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There have never been more resources available at the swipe or press of a finger! This is now especially true of materials on Seventh-day Adventist history, which numerous church entities have  made available on the web. Here are essential websites for those wishing to research any aspect of black Seventh-day Adventism, be it biography, theology, genealogy, local church, church structure, institutions, etc.

Google, or Other Search Engine

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It's probably best to start any research project off with a search on a search engine, be it Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. A thorough search should include one for the subject alone, and then a search for the subject plus additional terms (e.g., "G.E. Peters" plus "Adventist" or "SDA"). For Google, go four to five pages into the search, and also be sure to explore the Images, Videos, and Books tabs.

General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research

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This is the site of the official archives of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, located in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. It is home to some two million pages of materials, including official church periodicals, GC session and NAD minutes, the Annual Statistical Report, and the SDA Yearbook. Below are the links that those researching black SDA history will find especially useful.

 

Periodicals: Any name or search term can be plugged in here. Bear in mind that search terms more than one word should contain quotation marks.

 

Review and Herald (1850-1998): This is the best source for primary source information on the Seventh-day Adventist past. Perform searches here for names of black people, local churches, locales, etc.

 

The Gospel Herald (1898-1923): Begun by James Edson White as an organ for the Southern Missionary Society's evangelistic and educational efforts in the Deep South, these issues contain eyewitness reports of the early work in the South.

 

The North American Informant (1946-1978): With the inauguration of Regional Conferences, this was the organ of Black Adventism in the United States. It was replaced by The North American Regional Voice.

 

The North American Regional Voice (1979-1990): This periodical contains invaluable information on Regional Conferences in their golden age.

 

Adventist Heritage (1974-1998): Solely dedicated to Adventist history, this journal is a gem. There could have been more on ethnic Adventism, but there are occasional issues that feature articles on the topic.

 

Note: The Periodicals website also features conference and union periodicals. These will contain stories and updates on items pertinent to the black work.

 

Minutes: Here are minutes of official church boards, committees, councils and meetings. Spring Meeting and Annual (Fall and Autumn) Council minutes can be found in the General Conference Committee Minutes. Items on the black work are in abundance in the North American Division Minutes. The General Conference Session Minutes are also a gold mine.

 

Books: Performing a general search in this section is advised. There are general histories of the church that have sections on the black work, although most of these are extracted here. These are the books completely dedicated to aspects of black Adventist history: A Place Called Oakwood, E.G. White and Church Race Relations, Lights and Shades in the Black Belt, Mission to Black America,  People of Providence, Telling the Story, The Christian Experience of William E. Foy, and The Southern Work.

 

Sabbath School Quarterlies: Every Sabbath School Quarterly, except for within two years of the most current issue, is here. There have been a number of black authors of quarterlies, and if one wishes to do a study of the contribution of blacks to Adventist theology, this is a good place to begin.

 

Regional Conference Origins, Parts 1-3: These are compilations of original documents on the black work, with a focus on 1940-1945. There is a good deal of minutes, but also correspondence and manuscripts from the GC Archives vault.

 

SDA Yearbook (1884-Present): This is the official record of the church employees and institutions in a given year, and this page contains each Yearbook that the church has produced.

 

Annual Statistical Report (1899-Present): This official annual church publication contains the essential stats of the church.

 

Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists

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This official church reference work has thousands of articles on all aspects of Adventist history: biographies, countries, institutions, administrative units, etc. A work in progress, there are already hundreds of articles on black Adventism, and their number will only increase with time.

Adventist Digital Library

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ADL is geared to be the clearinghouse for Adventist history resources on the internet. Although at this early stage it is still amassing materials, it boasts an impressive amount of sources. Searches can be done in specific collections, or over the entire site.

Center for Adventist Research

CAR is home to one of the largest manuscript collections in the Adventist Church (most of which have not been digitized). Although it has moved much of its online holdings to ADL, the SDA Periodical Index and Obituary Index is useful for finding articles in Adventist periodicals (searchable by title or author) and obituaries of Adventist people. The Periodicals section of the GC Archives should have most of the full articles and obituaries that your searches yield; for the others, you may have to visit the archives/back issues section on the relevant periodical's website.

Ellen G. White Estate

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The Ellen G. White Estate now has several websites that can assist in your research. Most important is egwwritings.org which now has all of Ellen White's writings, including the previously unreleased 40,000 pages that were made available on this site upon the centenary of her death in 2015. Also on this site is the Adventist Pioneer Library, which can be searched by selecting the title in the left-hand menu. Although an exhaustive compilation of White's statements on blacks is now available, searches on black SDA topics can be done over all of White's corpus.

 

Ellenwhite.org also contains a wealth of materials on the life of Ellen White and those with whom she interacted. In the Resources tab you will notice that the White Estate is steadily uploading the incoming letters to Ellen White.

Digital Commons at Andrews University

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Digital Commons has made available for free download thousands of dissertations, theses, and other academic papers from Andrews University, a scholarly center of Adventism. Searches can be done over all the holdings, or for dissertations and theses.

Eva B. Dykes Library at Oakwood University

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Web Research

Oakwood University is Adventism's sole HBCU, and thus has been both a training ground and headquarters for the black work. This site contains most of Oakwood's bulletins and yearbooks.

Office of Regional Conference Ministries

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This is the official site of Regional Conferences, and those looking for information on black history will especially value the Regional Voice archive from 2015 to the present.

Loma Linda University Archives

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Loma Linda specializes in the archives of its university, but also contains holdings on Millerism and early Adventism.

Genealogy Sites

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Genealogy sites such as Ancestry.com, Heritagequest, Familysearch.org, and others contain invaluable primary source materials on people of yesterday such as birth, marriage, and death records; censuses; applications; passport information; obituaries, and other items essential to piecing together the past. Many libraries provide users free access to these genealogical sites through their webpages.

 

 

Newspaper Sites

 

Newspaper sites are invaluable for coverage on Adventists, especially those that were of interest to those beyond the church.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_online_newspaper_archives

https://www.readex.com/products/americas-historical-newspapers

 

http://icon.crl.edu/digitization.php

 

https://labs.loc.gov/experiments/viewshare

 

https://www.newspapers.com/

 

https://nyheritage.org/

 

http://libguides.bgsu.edu/USNewspapersInternet

 

http://www.fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html

https://www.genealogybank.com/explore/newspapers/all

https://www.americanantiquarian.org/

Timeline of Black Adventist History

1865-1899

Compiled by Benjamin Baker 

1865  

 

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

 

 

1866  

 

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

 

 

 

1867              

 

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

 

Churches: 160

 

End Membership: 4,320

 

 

 

1868  

 

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

 

 

 

1869

 

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

 

Churches: 167

 

Beginning Membership: 4,475

 

End Membership: 4,900

 

 

 

1870

 

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

 

 

 

1871

 

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

 

 

 

1872  

 

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

 

Churches: 204

 

Beginning Membership: 4,550

 

End Membership: 4,901

 

 

 

1873  

 

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

 

 

 

1874

 

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.

 

 

 

1875              

 

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

 

 

 

1876  

 

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

 

 

 

1877  

 

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

 

 

 

1878

 

 

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

 

 

 

1879  

 

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