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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 19, 2020

Recently processed and now available for research at PHS are the personal papers of two prominent African American leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): Gayraud Wilmore and J. Oscar McCloud.

Rev. Wilmore’s papers were brought to the Society by his son Jack and daughter-in-law Carmen in July 2019. Rev. McCloud began donating his papers to the Society in 1999 and also deposited the last few boxes in July. Since then, I've had the privilege to prepare both collections for researchers.

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February 18, 2020

--by Lisa Jacobson, Senior Reference Archivist

As Presbyterians around the country prepare to gather in Baltimore for the 224th General Assembly this summer, the Presbyterian Historical Society is highlighting Baltimore’s Presbyterian history. Today we look at two historically African American congregations: Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and Grace Presbyterian Church. 

Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church

For at least 175 years,...

September 26, 2019
Gayraud S. Wilmore, Jr., 1960. [Pearl ID: 5065]

--by Douglas H. Brown Clark

A New Black Presbyterian Church

One spring day in 1937, a few white Presbyterians approached two black community leaders on a street corner in North Philadelphia. The white Presbyterians’ local church had been dwindling. African Americans had been moving into the community from the American South in droves as a part of the Great Migration, and...

July 8, 2019
 

--by Ira Dworkin

I first visited the Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) in Montreat, North Carolina, in 2002 when I began working on Congo Love Song: African American Culture and the Crisis of the Colonial State. The Montreat branch is now closed, but most of its holdings are at PHS in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, including the papers of the ...

February 20, 2019

--by Kenneth J. Ross

Two hundred years ago, in 1819, the Presbytery of Philadelphia launched Samuel Eli Cornish (1795–1858) into a remarkable career as minister, evangelist, missionary, publisher, and social reformer.[i] Following a rigorous two-year program of intellectual, practical, and theological training, Cornish became the first African-American preacher to be licensed by the presbytery, making him one of the first African-American ministers in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

For a year, he preached among...

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