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March 23, 2017

--by Kenneth J. Ross

Philadelphia’s importance as a center of African American history rests in part on its role as the birthplace of the nation’s first black churches. It was the churches which gave shape and protection to the emerging African American community in the urban North—educating their young, disciplining their members, and providing young and old with material support, moral guidance, and spiritual hope. Philadelphia saw both the...

March 16, 2017

"We never meant to destroy your house," insurgents told Munir Khoury when hostilities subsided in Jibrail, in Lebanon's Akkar region, in 1958. "It was the American's house we were aiming at."

The Khoury family were closely associated with the American missionaries Neale and Edith Alter, who founded the Jibrail Rural Fellowship Center (JRFC). From its experimental education efforts in 1943 until the dissolution of the property in 1967, Presbyterian mission work at Jibrail treated rural economic development as evangelism, pivoted to counter the threat of communism, and survived...

March 15, 2017

After viewing the groundbreaking movie Hidden Figures, which tells the story of three African American women mathematicians, I found myself searching for any and all information I could locate about the real life women the movie is based on.

I started with a fantastic book written by Margot Shetterly, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, and was pleasantly...

March 9, 2017

We've recently transferred to digital video a silent home movie from the 1930s, shot by the Presbyterian missionaries to Thailand Kenneth and Margaretta Wells, part of Record Group 268. Their family's tame gibbon, Bimbo, is the star of the show.

Bimbo lived with the Wells family for four years while Kenneth and Margaretta taught at...

March 1, 2017

This year the Presbyterian Church of Korea celebrates the 110th anniversary of its first presbytery meeting. But Presbyterianism in Korea did not begin in 1907. It began 23 years earlier, in the tense aftermath of an assassination attempt.

Although there had been Christianity in the “Hermit Kingdom” since the 17th century, including Roman Catholic Jesuit missionaries, the first Protestant...

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