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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

February 9, 2017

--by Richard Reifsnyder

Among the pleasant surprises of my 45th reunion at Yale Divinity School was the discovery that the seminary had given long overdue recognition to James W.C. Pennington, the first African American to attend Yale. A room and scholarship were dedicated in his honor and a portrait hung in the common room with other theological luminaries.[1] In a time...

January 26, 2017

In celebration of the contributions of African American mission workers, here's another story from Record Group 424, our collection of missionary personnel files from 1924-2002.

Marsha Snulligan Haney and her husband Willie were mission workers in Cameroon from 1982 to 1987. Marsha was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her early experiences of racism, including being refused service at restaurants in the South, fueled her dedication to fight racial injustice through her faith. In her application to mission...

January 20, 2017

The Southern Presbyterian Church's only college for African Americans for more than 140 years, Tuscaloosa's Stillman College has equipped candidates for ministry, molded prominent African American Presbyterian missionaries, educated nurses and yeoman farmers, and brought football fans heroes of the gridiron--including the inestimable Junior Galette.

Before the Civil War, systematic education of the...

October 12, 2016

While completing the processing of Record Group 424, our collection of missionary personnel files from 1924-2002, the stories of various African American missionaries stood out. Especially the story of missionary couple Howard and Verna Mwikuta, who were appointed Volunteers in Mission from 1983-1985 in the administrative capacity with Procure and the Christian Literature Program in Zaire.

Howard was born in 1941 in a village outside Ndola, in what was then Northern Rhodesia. His parents died when he was...

September 19, 2016

In anticipation of #GA223, let PHS introduce you to a historic St. Louis congregation!

In the 1890s, Mary Jane Thompson, a freedwoman, began teaching reading, writing, and the Bible to African American children, using the basement of St. Louis' Washington-Compton Presbyterian Church. The school grew into a mission church, and was formally organized by the Presbytery of St. Louis in 1898 as Leonard Avenue Presbyterian Church. In 1908 the congregation's first full-time pastor, Selden Parr, moved the church to Pine Street...

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