster, Massachusetts.


December 7-December 19: 21st General Conference Session, Rome, New York.


Churches: 660


Beginning Membership: 16,916


End Membership: 17,169






October 21: John Nevins Andrews dies.


November 8: At the GC session J.O. Corliss reported that there were "sixty seven white Sabbath-keepers and twenty colored" in the South Atlantic Mission.


November 8-November 20: 22nd General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


November 26: Sojourner Truth dies.


The first black Adventist church is organized in Edgefield Junction, Tennessee, outside of Nashville.


Churches: 680


Beginning Membership: 17,169


End Membership: 17,317






April: Almira S. Steele founds The Steele Home for Needy Children in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


October 30: 23rd General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 705


Beginning Membership: 17,317


End Membership: 18,702






Summer-Fall: Charles Kinny evangelizes blacks in Topeka, Kansas.

November 18-December 6: 24th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Testimonies for the Church, vols. 1-4, by Ellen G. White, are published.


Churches: 741


T&O: $151,191


T&O (1881-85): $561,699


Beginning Membership: 18,702


End Membership: 20,547






November 9: First congregation of Black Adventists organized at Edgefield Junction, Tennessee.      


November 18-December 6: 25th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


Churches: 798


Beginning Membership: 20,547


End Membership: 23,111






September 20-September 28: 26th General Conference Session, Oakland, California.


Churches: 889


Beginning Membership: 23,111


End Membership: 25,841






June 8: William J. Hardy dies.


May 21: Arkansas Conference is organized.


October 17-November 8: 27th General Conference Session, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Churches: 901


Beginning Membership: 25,841


End Membership: 26,112






January-June: Charles Kinny wins blacks to Adventist message in St. Louis, Missouri.


June 20: Kinny begins his labor among blacks in Louisville, Kentucky. Encounters a “colored company of nine” organized by Alonzo Barry.


October 5: Charles Kinny is ordained to the ministry at a camp meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the first black person ordained by the church. The concept of black conferences is first suggested by Charles Kinny when confronted by efforts to segregate him and his members at camp meeting on the day of his ordination. He suggests this as a way to work more effectively among blacks and to help deal with racial tensions and problems in the church.


October 18-November 5: 28th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.


October 19: Jessie Waggoner reports the following at the International Sabbath School Association at the GC session: "In Louisville, Ky. there is a nice little company of colored Sabbath-keepers. One of their little Sabbath- school scholars went out in the country on a visit among Sunday-keepers, and when it came Sabbath he took out his Bible and Lesson Book and began to study his lesson. This caused the people to ask him questions, and the result is several grown people are much interested in the truth."

October 25: The Committee on Home Mission took the following action at the GC session: "WHEREAS, There is an apparent need for a book written in an attractive style, profusely illustrated and handsomely bound, for use among the colored people of the South, therefore, "We recommend that the General Conference secure the preparation of such a book at the earliest possible date: and further, we recommend that this book contain as nearly as possible a synopsis of the Bible doctrines especially applicable at this time."

November 10: A committee of five are appointed to carry out the recommendation for the preparation of a book for African Americans.

“Fundamental Principles” appear in the 1889 SDA Yearbook.

Testimonies for the Church, volume 5, by Ellen White, is published.          

Alphonso Barry organizes a company of black SDAs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Atlantic Conference is organized.


SDA colporteur canvases Barbados.

James H. Howard accepts Seventh-day Adventist, most likely the first black in Washington, D.C., to do so. An interracial Adventist church is soon organized in the city.

Churches: 972


Beginning Membership: 26,112


End Membership: 28,324






February 16, 1890: The Louisville Seventh-day Adventist church is organized, the second black Seventh-day Adventist church in the world.


James Alexander Chiles opens law practice in Lexington, becoming the first black to practice law in the state of Kentucky.


Marshall Enoch pioneers Adventist work in Bermuda.


T.B. Buckner begins ministerial work the South.


Churches: 1,016


T&O: $225,434


T&O (81-90):  $1,436,016


Beginning Membership: 8,324


End Membership: 29,711






March 5-March 25: 29th General Conference Session is held in Battle Creek, Michigan.


March 6: R.M. Kilgore, superintendent of District No. 2 (comprising nine Southern states), at the General Conference session, makes the following appeal: "I would call the attention of this Conference to the fact that in all the educational work connected with the denomination no provision has been made for the development or workers to labor especially among the colored people. Here is one race of people within our own borders, for whom we as a people, have done very little.

We therefore urge upon this Conference the consideration of this matter, and ask this body to make

some provision for the training of workers from the rank and file of this people, to labor effectually with those of their own race. We repeat, that in no section of the country can there be a more pressing demand, or a louder call for school advantages, than that which comes from this portion of our land." 


March 21: Ellen White delivers “Our Duty to the Colored People” address to General Conference contingent.


September 21: Bridgetown SDA Church (Barbados) is formed.


September 30: Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, is opened.


November 12: Ellen White departs United States for Australia.


December 23: Ellen White and entourage arrive in Australia.


Beginning Membership: 29,711


End Membership: 31,665






February 20: Graysville Academy, forerunner of Southern Adventist University, opened in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


June 4: First black church is established in New Orleans, Louisiana, through the efforts of C.M. Kinny.


November 1: Ruth Janetta Temple is born in Natchez, Mississippi.


Henry S. Shaw is appointed as a special agent by the General Conference to evangelize blacks in the South.


James Patterson sets sail for Jamaica, becoming the first black Adventist to be sent from the United States to do missionary work.


L.C. Chadwick enters Cape Verde, believed to have been the first SDA to do so.


Churches: 1,102


Black Membership: c. 50


Beginning Membership: 31,665


End Membership: 33,778






January 31: John Loughborough speaks of William Foy at length at the General Conference Session held in Battle Creek, Michigan


February 17-March 6: 30th General Conference Session, Battle Creek.


June 28: Louis Harold Bland is born.


August 13: Eva Beatrice Dykes is born.


October 22: Thomas Milton Rowe is born.


November 9: William Foy dies in Plantation #7, Maine.  He is buried in Birch Tree Cemetery in East Sullivan, Maine


C.H. Richards and his wife begin canvassing the Bahamas.


Churches: 1,151


Beginning Membership: 33,778


End Membership: 37,404






January 7: Keene Industrial School, forerunner of Southwestern Adventist University, opens in Keene, Texas.


March 10: Construction of Morning Star mission steamer begins.


June 15: James L. Moran, future president of Oakwood College, is born.


July: Morning Star is launched in Chicago on the Mississippi River.


September 15-16: Charles Kinny founds the fifth black SDA church in the world in Nashville, Tennessee.

Churches: 1,225


Beginning Membership: 37,404


End Membership: 42,763






February 8: Natelkka Burrell is born.


February 15-March 4: 31st General Conference Session is held in Battle Creek, Michigan.


August 10: Black SDA church in Vicksburg, Mississippi, is dedicated by General Conference president O.A. Olsen.


Summer: Edson White and the Southern Missionary Society proselytize blacks in Memphis, Tennessee.


James Edson White opens the first church school for African Americans aboard the Morning Star, in Vicksburg, Mississippi.


Solusi Mission is established in Matebeleland, South Africa.          


Churches: 1,331


Beginning Membership: 42,763


End Membership: 47,680






January 23: Oakwood property is purchased by the General Conference.


February 20: The General Conference Committee recommends Martha Morrison Osborne to “make Atlanta, Georgia, her field of labor, engaging the work for the colored people.”


June 23: General Conferences purchases property in Huntsville, Alabama, that would be the location of Oakwood.


July 18: Lewis C. Sheafe preaches first sermon as Seventh-day Adventist minister in Battle Creek Tabernacle.


November 16: Oakwood Industrial School, forerunner of Oakwood University, opens in Huntsville, Alabama.


Churches: 1,439


Beginning Membership: 47,680


End Membership: 52,202






February 19-March 8: 32nd General Conference Session is held in College View, Nebraska. 


March 28: Lewis C. Sheafe is given ministerial credential and assigned to ministerial work in the South by the General Conference Committee.


May: Lewis Sheafe does evangelism in Louisville, Kentucky, followed by city mission work in Chattanooga.


December: Lewis Sheafe becomes pastor of Lexington, Kentucky, church; engages in extensive evangelism.


Churches: 1,574


Beginning Membership: 52,202


End Membership: 56,426






May: The Gospel Herald, a periodical on the black work in the South geared toward the evangelization of blacks, is published by Edson White in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Message, its successor, begins in 1934.


Bermuda Institute is established.


The Coming King by James Edson White is published.      


The Southern Work, a compilation of Ellen G. White's publications on the black work, is published by James Edson White.


Churches: 1,654


Beginning Membership: 56,426


End Membership: 59,347






February 15-March 7: 33rd General Conference Session, South Lancaster, Massachusetts.


March 4: Lewis C. Sheafe is ordained to the gospel ministry at the GC session in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, with J.N. Loughborough and G.I. Irwin presiding.


March-April: “Receive Ye the Holy Ghost” revival led by A.F. Ballenger brings about short-lived merger of black and white Adventist congregations into one church in Louisville, Kentucky.


Spring: W.G. Buckner and T.S. Buckner open a church school for impoverished black children called “Charity Mission” in Montgomery, Alabama.

Ballenger describes Washington, D.C. church (membership approximately 150 – 100 white, 50 black)  “a living miracle” for its harmonious fellowship.

Churches: 1,785


T&O (91-1900): $3,680,164


Beginning Membership: 59,347


End Membership: 64,003