African American Seventh-day Adventist Timeline



May 23: Eri L. Barr, believed to be the first black SDA minister, is born in Reading, Vermont.


John West, the second black SDA minister, is born in Baltimore, Maryland.


William Ellis Foy is born in Kennbec County, Maine.



January 9: William J. Hardy is born in New York State.



July 13: William F. Minisee, one of the first black Adventists, is born in New York State.



November 26: Ellen Gould Harmon is born.



August 14: William Miller starts to preach about the soon return of Christ.



November 12-13: The leonid meteor shower occurs.  Frederick Douglass, then a 15-year old slave in Talbot County, Maryland, writes this of the event: “I witnessed this gorgeous spectacle, and was awestruck. The air seemed filled with bright descending messengers from the sky. It was about daybreak when I saw this sublime scene. I was not without the suggestion, at that moment that it might be the harbinger of the coming of the Son of Man; and in my then state of mind I was prepared to hail Him as my Friend and Deliverer. I had read that the ‘stars shall fall from heaven,’ and they were now falling. I was suffering very much in my mind. … I was looking away to heaven for the rest denied me on earth.”



William Foy is converted and baptized by Silas Curtis in Augusta, Maine.



William Still, a black preacher who spent his life working with the Anti-Slavery Society and the Underground Railroad, accepts the Millerite teachings; later experiences the Great Disappointment.



January 18: William Foy has first vision in religious gathering at venue on Southock (currently Phillips) Street in Boston.

February 6: Pastor J.B. Husted and several members of Second Methodist Episcopal Church request Foy to share his visions the next day at their church. Foy consents.

February 7: Foy speaks on his visions to Second Methodist Episcopal Church on Bromfield Street in Boston.

March-May: Foy commences speaking tour on his visions. The Harmon family (including daughter Ellen) attend Foy’s lectures and hear about his visions.



Sojourner Truth (formerly Isabella Van Wagener) visits at least two Millerite camp meetings. She accepts the Advent teachings.



March 21: First disappointment occurs for Millerites.

Summer: William Foy has third and fourth visions.

October 22-23: The Great Disappointment occurs.



January 3: William Foy registers The Christian Experience of William E. Foy with Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the state of Maine and it is entered according to an act of Congress. Christian Experience is published shortly after.

William Foy attends meeting in which Ellen White describes her vision. Foy interrupts White exclaiming that he had similar revelation. Afterward the two have discussion.



August 30: James Springer White and Ellen Gould Harmon are married.



November 16: Emma MacDearmon (later White) is born.



July 28: Edson White is born.



November 2: Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (later Adventist Review) begins publication.



May 19: A J.N. Andrews article titled "Thoughts on Revelation XIII and XIV" appears in the Review and Herald in which Loughborough identifies the United States as the lamblike beast of Revelation 13:11-18 based on its treatment of black people: “If ‘all men are born free and equal,’ how do we then hold three million slaves in bondage?  Why is it that the negro race are reduced to the ranks of chattels personal, and bought and sold like brute beasts?”…the lamb is such only in pretensions. He [America] is dragon in character.”



February: James and Ellen White visit the Elias L. and Henrietta J. Platt family, African Americans residing in Bath, New York. James wrote in the Review: "We formed a happy acquaintance with Bro. and Sr. Platt who kindly entertained us much of the time we were in Bath. We were delighted with the order, and good behaviour of their dear children. We do not design to flatter; but as an orderly family, where children are trained as they should be, is so seldom found, we cannot refrain from mentioning this case. We hope to hear that the entire household is devoted to God, observing all his commandments." 

September 30: Ellen White has a vision that several ministers, among them E.L. Barr, are "to be depended upon."



June 23: In an epic poem that appeared in the Review and Herald entitled "The Warning Voice of Time and Prophecy," Uriah Smith casigates the United States for its slave institution, idenitfying the U.S. as Babylon and the beast.



January 1854: Around this time, John West is converted to Sabbatarian Adventism.

February 21: The Review and Herald runs the J.N. Andrews article "What is Babylon." In it Andrews states: “The Protestant church at the present time holds many hundred thousand slaves. Nor is the fact to be disguised, that the professed church is now the right arm of the slave power. This great fact identifies the Protestant church as a part of Babylon, with absolute certainty.”

March 21: J.N. Loughborough, in a Review and Herald article "The Two-Horned Beast," identifies the United States as Babylon because of its treatments of blacks:



March 19: In the article "The Two-Horned Beast" in the Review and Herald, J.N. Loughborough writes: “In the institution of Slavery is more especially manifested, thus far, the dragon spirit that dwells in the heart of this hypocritical nation. The fearful strides which this government has made on this question up to the present, afford small ground of hope for the future.”

June: William and Eliza Hardy learn about the Adventist message from an evangelistic meeting held by Joseph B. Frisbie in Caledonia, Michigan. Eliza accepts the truth and prepares for baptism; William commits a short time later.

October 5: John Byington, first president of the General Conference, stays with the Hardy family in Caledonia, Michigan.



April 29: A letter from William J. Hardy to editor Uriah Smith is published in the Review and Herald that states, "Through the instrumentality of Bro. Frisbie, last Summer, I was led to see a beauty in what is termed present truth, especially the commandments of God. After being connected with the Free Will Baptists a number of years, I was led to cast my lot with the Sabbath-keepers in Caledonia; and I have never regretted that step. Last Sabbath we enjoyed the sweet, melting Spirit of the Lord. Our hearts were made glad; and we were enabled to "read our title clear to mansions in the skies."



January 25: James and Ellen White eat at the house of William and Eliza Hardy, a pioneer black Adventist family, in Michigan.

March 14: Great Controversy vision is given to Ellen White in Lovett’s Grove, Ohio.

November 16: Lewis Charles Sheafe is born in Baltimore, Maryland.

Ellen White instructs church members to disobey the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act that requires American citizens to deliver fleeing slaves to their masters.



May 13: Parkville, Michigan, church becomes first SDA church to be legally organized.

October 1: The name “Seventh-day Adventist” is chosen.

September 28: Meeting convenes in Battle Creek, Michigan, to organize SDA publishing work.



August 3: Ellen White is given a vision in Roosevelt, New York, about U.S. Civil War. She declares God is bringing judgment against America for "the high crime of slavery," and that God will punish the South for the sin of slavery and the North for so long suffering its overreaching and overbearing influence.

October 5-6: Michigan becomes first conference to be organized.

October: J.N. Andrews releases the monumental History of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week which included research about Sabbath-keeping in Ethiopia during the Middle Ages that Ellen White would use in The Great Controversy.