Katie Geneva Cannon Digital Collection
The Katie Geneva Cannon Digital Collection began in 2021 with the goal of having a single online repository for the personal records of Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, the first Black woman ordained in the Presbyterian Church and a founding voice in womanist theology.
In collaboration with Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond and The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary (Columbia University Libraries), the Presbyterian Historical Society has digitized over 450 sermons, lectures, and writings of Cannon's—all accessible through Pearl Digital Collections.
Katie Geneva Cannon was the first Black woman ordained a minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church. She was born in 1950 in the Fisher Town neighborhood of Kannapolis, N.C., one of the seven children of Corine and Esau Cannon. She graduated from Barber-Scotia College (Concord, N.C.), completed a Doctor of Divinity at Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, and was the first African American to complete a Doctor of Philosophy at Union Theological Seminary (New York, N.Y.). She was ordained by the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Presbytery of Catawba in 1974. A founding voice in Womanist theology, Cannon taught at Temple University, and Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond, Va.). In 2018 she founded the Center for Womanist Ethics at Union in Richmond; she died August 8, 2018.
In 2021 the Presbyterian Historical Society, The Center for Womanist Leadership at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, and The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary (Columbia University Libraries) partnered to unite the records Dr. Cannon distributed across the institutions.
Over a two-year period, PHS staff scanned Cannon's records and made them available through Pearl Digital Collections, the Society's online archive. Cannon's enormous influence as an educator and theologian can be experienced through her digitized sermons and writings.
This collection was made possible through collaboration with The Center for Womanist Leadership at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary (Columbia University Libraries), and with support from donations made to the African American Leaders and Congregations Collecting Initiative.