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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.

August 9, 2021

"The Negroes and the Puerto Ricans have had it."

So wrote Graydon McClellan, executive presbyter of the Presbytery of New York, in a 1965 pastoral letter supporting the activism of one of its minister members, Milton Arthur Galamison, who had just led a march of students through Harlem in protest of the continued segregation of New York's public schools, and the subordinate treatment of Black and Puerto Rican children. 

"Mr. Galamison dramatically represents that fact. The people he leads are not out to win our favor or approbationbut to win educational...

July 26, 2021

In June 1996, the Rev. Dr. Mac Charles Jones led 38 pastors to Washington DC. These pastors had all served church buildings that were burned by white supremacists. For two days, the pastors met with the President of the United States, the attorney general, and members of Congress to share how the fires impacted their church communities and the racism they experienced in the aftermath of the arson. The pastors sharing their stories led to the creation of the...

July 7, 2021
Documents in Gayraud Wilmore's collection from his work with Black Presbyterians United. [Pearl ID: 160325 and 160390]

The Presbyterian Historical Society needs your help to document African American lives, work, and witness in our increasingly multicultural Church.

Through the...

June 24, 2021

As early as 1856, African American Presbyterian ministers had gathered in caucuses, beginning with the Evangelical Association of Colored Ministers of Congregational and Presbyterian Churches, organized at Shiloh Presbyterian Church in New York City. From 1957 until 1968, however, there was no national gathering of Black Presbyterians. With the understanding that Black Presbyterians during the foment of Black Power had a responsibility to change the majority-white...

May 26, 2021
Overhead view of Tulsa, 1928. Watch Tulsa General Assembly film here.

On June 1, 1921 the Black section of Tulsa, Oklahoma--Greenwood, known as Black Wall Street, where Black migrants from the South had prospered in the city’s oil boom--was burned down by white rioters. The governor called in the National Guard and evacuated Tulsa’s Black population, some 6,000 people, to the city convention center and fairgrounds. Three hundred people are estimated to have...

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