Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Outreach/African American Adventist Heritage in the NAD
|African American Adventist Heritage in the NAD|
| North American Division
|| Skill Level 1
Year of Introduction: 2010
- 1 The purpose of this honor is to illustrate how God has led within the Adventist church to share His message through the events, places, and contributions of the people of a specific cultural group.
- 2 1. Who was William E. Foy and how did he become involved in the Millerite movement?
- 3 2. Name two African American preachers of the Millerite Movement and learn how God used them to share His message.
- 4 3. Learn about 3 African American abolitionists who were influenced by the Advent movement.
- 5 4. Name the first African American ordained minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
- 6 5. When was the first African American Seventh-day Adventist Church organized?
- 7 6. What was the “Morning Star”?
- 8 7. Name two historical African American publications.
- 9 8. Why was the first African American Adventist Camp Meeting held?
- 10 9. Name the first African American Adventist College and how did it receive its name
- 11 10. Who was Anna Knight?
- 12 11. In 1934 who became the first African American Master Comrade (Master Guide) to be invested?
- 13 12. Who became the first African American Vice President of the General Conference?
- 14 13. Name the first African American to serve as President of the North American Division.
- 15 14. When was the first Regional Conference approved?
- 16 15. Do one of the following as a presentation at an Adventist Youth/Pathfinder Meeting, campout, or other equivalent event
- 16.1 a. Create a song, poem, story or skit about African American Adventist pioneers.
- 16.2 b. Create a display of pictures, articles, and resource materials on five (5) African American leaders in your local conference or church.
- 16.3 c. Search the scriptures for at least three stories of people of color and write a one-page review of these stories: (Some resources include – Exodus 4:9-16; Exodus 18; Acts 8)
- 17 References
Earning this honor meets a requirement for:
This explanation provides context to the Honor and forms part of the official requirements.
1. Who was William E. Foy and how did he become involved in the Millerite movement?
A Millerite preacher, of interest to Seventh-day Adventists because his name is occasionally mentioned as one who in 1842 and 1844 had visions relating to the Adventist (Millerite) movement. He was described as a tall, light-skinned Black man, an eloquent speaker. He lived in New England and as a young man in 1835 gave his heart to Christ. Sometime thereafter he became a member of the Freewill Baptist Church. However, in 1842 he was preparing to take holy orders as an Episcopal minister. It was at this time that he had two visions relating to the near advent of Christ and to last-day events. Prior to this, while deeply religious, he had been, by his own testimony, “opposed to the doctrine of Jesus’ near approach,” but after the visions he joined the Millerites in heralding the message of the expectation of Christ’s coming.
The account of two initial visions of William Foy, together with a brief sketch of his Christian experience, was published in 1845 in pamphlet form in Portland, Maine. The first occurred Jan. 18, 1842, while he was attending a prayer service in Boston on Southark Street. According to eyewitnesses he was in vision two and a half hours. The pamphlet includes the statement of a physician who examined him during a vision and testified that he could find no appearance of life “except around the heart.” As Foy declared: “My breath left me.”
In the first vision, Foy saw the reward of the faithful and the punishment of sinners. Although he felt it his duty to tell what he had seen, he made the excuse that he had not been instructed to relate it. Finding no peace of mind, he had a description of the vision printed, but it was a “very imperfect sketch.” In a second vision, on Feb. 4, 1842, in which he saw multitudes of those who had not died and those who had been raised from the dead being assembled to receive their reward, he heard the instruction that he was to reveal what he had seen and to warn his fellow creatures to flee from the wrath to come.
Foy’s unwillingness to relate to others what he had seen stemmed not only from the prejudice of the Millerites against any who claimed to have divine revelations but also, he said, from “the prejudice among the people against those of my color.” He questioned in his mind, “Why should these things be given to me, to bear to the world?”
On Feb. 6, 1842, the pastor of the Bloomfield Street church in Boston called upon Foy to relate the visions in his house of worship. He consented reluctantly, and the next afternoon he faced a large congregation. As he began to speak, his fear left him, and he related with great freedom the things he had seen.
After this he traveled for three months delivering his messages to crowded houses of many denominations. When speaking, he wore the robes of the Episcopal clergy. As he graphically described the heavenly world, the New Jerusalem, and the compassionate love of Christ, and exhorted the unconverted to seek God, many responded to his entreaties. However, because his family needed support, Foy, after three months, retired from public work to labor with his hands. Three months later, feeling impelled to deliver his message, he again took up his public ministry, expecting soon to see his Saviour.
Ellen Harmon heard Foy speak in Beethoven Hall in her home city, Portland, Maine, when she was but a girl. According to J. N. Loughborough, Foy had a third vision near the time of the expectation in 1844 in which he saw three platforms, which he could not understand in the light of his belief in the imminent coming of Christ. In perplexity he ceased public work.
Some have questioned the genuineness of William Foy’s experience, but others have felt that the “visions bore clear evidence of being the genuine manifestations of the Spirit of God” (Loughborough, The Great Second Advent Movement, p. 146). Ellen White in a 1912 interview (EGW Document File 231) reported that she had talked with him once when he was present in a meeting in which she was relating her own early visions, and that he had said that her account was just what he had seen. She apparently regarded his experience as genuine.
The Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2002
William Ellis Foy, a Baptist training for the ministry in Boston, was an eloquent speaker with an impressive command of the language. He was arguably the most controversial of Black Millerite preachers because he received visions during the two years just preceding the Great Disappointment.
We know that Foy hesitated to relate what he had seen, as had others, including Ellen White. In addition to the ridicule that one would experience just for being a Millerite, he no doubt felt he would suffer additionally because of being a Black man during that time.
Information about Foy was scant or confusing until the book The Unknown Prophet was written by Delbert Baker. Now we know that he joined other Black preachers of that period in successfully communicating the Advent message to both Black and White audiences." His visions bore the stamp of divine origin.
William Foy's grave (spelled Foye on the tombstone) is located at the very back of the Birch Tree cemetery in East Sullivan, Maine. His stone reads:
Rev. William E. Foye Died in Plantation No. 7 Nov. 9, 1893 Age 74 years
Info from www.WhiteEstate.org:
William E. Foy, a member of the Freewill Baptist Church, who was preparing for the ministry, was given two visions in Boston in 1842—one on January 18 and the other on February 4. In the first of these revelations, Foy viewed the glorious reward of the faithful and the punishment of sinners. Not being instructed to relate to others what was shown him, he told no one of his vision; but he had no peace of mind. In the second revelation he witnessed the multitudes of earth arraigned before heaven's bar of judgment; a “mighty angel” with silver trumpet in hand about to descend to earth by “three steps;” the books of record in heaven; the coming of Christ and the reward of the faithful. He was bidden, “Thou must reveal those things which thou hast seen, and also warn thy fellow creatures to flee from the wrath to come.”—The Christian Experience of Wm. E. Foy, Together With the Two Visions He Received (1845).
Two days after this revelation he was requested by the pastor of the Bloomfield Street church in Boston to relate the visions. Although he was a fluent speaker, he reluctantly complied, fearing that the general prejudice against visions, and the fact that he was a mulatto, would make his work difficult. The “large congregation assembled” was spellbound, and with this initial encouragement, Foy traveled three months, delivering his message to “crowded houses.” Then to secure means to support his family, he left public work for a time, but, finding “no rest day nor night,” he took it up again. Ellen Harmon, when but a girl, heard him speak at Beethoven Hall in Portland, Maine. (Interview of D. E. Robinson with Mrs. E. G. White, 1912. White Publications, D.F. 231.)
Near the time of the expectation in 1844, according to J. N. Loughborough, Foy was given a third vision in which were presented three platforms, which he could not understand in the light of his belief in the imminent coming of Christ, and he ceased public work. (The Great Second Advent Movement, pages 146, 147.)
It so happened that a short time after this, Foy was present at a meeting in which Ellen Harmon related her first visions. She did not know that he was present until he interrupted with a shout, and exclaimed that it was just what he had seen. (D.F. 231.) Foy did not live long after this.
Delbert W Baker wrote The Unknown Prophet, the story of William Foy (160 pages, Review and Herald).
William Ellis Foy - He was a preacher in the Millerite movement, plus God called him to be a prophet, but knowing the prejudice against his race, he was afraid and God had to call someone else. See requirement #1 answer.
Charles Bowles - He was a Millerite preacher in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
3. Learn about 3 African American abolitionists who were influenced by the Advent movement.
A good resource on Black Adventist History
In 1843 Sojourner Truth (formerly Isabella Van Wagener) visited at least two Millerite camp meetings. She accepts the Advent teachings. It is believed she was baptized by Uriah Smith in Battle Creek. She dies around 86 years of age and is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery, in Battle Creek, close to the grave of Ellen G. White and other Adventist pioneers.
In 1833 Frederick Douglass witnessed the falling of the stars. Douglass writes his account in his book My Bondage and My Freedom. His daughter, Rosetta Douglass Sprague, later becomes a Seventh-day Adventist and was active in an early black Washington DC congregation.
William Still is often called "The Father of the Underground Railroad". 1841 A black preacher and businessman, accepted the Millerite teachings in 1841 and later experiencedthe Great Disappointment.
Still helped as many as 800 slaves escape to freedom. He interviewed each person and kept careful records, including a brief biography and the destination for each, along with any alias adopted. He kept his records carefully hidden but knew the accounts would be critical in aiding the future reunion of family members who became separated under slavery, which he had learned when he aided his own brother Peter, whom he had previously never met before but identified when he was interviewing Peter in his office and heard stories matching those his mother told him.
Still worked with other Underground Railroad agents operating in the South and in many counties in southern Pennsylvania. His network to freedom also included agents in New Jersey, New York, New England and Canada. Conductor Harriet Tubman traveled through his office with fellow passengers on several occasions during the 1850s and Still forged a connection with the family of John Brown.
After the Civil War, Still published an account of the Underground Railroad, The Underground Railroad Records (1872), based on the secret notes he had kept in diaries during those years. His book has been integral to the history of these years, as he carefully recorded many details of the workings of the Underground Railroad. It went through three editions and in 1876 was displayed at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. (It is available as a free e-text on Project Gutenberg.)
NOTE: We still need better details. Follow the links to the Wikipedia articles and search the net to learn more.
4. Name the first African American ordained minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
We suggest reading this short article about Kinny.
a. Where was he born and raised?
Charles Kinney was born a slave in Richmond, VA in 1855. (A Star Gives Light - The Seventh-day Adventist African-American Heritage Teacher's Resource Guide.1989. p23) We don't know how he became educated, but by his early 20's he was a clear effective writer and meticulous recordkeeper.
b. Where did he travel to and with whom?
At about age 11, Charles Kinny moved westward to Reno, NV with a band of freed slaves after the end of the Civil War.
From 1883 to 1885 he was sponsored to Healdsburg (now Pacific Union College) Ellen White was also living during his time there and Kinny must have heard her preach often. He was then sent to Kansas and St. Louis, Missouri. He transferred to Louisville, Kentucky in 1889.
Kinny traveled extensively, usually alone, working for the Church. Attached directly to the General Conference, he would write weekly to the headquarters reporting on his work and movements. Much of what Adventist learned about work in the South cames from his Review and Herald articles.
c. What minister influenced him and where was he baptized?
Kinney was won to the Adventist faith through the preaching of J. N. Loughborough and E. G. White in Reno, NV. He was one of 7 founding members of the Reno Church, and quickly distinguished himself as head of the tract society for the state. The church sent him to PUC where he received a college education.
Charles Kinney becomes first black, ordained SDA minister in 1889. He was one of the major pioneers in the black work, founding at least 6 churches: Edgefield, Louisville, Bowling Green, New Orleans, Nashville, and Birmingham. Charles also was the first to call for Black Conferences. Ibid p25 26 While the source says he founded Edgefield, another source says he worked there about 7 years later.
As the only black Adventist minister in the United States for many years, Kinny was tasked with shaping how ministry to blacks was performed.
5. When was the first African American Seventh-day Adventist Church organized?
a. Why was it organized?
To give African American believers a church home to worship in with members of their cultural group.
b. Where was it located?
1886 The first black SDA congregation was formed in Edgefield Junction (Madison), Tennessee
6. What was the “Morning Star”?
a. Why was it built and who encouraged this endeavor?
Edson White, Ellen and James White's son, built the Morning Star, a steamship, in 1894 to carry the gospel to African-Americans. In order for them to read the Bible Edson had to teach them to read. This got him in trouble with white Southerners, so he had to flee many times. Ellen White was the one who encouraged Edson in this endeavor.
b. How and where was the Morning Star used?
The Morning Star was used to educate and bring the gospel to African-Americans along the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers. Especially at Memphis and Vicksburg. They started churches and schools for African- Americans in the South including 40 schools in Vicksburg. They also started the Southern Missionary Society in Yazoo City.
c. Learn about several individuals that were instrumental in this work.
Edson White (son of James and Ellen White) and Will Palmer headed the endeavor. Finis Parker, a black teenager, was the pilot. Alonzo Parker, a black preacher, also assisted. A Star Gives Light, Teachers' resource Guide. Publ. by the Southern Union Conference Office of Education, 1989. p27-29
The use of black crew, who slept on the same boat and ate with the white missionaries, was very controversial.
d. Discover at least one miracle that occurred on the Morning Star.
We suggest checking this book:
Mission to Black America; the true story of Edson White and the riverboat Morning Star, Author: Ronald D Graybill Publisher: Mountain View, Calif., Pacific Press Pub. Association 
7. Name two historical African American publications.
a. Who began each publication?
1. The Gospel Herald was begun by Edson White (Ellen White's son) at Yazoo City, Mississippi. It is designed to be an evangelistic journal for Black people.
2. Message was the successor of the Gospel Herald, and thus it was Edson White's brain-child, but it didn't get off the ground until 1934. Its first editor was R. B. Thurber. "A Star Gives Light," p118
A more detailed history by Delbert W. Baker, (Ph.D., former editor of MESSAGE, current vice president of General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists) can be found here on the Message website.
b. What is the current name of the NAD Publication for African Americans?
Message Follow link to the Message website for a brief history.
8. Why was the first African American Adventist Camp Meeting held?
a. When and where was this camp meeting held?
1901 First black SDA camp meeting, Edgefield Junction, Tennessee
b. How did God use the Camp Meeting to further His work?
Many people who became important African-American Adventist leaders were at this campmeeting. The editors of this answer key have not yet found a source of information to fully answer this question. If, while doing the honor, you can find something please add it here.
9. Name the first African American Adventist College and how did it receive its name
a. When and where was it founded?
The school first opened in 1896 with 16 students. Classes were offered in various trades and skills. In 1904, the name was changed to Oakwood Manual Training School, and it was chartered to grant degrees in 1907. In 1917, the school offered its first instruction at the postsecondary level, and in that same year it changed its name to Oakwood Junior College. In 1944, the name Oakwood College was adopted. The first bachelor’s degrees were awarded in 1945. Oakwood College received its initial accreditation from SACS in 1958, and in 2007, the college received approval to award graduate degrees. In response to this higher accreditation, the school's Board of Trustees and constituents voted to change the name of the institution again to Oakwood University of Seventh-day Adventists.
b. Who located the site for the school?
In 1896 a 360-acre plot in Huntsville, Alabama, came to the attention of the General Conference. An envoy of three men was sent to survey the land: O.A. Olsen, president of the General Conference; G.A. Irwin, director of the Southern District; and Harmon Lindsay, veteran church worker and former General Conference employee. Ellen G. White advised church leaders that God had revealed to her this was to be the spot for the school where African American Seventh-day Adventists would be educated and trained until the end of time. So the General Conference purchased the old Beasley Estate in 1896. The place was called Oakwood because of the 65 oaks that towered over the land. http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2011/02/08/how-oakwood-became-mecca-black-adventism
c. What was the size of the property chosen?
360 acres. Additional land has been acquired since then.
10. Who was Anna Knight?
a. Where and when was she born?
Born in Gitano, Mississippi, on March 4, 1874, Knight early developed an iron will and steel resolve that would characterize her life. She found educational opportunities for black children almost non-existant. On Sundays she would play with some white children, listening to them read and spell. With no paper or pencil available she practiced writing by scratching in the dirt with a stick.
Anna Knight is one of the most influential individuals in the history of Oakwood. Anna Knight was a fixture at Oakwood for nearly a half a century, beloved and respected, until her death on June 3, 1972. A building housing the elementary school at Oakwood was named Anna Knight Hall, but burned down in 1990.
b. What education did she obtain and from where?
In 1898 Anna Knight completed a nursing education studying under Dr. John Harvey Kellogg at Battle Creek College (forerunner to Andrews University). She started her first school near Gitano, MS with Dr Kelloggs help.
c. What became her life work?
Education. She also was the first black female missionary to India.
d. To what mission field was she the 1st overseas African American Seventh-day Adventist female Missionary?
Knight sailed to Calcutta, India to do missionary work, becoming the second black Adventist (of either gender) sent by the Seventh-day Adventist Church on foreign missions. She is also reported to be the first black woman missionary of any denomination to India.
11. In 1934 who became the first African American Master Comrade (Master Guide) to be invested?
Eva G. Strother (1906–1992) invested by John Hancock 
a. Where and when was she born?
Madison County, Alabama in 1906
b. What was her life work and whom did she serve for Christ?
Adventist Youth Ministry was her life's work.
12. Who became the first African American Vice President of the General Conference?
Frank L. Peterson became GC Vice-President in 1962 and served until retirement in 1966.
a. Where and when was he born?
Frank L Peterson was born in 1893 in Pensacola, Florida, the youngest of seven children of Frank and Lizzie Peterson. He died in Los Angeles age 76 in 1969.
b. Where did he obtain his education?
He graduated from Pacific Union College in 1916, the first African-American person to do so.
c. For what is he most remembered in his ministry?
Just a year after graduating, Peterson was hired as the first full-time black teacher at Oakwood Junior College (now Oakwood University). He was promoted to be the first known head of the music department in 1919, a program that included offerings in choir, band, orchestra, and instruments, plus a theory class. In 1925 he took an OJC male quartet he had organized on the first music tours by the college, traveling in the Midwest and South and on the East coast. These proved highly successful, the start of a touring tradition by OU music groups that has contributed significantly to the growth and success of the university. He also served as dean of men, and as an English and history teacher,
Peterson married Bessie Elston in 1922 and they had five children.
From 1926-1929 Peterson became assistant Missionary Volunteer (now Pathfinders), home missionary, and educational secretary in the Southern Union. Next he pastored the Berea Church in Boston and a year and a half later became secretary of the North American Regional Department (ministry to blacks).
In 1941 he became pastor of the Wadsworth church in Los Angeles, a position he held for four years.
Peterson served as the second black president of Oakwood from 1945-1954. Under his leadership, the faculty and students working together created the largest building expansion program in the school's history.
In 1962 he became the first black person to serve as a general vice-president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, a position he held until 1966, when he retired.
So Peterson was best known for education leadership.
Sources: We gathered this info from http://www.iamaonline.com/Bio/Frank_L._Peterson.htm which lists these sources: Sources: F.L. Bland, “Life Sketch of Frank Loris Peterson,” Review and Herald, 4 December 1969, 8; 1946 Acorn, Oakwood College yearbook; Adventist Heritage, Oakwood Edition, March 1996, 12, 28; Dobbins/Carter Family Tree, Ancestory .Com; “One Hundred Brief Facts about Oakwood College,” Minneola Dixon, 1990s flyer, 2;
13. Name the first African American to serve as President of the North American Division.
Elder Charles E Bradford in 1979.
Resources on Elder Bradford
- A profile was published in May 2000 in the Adventist Review. A good read.
- Bradford, Charles E., compiled by William and Noelene Johnsson. 1990. The Wit and Wisdom of Charles Bradford. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.
- Lee, Harold L. and Sahlin, Monte. 2006. Brad: Visionary Spiritual Leadership. Lincoln, NE: Center for Creative Ministry.
a. Where and when was he born?
Charles E Bradford was the last of eight children born to Robert and Etta Bradford in _____ . "My dad was an evangelist and pastor," he notes, "so we were almost nomadic." Although born in Washington, D.C., Bradford says his first memories come from the time the family lived in New Rochelle, New York, where the elder Bradford pastored a district of three churches. Bradford's mother was converted through the efforts of Edson White and team on the Morning Star.
The author of this answer key has been unable to find Bradford's birthday, so if you know, or want to call Elder Bradford and ask him, please fill in this detail.
b. Where did he obtain his education?
Bradford got his secondary and college education at Oakwood College (now Oakwood University) in Huntsville, Alabama. He holds a D.D. Doctor of Divinity.
c. For what is he most remembered in his ministry?
He was mainly an evangelist and church administrator. He was a strong preacher and wrote several books on preaching.
14. When was the first Regional Conference approved?
| Note: The editors of this answer book feel that there is an error in the official version of this requirement.
The structure of this requirement suggests that the question writer may not have known the answers or that the questions were corrupted during the approval process. See the questions and answers below for details.
a. Where was the first regional Conference?
Allegheny, Lake Region, and Northeastern conferences formed in 1945
b. What year was the first regional conference begun?
On October 8, 1931, Oakwood students refused to attend classes or work. Among the students’ grievances were: white leadership (there had been no black president and the administration was mostly white); inadequate curriculum; a work load that left no time for studies; segregation (white and black teachers were to have no social interaction); suspect white teachers (students claimed the teachers were rejects from white Adventist colleges); unjust salaries (white teachers were paid more than black teachers); inattention to student concerns; and inadequate employment opportunities after graduation. Many Adventists who would later became famous in the denomination and dedicate their lives to the gospel ministry were leaders in the strike, including Samuel Rashford, F.L. Bland and W.W. Fordham.
Ultimately the strike was successful. A new era began at Oakwood in 1932 when J.L. Moran became Oakwood’s first black president and an entirely black faculty was installed. Moran occupied this position until 1945, and the close of his tenure marked the beginning of Regional Conferences. This was a time when blacks came into their own in the Adventist church, assuming leadership positions over their own constituencies. With the assumption of the Oakwood presidency by Moran, Oakwood became a black-run institution, a symbol of black competence and ability amidst a region where such notions were not widely held. This black ascension to leadership was critical in ushering in Regional Conferences in 1945.
c. Name the first five regional conferences.
From 1945 to 1947, seven Black Conferences were formed: Allegheny, Lake Region, and Northeastern (1945), South Atlantic and South Central (1946), and Central States and Southwest Region (1947). In 1967 Allegheny divided into the Allegheny East and Allegheny West, while the South Atlantic divided into the South Atlantic and Southeastern Conferences in 1981. Regional Conferences were not formed in the two westernmost districts: Pacific and North Pacific Union Conferences. Work amongst the Black population in these areas was coordinated by a Regional Affairs Office. (Baker, “Regional Conferences”, p14.)
Also Bermuda is a separate black dominated and black led conference within the North American Division. It was established in 1900.
Perhaps the question intended to ask for the first 7 regional conferences. All 7 were organized by various Unions under the same historical conditions
d. In 1946 what Regional Conferences were added?
According to the quoted research, this question conflicts with question c, or at least is redundant. Perhaps the intended year in the question is 1947. See answer to c above.
15. Do one of the following as a presentation at an Adventist Youth/Pathfinder Meeting, campout, or other equivalent event
a. Create a song, poem, story or skit about African American Adventist pioneers.
Some potential pioneers to work with:
Eva B. Dykes become the first black woman in the United States to complete requirements for the Ph.D. degree (1921). She gave up a career at Howard to teach at Oakwood, helping it achieve accreditation.
This timeline contains many of the answers requested here and highlights African American pioneers worth learning more about. http://blacksdahistory.org/Timelines.html
Also check the list of pioneers in the Advanced Honor for ideas about who to tell about. Perhaps you want to combine research for the Advanced Honor with research for completing this requirement.
b. Create a display of pictures, articles, and resource materials on five (5) African American leaders in your local conference or church.
The information for this requirement will depend on where the Pathfinder lives. It will be more difficult in areas (like British Columbia) where there are very few black members. If that is the case, pick another option.
c. Search the scriptures for at least three stories of people of color and write a one-page review of these stories: (Some resources include – Exodus 4:9-16; Exodus 18; Acts 8)
The Bible rarely tells us what characters look like, and does not make a big deal about skin type because we are all God's children. We can, however, make some assumptions based on geographic and other word clues provided. We start with the assumption that people from Africa (outside of Egypt perhaps) are black.
Ham, son of Noah
According to the Bible, Ham was one of the sons of Noah and the father of Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan, who are interpreted as having populated Africa and adjoining parts of Asia. The Bible refers to Egypt as "the land of Ham" in Psalms 78:51; 105:23,27; 106:22; 1 Ch 4:40. Since the 17th century a number of suggestions have been made that relate the name Ham to a Hebrew word for burnt, black or hot, to an Egyptian word for servant or the Egyptian word Kmt for Egypt.
Exodus 4:9-16 This text discusses Moses and his brother Aaron in Egypt
Exodus 18 Is about Jethro, Moses father-in-law, Tzipporah (his daughter, Moses's wife) and their family from Midian. Midian is in the area of present day Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and since Moses visited Sinai before could include that area.
However in Numbers 1:12 "Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite." Cush is in Africa, in the area of present day Sudan and Ethiopia and Cushites should be very dark skinned. This seeming inconsistency has been debated by Jewish and Christian scholars, with various theories being advanced including:
- Moses has two wives. Since we know very little about his life between fleeing Egypt as a young man (say around 20) and the Exodus when Moses was about 80 years old,
- Moses had one wife, the daughter of Jethro, and she is described incorrectly as a Cushite.
- Jethro's group was actually black and only lived in the land of Mudian
- The meaning of Cushite is symbolic in some way, perhaps meaning she was attractive or dealing with her personality of actions somehow.
While some people use this apparent inconsistency to attack the integrity and truth of the Bible, this editor feels that this is just one of the areas the Bible does not give all the details or some knowledge has been lost to time. This would make a good research project, since there are many conflicting opinions to explore.
The Queen of Sheba
This Queen who visited Solomon was a strong, wise, powerful black woman. While there are many extra Biblical legends, perhaps the most interesting is that she returned to Ethiopia where she bore Solomon's son. He founded a dynasty that lasted until the the conquest of Ethiopia by the Italians in 1936.
The Ethiopian Eunuch
Acts 8 While Acts 8 deals with various phases of Philip's ministry the story of the Ethiopian eunuch is one of the clearer cases of presumed black African as a Bible character. However this man was a follower of the Jewish faith, and could be a Jew serving in the Ethiopian court.
Simon of Cyrene and his two sons
Simon from Cyrene, forced to carry Jesus Christ's cross, is often depicted in art as a black person. Since this event is station five or seven in the Stations of the Cross or Via Dolorosa found in most Catholic churches, there are a lot of depictions of Simon out there. Simon from Cyrene is mentioned by name in Matthew 27:32 and Luke 23:26 while Mark 15:21 also names his two sons Alexander and Rufus. Most people Jesus encountered remain nameless but the specificity of these three mentions has been interpreted as meaning that Simon, Alexander and Rufus were well known people in the early Christian church and that readers would want to know about their direct contact with Jesus. In Acts 11:20 the man from Cyrene (in modern day Libya) preaching the gospel may be Simon himself. In Romans 16:13 Paul greets a Rufus who could be Simon's son. Christian tradition holds Rufus and Alexander were missionaries.
This article contains a useful discussion of different views of the role of blacks in the Bible and notes a few examples that could be a starting point http://www.gci.org/bible/africans
- ^ We Are the Pathfinders Strong: The First Fifty Years Willie Oliver, Patricia L. Humphrey, Review and Herald, January 1, 2000
- We Have Tomorrow: The Story of American Seventh-Day Adventists With an African Heritage Louis Bernard Reynolds, Review and Herald
- The Unknown Prophet Story of William Foy 160 pages Delbert W Baker, Review & Herald Pub Assn August 1987
- A Star Gives Light : Seventh Day Adventist African American Heritage Resource Guide OFFICE EDUCATION SOUTHERN UNION CONFERENCE OF 7TH DAY ADVENTISTS]