Benjamin Baker, PhD  |  20 February 2019  |  

There is something about the combination of being black and Adventist that leads to awesomeness. Although small in number, black Adventists have had an outsized impact on their communities, their church, and their world. Enjoy the awesomeness!

  1. William J. Hardy is the first black elected to office in the state of Michigan (1872).
  2. Eugene Hardy is the first black to graduate from high school in the state of Michigan (1877).
  3. Jessie C. Dorsey Green cofounds Voorhees College with Elizabeth Evelyn Wright (1897).
  4. Mabel Branch is the first black teacher of public schools in the state of Colorado (1898).
  5. Lottie Blake is the only black woman physician in Birmingham, Alabama (1901).
  6. Anna Knight is the first black woman of any denomination to serve as a missionary in India (1901).
  7. Mary Britton is the first woman licensed as a medical doctor in the state of Kentucky (1902).
  8. Franklin H. Bryant is the first black law graduate at the University of Colorado (1907).
  9. James Chiles argues the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad case for desegregation before the Supreme Court (1910).
  10. Ruth Temple is the first black woman to practice medicine in Los Angeles, California (1918).
  11. Eva B. Dykes is the first black woman to complete the requirements for a PhD (1921).
  12. Irene Morgan refuses to give up her seat on a Greyhound bus and when she is jailed, takes the state to court and wins the case, outlawing racial segregation on interstate buses (1944).
  13. Rothacker Childs Smith serves as a medic in World War II, a so-called “Buffalo Soldier.” During one battle he is wounded and captured by Germans, escaping just before the close of the war (1944).
  14. Mary Inez Booth forms a prison ministry group that visits jails every Sabbath to encourage prisoners. She continues going to jail every week for 55 years (1953).
  15. Terrence Roberts is a member of the “Little Rock Nine” and by his courageous act deals a blow to racial segregation in schools in America (1957).
  16. Yolanda Clarke sings with her choir at the March and Washington and stands right behind Martin Luther King, Jr. as he delivers his “I Have A Dream” speech (1963).
  17. Robert Shurney designs the tires for the moon buggy used during the Apollo 15 mission (1972).
  18. C.D. Brooks is the speaker-director of Breath of Life Ministries, the first continuously-running black religious television programming (1974).
  19. The National Association for the Prevention of Starvation (NAPS) is formed at Oakwood College and comprised of its students with the goal “to eliminate hunger, poverty, and disease, and to improve education and food security among suffering people, both nationally and internationally, regardless of race, religion or nationality.” It has been awarded by several national governments for their humanitarian work (1978).
  20. Richard and Carolyn Bland begin United Prison Ministries International, a ministry that visits more than 3,000 prisons in 50 states, Africa, Europe, and Asia, with some 75 million pieces of spiritual literature distributed (1980).
  21. Mary Kate Stovall-Tapley is the first black mayor of Hurtsboro, Alabama (1984).
  22. Ben Carson performs the first successful separation of conjoined twins (1987).
  23. Frank W. Hale, Jr., is the first black person to have a building named after him on The Ohio State University campus (1989).
  24. Chessie Harris receives the President’s Volunteer Action Award from President George Bush for her humanitarian work for disadvantaged children (1989).   
  25. David Williams develops the Everyday Discrimination Scale, “one of the most widely used measures of discrimination in health studies” (1996).
  26. Gwen Foster as “health czar” leads the residents of Philadelphia to lose more than 76 tons of weight in 76 days (2001).
  27. Barry Black is the first black person to be elected chaplain of the United States Senate (2003).
  28. Ella Simmons is the only woman to be a vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; she is the highest ranking female official in the history of the denomination, with the exception of three woman treasurers in the pioneer era (2005).
  29. James Graves, Jr. is the second black to be elected to the United States Court of Appeals (2010).
  30. Lloyd Henry is the first African American to complete the “Ironman Globe Finisher.” He has completed 21 Ironmen competitions in all (2016).

Benjamin Baker, PhD, is the creator of blacksdahistory.org.

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