Theodore S. Wright (1797-1847) was an African-American abolitionist and minister who was active in New York City, where he led the First Colored Presbyterian Church as its second pastor. He was the first African American to attend Princeton Theological Seminary (and any United States theological seminary), from which he graduated in 1829. In 1833 he was a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and served on its executive committee until 1840.
Theodore Sedgwick Wright was born about 1797 to free parents. He is believed to have moved into New York City with his family, where he attended the African Free School. With the aid of Governor DeWitt Clinton and Arthur Tappan of the New York Manumission Society, and men from Princeton Theological Seminary, Wright was aided in his studies at the graduate seminary. In 1829 he was the first African American to graduate from there, and the first to complete theological studies at a seminary in the United States.
Before 1833, Wright was called as the second minister of New York’s First Colored Presbyterian Church and served there the rest of his life. (It was later known as Shiloh Presbyterian Church and is now St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem.) He followed the founder, Samuel Cornish. Continue reading
Oscar James Dunn (1826 – November 22, 1871) was one of three African Americans who served as a Republican Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana during the era of Reconstruction. In 1868, Dunn became the first elected black lieutenant governor of a U.S. state. He ran on the ticket headed by Henry Clay Warmoth, formerly of Illinois. After Dunn died in office, then-state Senator P. B. S. Pinchback, another black Republican, became lieutenant governor and thereafter governor for a 34-day interim period.
On December 22, 1866, Dunn testified before a select committee appointed to investigate the New Orleans Riot of July 30, 1866. He told the committee that he was “born in New Orleans in 1826 and was about forty-one years old”. His parents were James and Maria Dunn. His father, James Dunn of Petersburg, Virginia, had been emancipated in 1819 by James H. Caldwell in New Orleans. James Dunn became a free man of color and later emancipated his wife, Maria, and their two children, Oscar and Jane, in 1832. James Dunn worked as a carpenter for James H. Caldwell (founder of the St. Charles Theatre and New Orleans Gas Light Company); Maria Dunn ran a boarding house for actors and actresses that came to perform at the Caldwell theatres. Continue reading
Lemuel Haynes was the first black to serve as minister to a white congregation.
Little is known of his early life. He was born in West Hartford, Connecticut, to a reportedly Caucasian mother of some status and a man named Haynes, who was said to be “of some form of African extraction”. According to the African American National Biography, his birth date is 18 July 1753 and he died the 28 September 1833.
At the age of five months, Lemuel Haynes was given over to indentured servitude in Granville, Massachusetts. Although serving as an agricultural worker, part of the agreement required educating him. Through accompanying his masters to church, he became exposed to Calvinistic thought. At about twenty years of age, he saw the Aurora Borealis, and, fearing the approach of the Day of Judgment as a result, he soon accepted Christianity. Continue reading
William Hastie had one of the most distinguished careers as an earlier Black political pioneer but today remains unknown to most Americans. As a politician, an educator and a jurist, Hastie made inroads and left a legacy that is hard to match in history.
William Hastie was born on November 17, 1904 in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of William, a clerk in the United States Pension Office and Roberta, a school teacher. After the family moved to Washington D.C. in 1916, William attended Paul Lawrence Dunbar high school where he excelled as a student athlete and graduated as the school valedictorian in 1921. He attended Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts where he majored i mathematics. He graduated from the school in 1925 where he finished first in his class and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude and the valedictorian of his class. After teaching for two years in Brodertown, New Jersey, he attended Harvard Law School where he was a member of the law review and graduated with an LL.B. in 1930. Continue reading
In 1919, Alice Parker of Morristown, New Jersey, invented a new and improved gas heating furnace that provided central heating.
The National Medical Association (NMA) is the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the United States. The NMA is a 501 (c) (3) national professional and scientific organization representing the interests of more than 30,000 African American physicians and the patients they serve, with nearly 112 affiliated societies throughout the nation and U.S. territories. The National Medical Association has been firmly established in a leadership role in medicine.
The NMA is committed to improving the quality of health among minorities and disadvantaged people through its membership, professional development, community health education, advocacy, research and partnerships with federal and private agencies. Throughout its history the National Medical Association has focused primarily on health issues related to African Americans and medically underserved populations; however, its principles, goals, initiatives and philosophy encompass all ethnic groups. Continue reading