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Timeline of Black Adventist History

2000-Present

 

Compiled by Benjamin Baker 

2000

 

January 3: John Street, a black Seventh-day Adventist, is elected mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

June 29: Matthew Bediako is appointed secretary of the General Conference.

 

Robert Smith becomes the first black president of the Review and Herald Publishing Association.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 206,716

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 7,133

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 780

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $152,934,747.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $1,093,239,507.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 10,939,182

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 11,687,239

 

 

2001  

 

January 28: Calvin E. Moseley dies.

May: Matthew Bediako receives an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Andrews University.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 211,221

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,838

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 820

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $159,889,408.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $1,120,268,583.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 11,687,239

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 12,320,844

 

 

2002  

 

January 30: C. Dunbar Henri dies.

 

February 25: Donald King becomes president of Atlantic Union Conference.

 

June: Dwain N. Esmond becomes the first black editor of Insight.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 215,485

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,179

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 823

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $159,324,238.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $1,161,698,944.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 12,320,844

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 12,894,015

 

 

2003

 

June 27: Barry Black is elected the 62nd chaplain of the United States Senate, becoming the first person of color to hold the position.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 221,101

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,664

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 839

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $154,770,993.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $1,234,346,993.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 12,320,844

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 13,406,554

 

 

2004  

 

April 29: E.C. Ward dies.

May 2: David R. Williams receives an honorary Doctorate of Science from Andrews University.

 

August 1: Susan Fenton Willoughby receives an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Andrews University.

December: Gerald Penick is elected the first black president of Southeastern California Conference.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 224,286

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,465

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 860

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $166,283,623.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $1,333,482,562.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 13,406,554

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 13,936,932

 

 

2005  

 

May: Crucial Moments: Twelve Defining Events in Black Adventist History by Benjamin Baker is published.

 

June 29-July 9: 58th General Conference Session is held in Saint Louis, Missouri.

 

July 3: Ella Louise Smith Simmons is elected a vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the first woman to hold the office and the highest ranking woman in the history of the church.

 

July 3: Rosa Banks is elected associate secretary of the General Conference, the first woman to hold the position.

 

July 5: Heather-Dawn Small is elected director of the General Conference Women's Ministries, the first person of color to hold the position.

 

August 6: Frank W. Hale, Jr. is awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Andrews University.

November 21: The Anna Knight Memorial Nurses' Hostel is dedicated in Nuzvid, India.

 

December 2-3: Andrews University hosts a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of regional conferences. 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 227,511

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 5,777

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 870

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $186,331,771.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $1,492,720,001.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 13,936,932

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 14,399,072

 

 

2006  

 

February: Ricardo Graham is elected secretary of the Pacific Union Conference.

 

April 8: John Nixon preaches first sermon as senior pastor of the Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church.

 

Caribbean Union College becomes University of the Southern Caribbean.

 

Ronald Brisé is elected to District 108 of the Florida House of Representatives.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 231,503

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,711

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 874

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $184,100,303.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $1,617,800,560.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 14,399,072

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 15,115,806

 

 

2007

 

March: A Place Called Oakwood by Benjamin Baker is published.

 

August 5: Ella Smith Simmons receives an honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy from Andrews University.

August 10: Irene Kirkaldy-Morgan dies.

 

November 15: Ricardo Graham is elected president of Pacific Union Conference.

 

The Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Leadership Center opens at Oakwood University.       

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 239,711

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,038

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 879

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $182,797,710.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $1,911,649,916.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 15,115,806

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 15,660,347

 

 

2008

 

January 1: Oakwood College becomes Oakwood University.

 

January: Weymouth Spence becomes first black president of Columbia Union College, later Washington Adventist University.

 

June: Walter Wright, Sr., retires as president of Lake Union Conference.

 

Ben Carson receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 246,478

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,437

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 896

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $182,769,899.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $1,929,768,053.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 15,115,806

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 15,921,408

 

 

2009  

 

April 15: Walter L. Wright dies.

 

June 11: Alma Blackmon dies.

 

June 17: Heather Knight is elected president of Pacific Union College, the first black or woman to hold the position.

 

August 30: E.E. Cleveland dies.

 

September 15: Heather Knight becomes first female and black to be president of Pacific Union College.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 251,371

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 9,682

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 900

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $196,030,300.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $1,891,325,291.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 15,921,408

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 16,307,880

 

 

2010  

 

February 6: Harold D. Singleton dies.

 

February 23: Maurice T. Battle dies.

 

April 8: Charles E. Dudley dies.

 

May 2: Barry Black receives an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Andrews University.

May 2: Patrick Williams receives an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Andrews University.

June 10: James Graves, Jr., is elected to the United States Court of Appeals by President Barack Obama and confirmed on February 14, 2011, only the second African American to attain the distinction.

 

June 15: blacksdahistory.org, a website devoted to African American Seventh-day Adventist history, is launched by Benjamin Baker.

 

June 23-July 3: 59th General conference Session, Atlanta, Georgia.

 

June 27: Willie and Elaine Oliver are elected directors of the General Conference Family Ministries department, the first couple of color to hold the position.

 

July: Ronald A. Brisé is appointed to the Florida Public Service Commission by Governor Charlie Crist. Brisé was reappointed by Governor Rick Scott for a term through January 2018. He served as Commission Chairman in 2012-2013.

 

August 16: Omerror Dawson dies at age 100 in her home in Shreveport, Louisiana.

 

August 30: Mary Inez Booth dies.

 

September: Dwain N. Esmond becomes the Review and Herald Publishing Association's Vice President for Editorial Services.

 

December 1: C.D. Brooks is elected a lifetime member of the Ellen G. White Estate Board, the first black to be thus honored.

 

December 14: Neal C. Wilson dies.        

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 255,113

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 7,642

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 906

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $200,053,253.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $2,037,618,294.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 16,307,880

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 16,923,239

 

 

2011

 

January: Leslie N. Pollard becomes president of Oakwood University.

 

February 14: James Graves, Jr.'s election to the United States Court of Appeals is confirmed.

 

April 10-April 11: Spring Meeting in Huntsville, Alabama.

 

July 27: Frank Hale, Jr., dies.

 

September 8: Ron C. Smith is elected president of Southern Union Conference.

 

October 23: Andrew Holness is inaugurated Prime Minister of Jamaica.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 260,776

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 8,773

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 927

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $198,468,771.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offering (End of year): $3,182,943,669.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 16,923,239

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 17,479,890

2012

 

February 9: Alma Foggo York is killed by a vehicle while crossing a street in Huntsville, Alabama.

 

June: Carmela Monk-Crawford becomes the first female editor of Message.

 

June 18: DeVon Franklin appears on SuperSoul Sunday with host Oprah Winfrey and speaks on the merits of the seventh-day Sabbath.

 

August 14: Emerson Cooper dies.

 

September 13: Milton E. Nebblett dies.                 

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 268,808

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 8,500

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 937

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $206,716,548.00

 

Global Church Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $3,276,600,259.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year):17,479,890

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 17,881,491

 

 

2013          

 

November 8: Ward D. Sumpter dies.

 

December: C.D.: The Man Behind the Message by Harold Lee with Benjamin Baker is published.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 275,965

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 7,950

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 936

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings: $195,903,821.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year):17,881,491

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 18,143,745

 

 

2014

 

March 6: Celeste Ryan Blyden becomes vice president for strategic communication and public relations of the Columbia Union Conference, the first woman vice president of a union.

 

October 15: Oakwood University becomes a North American Division institution.

 

December 22: W. Augustus Cheatham dies.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 281,873

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,354

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 925

 

Regional Conferences Tithes & Offerings (End of year): $194,614,290.00

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 17,881,491

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 18,479,257

 

 

2015

 

April: Benjamin Baker becomes the Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists.

 

April 6: Stanley Hickerson discovers that early Sabbatarian Adventist minister Eri L. Barr was black; publishes results in Adventist Review.

 

May 4: Ben Carson officially announces his candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

 

June 20: Lake Union president Don Livesay apologizes for the racial failures of white Adventists that led to the creation of regional conference.

July 3: Juan Prestol-Puesan is elected treasurer of the General Conference, the first person of color to hold the position.

 

July 6: Israel Leito is reelected president of the Inter-America Division, thus holding the record for the longest serving division president at 21 years.

 

November 1: Milton Brown receives the annual Percy L. Julian Award for his work in new drug discovery and testing against molecular targets.

 

November 13: Lorenzo Paytee dies.

 

November 20: Delbert Baker becomes president of Adventist University of Africa, the first African American to hold the position.

 

December 9: Edward Woods, Jr., dies in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 288,295

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,926

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 933

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 18,479,257

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 19,126,447

 

 

2016

 

February 20: Randolph P. Stafford dies.

 

March 4: Ben Carson officially ends his campaign for the presidency of the United States.

 

April 24: The Donald Blake Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture is inaugurated at Walla Walla University.

 

May 14: Earvin "Magic" Johnson attends Oakwood University Church and is presented the church's 2016 Humanitarian Award. While there he pledges to donate $550,000.00 to Oakwood.

 

July 6: "Adventists for Social Justice" is founded to "reflect the character of Christ by seeking justice and defending the oppressed in our communities.”

September 2-4: Pine Forge Academy celebrates its 70th anniversary.

 

September 24: The Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture opens in Washington, D.C. Several African American Adventists are featured in the museum.

 

October 25: Luther R. Palmer dies in Madison, Alabama.

 

November 12: Lloyd Henry becomes the first African American to be named an "Ironman Globe Finisher."

 

December 5: President-elect Donald J. Trump appoints Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Carson is the first Seventh-day Adventist to be appointed to a cabinet-level position in the United States government.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 319,943 

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,990

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 1,034

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 19,126,447

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 20,008,779

 

 

2017

 

February 13: Black Adventist Cynthia Adams is sworn in as a Superior Court Judge in Georgia. 

 

February 18: Black students at Andrews University produce “#ItIsTimeAU,” a video protesting historic and contemporary racism at Andrews, and issuing a one-week ultimatum to the school administration to apologize for its systemic racism and implement several reforms for racial equality.

February 23: Andrews University administrators respond with a video apologizing for the racism at Andrews followed with a list of measures to implement in response to the Black students’ demands, most notably, creating a new position, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion.

March 2: Ben Carson is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

 

May 7: Alvin Kibble receives an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Andrews University.

May 27: William C. Scales, Jr., dies in Huntsville, Alabama.

 

July 6: Michael Nixon accepts the invitation to serve as Andrews University’s first Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion. He begins on August 1.

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 321,359

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 7,636

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 1,048 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 20,008,779

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 20,727,347

2018

 

March 23: Vernelle Earle dies at 95.

 

March 25: George R. Earle dies at 100.

May 6: Calvin Rock receives an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Andrews University.

May: Calvin B. Rock publishes Protest and Progress: Black Seventh-day Adventist Leadership and the Push for Parity.

November 28: Eight regional conference presidents and Oakwood president Leslie Pollard meet with GC president Ted Wilson about statements on social justice and worship styles that Wilson had made at Annual Council the month before.

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 327,554

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 6,486

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 1,058

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 20,727,347

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 21,414,779

2019

 

March: Columbia Union Visitor features as its cover story a new accounting of the Lucy Byard incident.

 

April 19: Ground is broken on the new Regional Conference Ministries headquarters on the campus of Oakwood University.

 

May 5: Robert L. Woodfork, longtime regional conference president and minister, dies in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

May 8: Samuel L. DeShay, physician and missionary and the only black director of the General Conference Health Department, dies in Maryland.

 

Regional Conferences Membership (End of year): 323,066

 

Regional Conferences Baptisms (End of year): 7,433

 

Regional Conferences Churches (End of year): 1,056

 

Global Church Membership (Beginning of year): 21,414,779

 

Global Church Membership (End of year): 21,556,837

 

2020

 

May 29: North American Division issues statement condemning the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.

June 1: World Church president Ted Wilson laments the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and condemns "racism, bigotry, hatred, prejudice and violence in all its [sic] myriad forms."

June 5: NAD president Daniel R. Jackson issues statement condemning race-based police brutality.

June 7: Walter L. Pearson, Jr., dies in Maryland at age 74.

 

July 9: G. Alexander Bryant is elected president of the North American Division, the second black to hold the position.

2021

March 14: Charles A. Tapp is elected president of Potomac Conference.

April 14: Paul Douglass is elected Treasurer of the General Conference, the first black to hold the position.