Since This Is Black History Month pt. 2…..

Name a deceased African-American Unitarian Universalist who isn’t a minister.


13 thoughts on “Since This Is Black History Month pt. 2…..

  1. Pingback: UU blogs react to staff changes, reimagine worship, and more « : The Interdependent Web

  2. And the centenary of Frances Harper’s death will be celebrated in Philadelphia with a series of events Feb. 20-27 — the events will be streamed live at

    I have the advantage of having an early draft of Mark Morrison-Reed’s new book to look through. I also have the advantage of having served in a congregation that has had African American members off and on since 1785 (more off than on, mind you) — First Unitarian in New Bedford, the inheritor of a Universalist and two other Unitarian churches in a city with a long history of racial tolerance, going back to its days as a terminus of the Underground Railroad.

    Fannie Williams, who was friends with Celia Parker Woolley, one of the 19th C. women Unitarian ministers — she doesn’t have a national reputation any more, but is known in theChicago area.

    Nathan Johnson, the Underground Railroad conductor who took Frederick Douglass into his home on Douglass’s first night of freedom in New Bedford, was a Universalist for several years, before he became a Spiritualist (many Universalists in the 19th C. became Spiritualists).

    Venture Chaffee, who had purchased his freedom in 1770, became a member of the Unitarian church in New Bedford in 1785.

    James Toatley, an up-and-coming sculptor who died young, was a member of First Unitarian Church in New Bedford up till his death in 1986.

    Hester C. Whitehurst (1843-1934), suffragette, member of First Unitarian Rochester.

    Lewis Lattimer (1848-1928), inventor.

    I’m assuming you want names of individuals who have some kind of regional or national reputation, but there were also a number of lesser known and unknown African American UUs who were just members of congregations, e.g., deceased members of the Free Religious Fellowship in Chicago, the Norfolk, Virginia, African American Universalist church in the early 20th C., etc. An example: Edward D. Smith-Green, member of Fourth Unitarian in Brooklyn, who wrote an article for the Christian Register, then the Unitarian periodical. The Crafts, members of Theodore Parker’s 28th Congregational Society in Boston, whom Parker helped to escape to London after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law.

    • Hi Dan,
      Yes…I was/am looking to see how many people could name African American UUs of national or regional reputation. There is a reason for that. I’ll probably write bout that next week.

      • Can’t wait until Hispanic Heritage Month rolls around (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), and people try to name Hispanic UUs with national reputations. Or Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month (that would be May). Black History Month is embarrassing enough, but when those other two months roll around, Unitarian Universalism really starts looking like a white ethnic church.

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