blacksdahistory.org

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African American Seventh-day Adventist Timeline
1945-1989
Compiled by Benjamin Baker


1945   

January 1: The first black regional conferences begin operations: Lake Region Conference, Northeastern Conference, and Allegheny Conference

June 23: The Tucson Church is organized in Tucson, Arizona.

December 6: The General Conference Committee votes: "That beginning with April of 1946 a periodical be published monthly, called "The North American Informant," devoted to the interests of the colored conferences and membership of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination." G.E. Peters was appointed editor.

Andrews Memorial Hospital (Jamaica) is established.

Frank L. Peterson becomes president of Oakwood University.

Churches: 9,496

North American Department Colored Department Membership: 19,008

Beginning Membership: 557,768

End Membership: 576,378

 

1946               

June 3: Irene Morgan vs. Commonwealth of Virginia rules that segregated buses violated the Consitution's protection of interstate commerce.

June 5-June 15: 45th General Conference Session, Washington, D.C.

July 21: The D.B. Simons family flies from New York City for Freetown, Sierra Leone, as missionaries sent by the General Conference.

August 1: First issue of The North American Informant, later Regional Voice, appears.

August 7-11: 350 members from ten churches in the Central Union Colored Department hold campmeeting in Topeka, Kansas.

August 23-25: Allegheny Conference constituency meeting is held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. J.H. Wagner is reelected president and L.H. Bland as secretary-treasurer.

Summer: E.E. Cleveland conducts an evangelistic campaign in Greensboro, North Carolina, assisted by E.C. Ward, Warren Banfield, and Margaret Daniels. A 16-year old C.D. Brooks receives his calling in connection with the meetings.

September 9: Pine Forge Academy opens in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

September 21: The Hartford Seventh-day Adventist Company, a company in the Northeastern Conference, is organized in Hartford, Connecticut.

December 16: The African American constituency of the Southwestern Union assembles in Dallas, Texas, and organized the Southwestern Mission (precursor to Southwestern Union Conference), headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with W.W. Fordham as superintendent.

December 31: Message Magazine has a total subscription of 41,170.

General Conference sends its first group of black missionaries to Africa: C.D. Henri and family; G.N. Banks and family; and P.E. Giddings and family.

Three regional conferences begin operations: South Atlantic Conference, South Central Conference, and Southwest Region Conference

Churches: 9,321

North American Colored Department Membership: 20,580

Regional Conference Membership: 15,876

Regional Conference Baptisms: 1,514

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $1,381,393.93

Beginning Membership: 576,378

End Membership: 598,683

 

1947   

January 28-30: Owen A. Troy is elected secretary of the Colored Department at the Pacific Union Conference session.

February 3: Dr. S.O. Cherry dies.

February 22: A company of 18 is organized in Nacogdoches, Texas, as a result of the labors of A.B. Humphrey.

March 1: C.T. Richards is ordained at the Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

June 5-14: South Central Conference campmeeting is held at Oakwood College.

June 5-14: The first campmeeting of the South Atlantic Conference is held outside Jacksonville, Florida.

June 9: Pine Forge Academy holds is first graduation with six graduates.

July 3-13: Allegheny Conference campmeeting is held at Pine Forge Academy in Pennsylvania.

Regional Conference Membership: 16,703

Regional Conference Baptisms: 1,554

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $1,384,240.32

Churches: 9,554

Beginning Membership: 598,683

End Membership: 628,594

 

1948               

August 19-29: Central States Conference holds what was hailed at the time by T.M. Rowe as "the greatest camp meetins session in the history of our organization."

September 1-4: Southern Union Youth's Congress is held at Oakwood College.

September 5: The main building of Riverside Sanitarium and Hospital (Nashville, TN) is dedicated.

September 18: E.E. Cleveland baptizeds 114 persons in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Regional Conference Membership: 17,485

Regional Conference Baptisms: 1,382

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $1,529,514.25

Churches: 9,749

Beginning Membership: 628,594

End Membership: 672,658

 

1949   

May 22: 61 students graduated with a baccalaureate degree from Oakwood College, the largest class of graduates since the school became a college.

June: The South Atlantic Conference camp meeting has an attendance of more than 1,000.

June: T.M. Fountain replaces J.G. Dasent as president of the Lake Region Conference.

Regional Conference Membership: 18,257

Regional Conference Baptisms: 1,626

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $1,618,696.55

Churches: 9,991

Beginning Membership: 672,658

End Membership: 716,538

1950               

July 10-July 22: 46th General Conference Session, San Francisco, California.

Regional Conference Membership: 20,447

Regional Conference Baptisms: 1,663

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $1,806,956.31

Churches: 10,237

Beginning Membership: 716,538

End Membership: 756,812

 

1951   

August 3: Charles M. Kinny dies.

September 18: Ben Carson is born.    

Calvin E. Moseley, Jr., makes first missionary trip to Africa for the General Conference Colored Department.

Louis B. Reynolds becomes first black editor of Message.

Regional Conference Membership: 22,264

Regional Conference Baptisms: 2,071

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $2,015,816.07

Churches: 10,585

Beginning Membership: 756,812

End Membership: 803,720

 

1952               

September 1-September 13: Bible Conference held in Washington, D.C.

November 19: Hattie Andre dies.

Central States Conference is organized.

Regional Conference Membership: 28,907

Regional Conference Baptisms: 2,628

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $2,396,401.03

Churches: 10,830

Beginning Membership: 803,720

End Membership: 856,463

 

1953   

October 10: Louis Harold Bland dies.

C.E. Moseley becomes secretary of the Colored Department.

Regional Conference Membership: 29,512

Regional Conference Baptisms: 2,301

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $2,435,541.34

Churches: 11,158

Beginning Membership: 856,463

End Membership: 924,822

 

1954

May 24-June 5: 46th General Conference Session, San Francisco, California.

November 11: J.G. Dasent dies.

E.E. Cleveland holds historic evangelistic meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, where over 500 persons are baptized.

E.E. Cleveland is elected Associate Secretary of the Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He serves there for 23 years.    

F.L. Peterson is elected first Negro Associate Secretary of General Conference and Secretary of North American Colored Department at the General Conference session.

Garland J. Millet becomes president of Oakwood University.

North American Colored Department becomes North American Regional Department.

Regional Conference Membership: 26,139

Regional Conference Baptisms: 2,866

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $2,630,313.44

Churches: 11,447

Beginning Membership: 924,822

End Membership: 972,071

 

1955               

December 1: Minneola Dozier Smith, a Seventh-day Adventist, stands behind Rosa Parks seat on the Cleveland Avenue bus in Montgomery, Alabama, when Parks refuses to relinquish her seat.

Regional Conference Membership: 26,309

Regional Conference Baptisms: 2,243

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $2,853,734.03

Churches: 11,745

Beginning Membership: 972,071

End Membership: 1,006,218

 

1956

July: M.T. Battle begins tenure as president of the Liberian Mission.

ADRA is established under the name Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS).

Regional Conference Membership: 27,872

Regional Conference Baptisms: 2,300

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $2,956,057.10

Churches: 12,018

Beginning Membership: 1,006,218

End Membership: 1,051,452

 

1957

February: William Robinson begins tenure as president of the Uganda Mission.

September 23: Terrence Roberts, a Seventh-day Adventist and one of the "Little Rock Nine," deals a decisive blow to racial segregationism by attending Little Rock's Central High.

Regional Conference Membership: 29,720

Regional Conference Baptisms: 2,857

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $3,259,276.40

Churches: 12,291

Beginning Membership: 1,051,452

End Membership: 1,102,910

 

1958               

June 19-June 28: 48th General Conference Session, Cleveland, Ohio.

June: C.E. Moseley is elected field secretary of the General Conference.

August 31: Phillips Memorial Hospital in Orlando, Florida, a hospital for blacks, is dedicated.

December 4: Oakwood College receives accreditation.

Regional Conference Membership: 32,191

Regional Conference Baptisms: 3,813

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $3,524,223.49

Churches: 12,421

Beginning Membership: 1,102,910

End Membership: 1,149,256

 

1959               

June 25: James Lamar McElhany dies.

October 5: L.B. Mitchell begins tenure as director of Bassa Mission in Liberia.

Adventist Youth Service (AYS) programs begin.

Regional Conference Membership: 33,835

Regional Conference Baptisms: 2,654

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $3,989,035.88

Churches: 12,707

T&O (51-60): $434,697,327

Beginning Membership: 1,149,256

End Membership: 1,194,070

 

1960               

September 10: Inauguration of new College Church in Loma Linda, California (now known as University Church).

Emmanuel Missionary College becomes Andrews University.

Regional Conference Membership: 34,176

Regional Conference Baptisms: 2,760

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $4,822,362.12

Churches: 12,975

T&O: $59,132,241

Beginning Membership: 1,194,070

End Membership: 1,245,125

 

1961               

June 21: Jeter E. Cox dies on his farm in Kilmarnock, Virginia.

Alma Foggo York is the first black instructor of nursing at Boston Hospital for Woman, a Harvard University affiliate.

Regional Conference Membership: 31,399

Regional Conference Baptisms: 3,505

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $4,692,394.82

Churches: 13,369

Beginning Membership: 1,245,125

End Membership: 1,307,892

 

1962   

July 26-August 2: 49th General Conference Session, San Francisco, California.

July 29: Frank L. Peterson is elected a general vice president of the General Conference, the first person of color to be in the position.

Donald Blake becomes a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Walla Walla University, among the first black Adventists to be a faculty member in an Adventist college in the United States not Oakwood.

H.D. Singleton becomes secretary of the Colored Department.

Regional Conference Membership: 37,480

Regional Conference Baptisms: 2,323

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $5,603,741.85

Churches: 13,588

Beginning Membership: 1,307,892

End Membership: 1,362,775

 

1963   

Addison V. Pinkney becomes president of Oakwood University.

Regional Conference Membership: 39,871

Regional Conference Baptisms: 13,207

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $5,998,101.35

Churches: 13,856

Beginning Membership: 1,362,775

End Membership: 1,428,352

 

1964  

June 4: Ground is broken for Loma Linda Hospital (now Loma Linda University Medical Center).

September: Andrews High School (Trinidad) opens.

Regional Conference Membership: 42,221

Regional Conference Baptisms: 3,551

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $6,386,084.37

Churches: 14,316

Beginning Membership: 1,428,352

End Membership: 1,508,056

1965   

June 30: George E. Peters dies.

Alice Princess by Alice P. Siwundhla is published.

E.E. Cleveland holds evangelistic meeting in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad where 812 are baptized and another 400 in follow-up meetings.

Regional Conference Membership: 44,881

Regional Conference Baptisms: 4,846

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $6,791,880.81

Churches: 14,651

Beginning Membership: 1,508,056

End Membership: 1,578,504

 

1966               

January 25: Loma Linda University Hospital is completed.

June 16-June 25: 50th General Conference Session, Detroit, Michigan.

June: F.L. Bland is elected a general vice president of the General Conference, the second person of color to be elected to the position.

June: Frank W. Hale becomes president of Oakwood University.

November 20: Vote is taken to organize two new conferences in Allegheny territory: Allegheny East and Allegheny West.

December: George R. Earle is elected president of Northeastern Conference following the death of R.T. Hudson.

First edition of the Seventh-day Encyclopedia is published.

Regional Conference Membership: 47,204

Regional Conference Baptisms: 3,771

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $7,697,674.52

Churches: 14,980

Beginning Membership: 1,578,529

End Membership: 1,661,657

 

1967  

April: Walter M. Starks is elected president of Allegheny West Conference.

April 19: Douglas B. Simons is elected president of Allegheny West Conference.

Regional Conference Membership: 49,184

Regional Conference Baptisms: 3,454

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $8,368,148.43

Churches: 15,303

Beginning Membership: 1,661,657

End Membership: 1,747,614

 

1968               

April 5: In tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, death, more than 1,000 students and staff dressed in black gather in the Ashby Auditorium at Oakwood College. President Frank Hale declares an indefinite state of morning on the Oakwood College campus, and the American flag in the center of the campus at the Bell Tower should be flown at half mast for 30 days. A program in honor of King is held in Ashby.

Andrews University confers Doctor of Divinity degree on E.E. Cleveland. He is first African American to receive honorary doctorate from this school.

Regional Conference Membership: 52,211

Regional Conference Baptisms: 4,720

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $10,145,567.03

Churches: 15,744

Beginning Membership: 1,747,607

End Membership: 1,845,183

 

1969   

November 10: W.J. Cleveland is elected president of Southwest Region Conference.

Regional Conference Membership: 55,053

Regional Conference Baptisms: 4,497

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $11,611,580.71

Churches: 16,257

T&O (61-70): $886,947.488

Beginning Membership: 1,845,183

End Membership: 1,953,078

 

1970   

March 26: C.D. Henri is elected president of teh East African Union.

June 4: C.L. Brooks is elected Sabbath School and Religious Liberty Secretary for Southern Union.

June 11-June 20: 51st General Conference Session, Atlantic City, New Jersey. At the session, the following blacks are elected or reelected:

    M.T. Battle: Associate secretary, Lay Activities Department (first black elected to position)

    F.L. Bland: General vice president

    C.E. Bradford: Associate secretary, General Conference (first black elected to position)

    E.E. Cleveland: Associate secretary, Ministerial Association

    W.W. Fordham: Associate secretary, North American Regional Department

    G.J. Millet: Associate secretary, Education Department (first black elected to position

    C.E. Moseley: General field secretary   

    A.V. Pinkney: Associate Temperance secretary

    L.B. Reynolds: Associate Sabbath School secretary

    H.D. Singleton: Secretary, North American Regional Department

    W.M. Stark, Secretary, Stewardship and Church Development Department

June 12: W.A. Thompson is elected executive secretary of the Columbia Union Conference.

June 28: Edward Dorsey is elected president of Allegheny East Conference.

July 6: John R. Wagner is elected president of Lake Region Conference.

Cave Memorial clinic and Nursing Home (Barbados) opens.

E.G. White and Church Race Relations by Ronald Graybill is published.

Free at Last by E.E. Cleveland is published.

Regional Conference Membership: 58,235

Regional Conference Baptisms: 4,346

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $13,336,665.22

Churches: 16,505

T&O: $124,046,447

Beginning Membership: 1,953,078

End Membership: 2,051,864

 

1971   

October 1: Adventist World Radio (AWR) begins broadcasting.

November 17: Anna Knight is presented the Medallion of Merit Award, the highest recognition given by the General Conference for extraordinary meritorious service to Seventh-day Adventist education.

Adventist Media center (AMC) is instituted.

Byron Spears becomes an evangelist with the Voice of Prophecy.

Calvin B. Rock becomes president of Oakwood University.

Charles D. Brooks is elected general field secretary of the General Conference, replacing C.E. Moseley.

Mission to Black America by Ronald D. Graybill, a work on the efforts of Edson White, Will Palmer, and the Southern Missionary Society for African Americans in the Deep South at the turn of the century, is published by Pacific Press.

Regional Conference Membership: 61,312

Regional Conference Baptisms: 4,832

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $14,693,320.08

Churches: 16,726

Beginning Membership: 2,051,864

End Membership: 2,145,061

 

1972

January 6: Victory Lake Nursing Home in Hyde Park, New York, begins operation.

March 25: James L. Moran dies.

June 3: Anna Knight dies in Huntsville, Alabama.

C.D. Henri is elected a general vice president of the General Conference.

Clarence and Carol Barron Thomas leave for Brazil, becoming the first black missionaries to South America.

The Apollo 15 mission is successful. Tires for the moon buggy created by Adventist inventor Robert Shurney are used.

Regional Conference Membership: 65,630

Regional Conference Baptisms: 5,696

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $16,525,196.18

Churches: 17,150

Beginning Membership: 2,145,061

End Membership: 2,261,403

 

1973               

January 1: Washington Sanitarium and Hospital becomes Washington Adventist Hospital.

June 4: Arna Bontemps dies.

December 28: Association of SDA Historians is founded.

Eva B. Dykes Library is dedicated at Oakwood College.

Regional Conference Membership: 70,500

Regional Conference Baptisms: 6,428

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $18,451,564.00

Churches: 17,448

Beginning Membership: 2,261,403

End Membership: 2,390,124

 

1974   

July: C.D. Brooks becomes speaker-director of Breath of Life and tapes his first telecast at the Adventist Media Center in Thousand Oaks, California.

Anita Johnson Mackey receives honorary doctorate degree from Andrews University.

DeWitt Williams is appointed assistant secretary of General Conference Department of Communication.

Oakwood College enrollment exceeds 1,000.

Regional Conference Membership: 74,878

Regional Conference Baptisms: 6,517

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $20,891,489.00

Churches: 17,841

Beginning Membership: 2,390,064

End Membership: 2,521,429

 

1975   

January 12: Breath of Life telecast is first aired in Detroit, Michigan.

September 10: F.L. Bland dies.

The Colored Department becomes the North American Office of Regional Affairs. W.W. Fordham is its first director.

Regional Conference Membership: 80,399

Regional Conference Baptisms: 7,960

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $23,486,834.00

Churches: 18,437

Beginning Membership: 2,521,402

End Membership: 2,666,484

 

1976   

November 16: Lottie Blake dies.

Regional Conference Membership: 82,756

Regional Conference Baptisms: 6,965

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $25,517,644.00

Churches: 19,225

Beginning Membership: 2,666,484

End Membership: 2,810,606

 

1977   

Regional Conference Membership: 88,283

Regional Conference Baptisms: 8,503

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $30,383,880.00

Churches: 19,761

Beginning Membership: 2,810,606

End Membership: 2,949,758

 

1978

April 23: Jacob Justiss dies.

Andrews University awards Charles Bradford an honorary Doctor of Divinity.

The North American Office of Regional Affairs becomes the Office of Ethnic Relations. W.S. Banfield is its first director.

Regional Conference Membership: 93,290

Regional Conference Baptisms: 9,373

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $32,773,674.00

Churches: 20,446

Beginning Membership: 2,949,758

End Membership: 3,117,535

 

1979

January 3: Neal C. Wilson becomes seventeenth president of the General Conference.

March 22: Thomas Milton Rowe dies in Sweetwater, Tennessee.

Atlanta Adventist Academy (AAA) opens.

E.E. Cleveland founds the Annual Council on Evangelism held each winter at Oakwood University.

Regional Conference Membership: 98,215

Regional Conference Baptisms: 8,060

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $37,414,353.00

Churches: 21,061

T&O (1971-80): $2,520,612,522

Beginning Membership: 3,117,535

End Membership: 3,308,191

 

1980

April 16: G. Ralph Thompson is appointed secretary of the General Conference.

April 25: The 27 Fundamental Beliefs are voted at the Fifteenth Business Meeting at the GC Session in Dallas, Texas.

Thompson U. Kay becomes first director of Deaf Services (now Christian Record Services) at the General Conference.

The Southern Publishing Association merges with the Review and Herald.

April 16-April 28: 53rd General Conference Session, Dallas, Texas.

April 17: G. Ralph Thompson is elected executive secretary of the General Conference, the first person of color to hold the position.

Regional Conference Membership: 103,861

Regional Conference Baptisms: 8,201

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $40,084,026.00

Churches: 21,555

T&O:   $398,880,407

Beginning Membership: 3,308,191

End Membership: 3,480,518

 

1981   

April 11: Addison Pinkney dies.

Church Manual contains 27 Fundamental Beliefs for the first time.

Regional Conference Membership: 109,024

Regional Conference Baptisms: 7,919

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $46,393,273.00

Churches: 22,094

Beginning Membership: 3,480,518

End Membership: 3,668,087

1982   

April 9: B.W. Abney, Sr., dies.

Jannith Lewis becomes the first Seventh-day Adventist woman to earn a doctoral degree in library science.

Regional Conference Membership: 114,610

Regional Conference Baptisms: 8,389

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $50,415,399.00

Churches: 23,302

Beginning Membership: 3,668,087

End Membership: 3,897,814

1983   

September 12: Louis B. Reynolds dies.

October: AWR begins broadcasting in Africa.

November 10: Harvey Ward Kibble dies in a car accident in Huntsville, Alabama.

Regional Conference Membership: 121,832

Regional Conference Baptisms: 9,222

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $48,660,941.00

Churches: 23,722

Beginning Membership: 3,897,814

End Membership: 4,140,206

 

1984   

Mary Kate Stovall-Tapley becomes the first black mayor of Hurtsboro, Alabama.

We Have Tomorrow by Louis B. Reynolds is published.

Regional Conference Membership: 125,375

Regional Conference Baptisms: 7,914

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $53,383,136.00

Churches: 24,663

Beginning Membership: 4,140,206

End Membership: 4,424,612

1985   

June 27-July 6: 54th General Conference Session, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Benjamin F. Reaves becomes president of Oakwood University.

First NAD Pathfinder Camporee is held in Camp Hale, Colorado.

Regional Conference Membership: 127,943

Regional Conference Baptisms: 7,132

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $60,092,371.00

Churches: 25,547

Beginning Membership: 4,424,612

End Membership: 4,716,859

1986   

October 22: E.E. Cleveland is invited to the White House for a briefing with President Ronald Reagan on International and National Affairs.

October 29: Eva Beatrice Dykes dies.

Bermuda Mission becomes Bermuda Conference.

Regional Conference Membership: 135,302

Regional Conference Baptisms: 5,238

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $59,320,039.00

Churches: 26,684

Beginning Membership: 4,716,859

End Membership: 5,092,503

 

1987   

September 6: Ben Carson successfully separates conjoined twins.

The Unknown Prophet by Delbert W. Baker is published.

Regional Conference Membership: 147,832

Regional Conference Baptisms: 7,860

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $67,523,566.00

Churches: 27,791

Beginning Membership: 5,092,503

End Membership: 5,445,249

 

1988   

Regional Conference Membership: 143,982

Regional Conference Baptisms: 6,619

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $74,408,365.00

Churches: 29,039

Beginning Membership: 5,445,249

End Membership: 5,816,767

 

1989   

December 23: Charles Lee Brooks dies.

Rosa Banks becomes secretary of North American Division Office of Human Relations.

Regional Conference Membership: 150,181

Regional Conference Baptisms: 8,487

Regional Conference Tithes and Offerings: $89,623,697.00

Churches: 30,711

T&O (1981-90): $5,069,051,968

Beginning Membership: 5,816,767

End Membership: 6,260,617