African American Seventh-day Adventist Timeline
Compiled by Benjamin Baker


Testimonies for the Church, volume 6, by Ellen White, is published.

T&O: $510,259

Churches: 1,892

Beginning Membership: 64,003

End Membership: 75,767



March 16: The first SDA church in Bermuda is organized.

April 2-April 23: 34th General Conference Session, Battle Creek, Michigan.

April 4: Southern Publishing Association is established in Nashville, Tennessee.

April 11: Lewis C. Sheafe delivers a sermon at the GC session.

April 24: General Conference District No. 2 becomes the Southern Union Conference.

May 26: Anna Knight is sent to India as missionary, becoming the first black woman overseas missionary.

September 1: Carolina Conference is formed.

October 30: Emmanuel Missionary College, forerunner of Andrews University, opens in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

The Gospel Herald Publishing Company becomes the Southern Publishing Association.

Churches: 2,011

Beginning Membership: 75,767

End Membership: 78,188


January: Lewis C. Sheafe becomes first black to serve on Oakwood board.

May: Lewis C. Sheafe begins ministry in Washinton, D.C.

September: Lewis C. Sheafe becomes pastor of the First SDA Church in Washington, D.C., an interracial congregation.

October 13: Arna Bontemps is born.

Testimonies for the Church, volume 7, by Ellen White, is published.           

Thomas H. Branch is sent to Rhodesia as a missionary.

Churches: 2,077

Beginning Membership: 78,188

End Membership: 73,522



March 27-April 13: 35th General Conference Session, Oakland, California.

May 23: Addison V. Pinkney is born.

December 3: Lewis C. Sheafe organizes the People's SDA Church in Washington, D.C., comprised of 51 members.

December 16: Jasper Wayne starts first Ingathering campaign.

Franklin Henry Bryant publishes Black Smiles or the Sunny Side of Sable Life, the first book published by a black Seventh-day Adventist.

The General Conference and Review and Herald Publishing House relocate to Washington, D.C.

Churches: 2,120

Beginning Membership: 73,522

End Membership: 77,554



January 24: First black SDA church in Kansas is organized.

April: Lewis C. Sheafe visits with Ellen G. White in Takoma Park. She encourages him in his ministry.

Late June: Ellen White visits Oakwood for the first time and while there she addresses the student body twice.

October 1: The Madison school opens outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

November 30: Washington Missionary College, now Washington Adventist University, opens in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Testimonies for the Church, volume 8, by Ellen White, is published.           

Churches: 2,243

Beginning Membership: 77,554

End Membership: 81,721



May 11-May 30: 36th General Conference Session, Washington, D.C.

Churches: 2,340

Beginning Membership: 81,721

End Membership: 87,311



April: The People’s Church of Washington, D.C., presents petition to the General Conference Committee to retain tithes and offerings in view of racial exclusion from institutions built in Takoma Park combined with failure to fund separate black institutions. The GCC rejects the petition.

Jennie Ireland begins to do medical missionary work among blacks in Los Angeles, California.

Churches: 2,416

Beginning Membership: 87,311

End Membership: 91,531



January 1: Canadian Union College opens in temporary quarters in the town of Leduc, Alberta.

January 9: The People’s Church of Washington, D.C. declares independence from conference governance.

June 13: Washington Sanitarium (now Washington Adventist Hospital) is established.

November 9: First regular school term of Alberta Industrial Academy, forerunner of Canadian Union College, is opened.

Churches: 2,504

Beginning Membership: 91,531

End Membership: 94,048



August 8: The Furlong Church in Los Angeles, California, the first black SDA church west of Ohio, is established by Jennie Ireland.

Columbia Union Visitor appears.

Maria Williams, her six sons, and daughter, are the first Adventists to be baptized in the Dominican Republic.

Churches: 2,537

Beginning Membership: 94,048

End Membership: 97,579



Late April: Ellen White visits Oakwood for the second time.

May 13-June 6: 37th General Conference Session is held in Washington, D.C.

May 28: General Conference forms Negro Department.  J.W. Christian is the first secretary.

September 1: Land is purchased for Pacific Union College in Angwin, California.

District of Columbia Conference is established.

Testimonies for the Church, volume 9, by Ellen White, is published.

Churches: 2,691

T&O (1901-10): $9,177,599

Black Membership: c. 900

Beginning Membership: 97,579

End Membership: 100,931


Summer: Oakwood sanitarium opens.

September 6: Start of the first camp-meeting held for blacks in Columbia, South Carolina, in the state.

April 18, 1910 - May 31, 1910: James Alexander Chiles argues before the Supreme Court in the Plaintiff vs. Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company for desegregation of railroad coaches. He is the first black to argue a Supreme Court case.

A.J. Haysmer becomes secretary of the Negro Department.

Black membership: 1,000

Churches: 2,769

T&O: $1,338,690

Beginning Membership: 100,931

End Membership: 104,526



January 1: Nyazura Adventist Secondary School in Zimbabwe opens.

The first SDA church in the Bahamas.

Churches: 2,799

Beginning Membership: 104,526

End Membership: 108,975


December 4: R.T. Hudson is born.

The Watts church, now the Tamarind Avenue SDA Church, is established with a charter membership of 16, P.B. Bontemps serving as pastor.

Churches: 2,874

Beginning Membership: 108,975

End Membership: 114,206


May 15-June 8: 38th General Conference Session is held in Washington, D.C.

May 21: General Conference is first divided administratively into world divisions.

May: The People's Church is reconciled to the denomination at the GC session in Takoma Park.

July 26: Mary Inez Booth is born.

December 1: Loma Linda hospital opens.

December: Lewis C. Sheafe begins ministerial assignment based at the Furlong Church in Los Angeles, California.

Churches: 3,589

Beginning Membership: 114,206

End Membership: 122,386



Berean Church is formed in Los Angeles, California, with a charter membership of 30.           

C.B. Stephenson becomes secretary of the Negro Department.

Hadley Memorial Hospital opens.

Churches: 3,702

Beginning Membership: 122,386

End Membership: 125,844


March 3: Ellen White has final vision.

July 16: Ellen White dies.

July 16: Ellen G. White Estate is established at the time of White’s death.

September 11: Lewis C. Sheafe resigns from the California Conference. The Berean Church which he organized the previous year withdraws from the conference and becomes the "Berean Church of Free Seventh Day Adventists.:

Congregation in Watts, California, is organized with a charter membership of 17.

Life Sketches of Ellen G. White is published.

Churches: 3,876

Beginning Membership: 125,844

End Membership: 136,879


May: Lewis Sheafe and J.W. Manns announce the start of the Free Seventh Day Adventist denomination with “congregational sovereignty” and a “square deal for the Negro.”

Frank L. Peters graduates from Pacific Union College, the first person of color to do so.

Churches: 3,987

Beginning Membership: 136,879

End Membership: 141,488



February 23: Louis Bernard Reynold is born.

February 25: The People’s Church again declares independence from denominational governance.

April 9: Irene Kirkaldy Morgan is born.

July 29: Emma White dies.

James I. Beardsley becomes president of Oakwood University.

The first SDA church in Dominican Republic is organized.

Churches: 4,075

Beginning Membership: 141,488

End Membership: 153,857



March 29-April 14: 39th General Conference Session. San Francisco, California.

W.H. Green is elected the first black secretary of the Negro Department.

Churches: 4,181

Beginning Membership: 153,857

End Membership: 162,667


May 2: Jacob Justiss is born.

July 1-July 21: Bible Conference held in Washington, D.C.

West Indian Training School, the first permanent worker-training school in the Caribbean and forerunner of Northern Caribbean University opens in Mandeville, Jamaica.

Churches: 4,256

Beginning Membership: 162,667

End Membership: 178,239



Black membership: 4,000.

Churches: 4,541

T&O: $7,195,463

T&O (1911-20): 29,954,225

Beginning Membership: 178,239

End Membership: 185,450


March 11: Edward Earl (E.E.) Cleveland is born.

July 25: Alma Blackmon is born.

Eva B. Dykes becomes first black woman in the United States to complete requirements for the PhD degree.

Churches: 4,730

Beginning Membership: 185,450

End Membership: 198,088


April 16: Warren Banfield is born.

May 11-May 28: 40th General Conference Session, San Francisco, California.

October 3: La Sierra Academy (now La Sierra University) is officially opened.

Beacon Light Church of San Diego, California, comprised of 30 charter members won in an evangelistic meeting by Sydney Scott, is established.

Joseph A. Tucker becomes president of Oakwood University.

W.H. Anderson enters Angola to survey missionary prospects.

Churches: 4,927

Beginning Membership: 198,088

End Membership: 208,771



May 12: A.T. Jones dies.

November 17: After black believers request the president of the California Conference to organize them into a church, the group, beginning as a Sabbath school, are organized into a church.

Churches: 5,096

Beginning Membership: 208,771

End Membership: 221,874



April 7: J.N. Loughborough dies.

November 11: Eric Calvin Ward is born.

District of Columbia Conference becomes Potomac Conference.

Santo Domingo Mission (Dominican Republic) is organized.

Churches: 5,393

Beginning Membership: 221,874

End Membership: 238,657


Zaire Union Mission is organized.

Churches: 5,629

Beginning Membership: 238,657

End Membership: 250,988


May 27-June 14: 41st General Conference Session is held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Churches: 5,862

Beginning Membership: 250,988

End Membership: 261,834


February 1: Charles Edward (C.E.) Dudley is born.

May 12: A church of 15 members is organized in Salt Lake City, Utah.

August: East Caribbean Training School, later University of the Southern Caribbean, is established.

Maurice T. Battle is born.

Churches: 5,987

Beginning Membership: 261,834

End Membership: 274,064


May 30: James Edson White dies.

The Pasadena Second Church is organized under the leadership of P.B. Bontemps, in Pasadena, California.

Churches: 6,227

Beginning Membership: 274,064

End Membership: 285,293



March 22: Lorenzo W. Paytee is born.

October 31: William Hawkins Greens, secretary of the Negro Department at the time, dies in Detroit, Michigan.

G.E. Peters becomes secretary of the Negro Department.

James K. Humphrey, a black Baptist minister who became an Adventist in 1902, a gifted leader, founds the First Harlem Seventh-day Adventist Church. Plans to create Utopia Park, consisting of an orphanage, a nursing home, a training school, an industrial area, and health-care facilities. Conference administration feels that Humphrey is not cooperating and moves to defrock him. Harlem congregation stands with Humphrey, and the Greater New York Conference votes to defrock him and disfellowship the entire congregation. It adopts the name United Sabbath-day Adventist Church.

J.E. Johnson and Ludie Smith begin the work in San Bernardino, California, organizing a church of 35 initially named Valley View Church but later renamed Shiloh.

Churches: 6,557

Beginning Membership: 285,293

End Membership: 299,555



May 24: Hamilton Square Church is organized in San Francisco, California.

May 28-June 12: 42nd General Conference Session is held in San Francisco, California.

June 24: Charles Decatur (C.D.) Brooks is born in Greensboro, North Carolina.

December: Caribbean Union Gleaner appears.

F.L. Peterson becomes secretary of the Negro Department.

United Sabbath Day Adventists form.

Black membership: 8,000

Churches: 6,741

T&O: $6,230,362

T&O (21-30):  $56,134,097

Beginning Membership: 299,555

End Membership: 314,253



“Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists” appears in 1931 SDA Yearbook.

B.W. Abney is sent as a missionary to South Africa.

Churches: 7,021

Beginning Membership: 314,253

End Membership: 336,046



James L. Moran becomes first black president of Oakwood University.

Churches: 7,322

Beginning Membership: 336,046

End Membership: 362,101



Churches: 7,640

Beginning Membership: 362,101

End Membership: 384,151


February 1-6: Ministerial institute for black ministers of the Columbia, Atlantic, and Lake Unions held at Ephesus SDA Church in Columbus, Ohio. W. H. Branson and F. L. Peterson lead out.

February 20-27: Ministerial institute for black ministers and Bible workers of the Southern Union Conference is held at Oakwood Junior College.

April 8: The pre-Spring Meeting is held at the General Conference and has important discussions on the black work and regional conferences.

April 15: Sydney Scott dies.

Gospel Herald becomes The Message Magazine.

Hope of the Race by F.L. Peterson is published.

Churches: 7,818

Beginning Membership: 384,151

End Membership: 404,509


January: First issue of the newly named The Message Magazine appears

Churches: 8,026

Beginning Membership: 404,509

End Membership: 422,968



May 26-June 8: 43rd General Conference Session, San Francisco, California.

Riverside Sanitarium and Hospital (Nashville, Tennessee) is opened.

Churches: 8,243

Beginning Membership: 422,968

End Membership: 438,139



July 1: Nellie Hellen Rankin Druillard dies.

November 7: An institutional missionary band of 8 members is organized in Chicago's Shiloh Church which began mission work in the county jail of Chicago.

The Riverside Church of Riverside, California, is organized.

Churches: 8,388

Beginning Membership: 438,139

End Membership: 452,758


June 24: Lewis C. Sheafe dies.

Churches: 8,388

Beginning Membership: 452,758

End Membership: 469,951



Churches: 8,388

T&O (31-40): $62,378,514

Beginning Membership: 469,951

End Membership: 486,670



December 28: Black church is organized in Monrovia, California, with J.W. Allison as pastor.

C.D. Brooks, age 10, is baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Churches: 8,924

T&O: $8,071,654

Black Membership: 14,537

Black Churches: 206

Beginning Membership: 486,670

End Membership: 504,752



G.E. Peters is elected secretary of the Colored Department.

Churches: 9,105

Colored Department Membership: 14,537

Beginning Membership: 504,752

End Membership: 520,644



February 14: W. Augustus Cheatham is born.

October: The Allen A Cappella Choir, comprised of youth from the First and Ephesus churches in Washington, D.C., is organized.

Pacific Union Conference organized its first Colored Department under the leadership of F.L. Peterson.

Churches: 9,212

Beginning Membership: 520,644

End Membership: 535,134



August 15: As a result of an evangelistic effort by F.H. Jenkins and Richard E. Berry, a black church is organized in Bakersfield, California.

October 30: Lucy Byard dies in Freedmen's Hospital, Washington, D.C.

Oakwood Junior College becomes Oakwood College.

Churches: 9,282

Beginning Membership: 535,134

End Membership: 544,710


April 10-16: General Conference Spring Meeting takes place at the Hotel Stevens in Chicago, Illinois. At the meeting there are intense discussions about regional conferences, culminating in an action approving their organization. In the next two and a half years seven regional conferences would be established.

July: Irene Morgan refuses to give up her seat to a white person on an interstate bus in Virginia.  Irene Morgan vs. Commonwealth of Virginia outlaws interstate bus segregation.           

December 17: Allegheny Conference is officially organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

December 21: The General Conference Committee votes "To pass on to the Southern Union Conference and Oakwood College the call from the Columbia Union for J.L. Moran to connect with the newly organized Allegheny Conference, as secretary-treasurer..."

Churches: 9,351

North American Department Colored Department Membership: 17,891

Beginning Membership: 544,710

End Membership: 557,768