Racial History in the SDA Church

Timeline created by zsroberts
In History
  • Ellen White attends William E. Foy's presentation

    Ellen White attends William E. Foy's presentation
    Ellen White, one of the founders of Adventism, attended at least one presentation on the end of times by William E. Foy, a black preacher, in a time when slaves wouldn't be nationally freed for roughly 30 years.
  • Sojourner Truth visits Millerite camp meetings

    Sojourner Truth visits Millerite camp meetings
    Truth, a celebrated abolitionist, visited Millerite (later Adventist) camp meetings and would go on to identify as an Adventist from then on.
  • Ellen White Writes in Opposition to Slavery

    Ellen White Writes in Opposition to Slavery
    White is quoted writing, "The system of slavery has reduced and degraded human beings to the level of brutes" and urged members to disobey the Fugitive Slave Act of 1950.
  • Adventist Church Formally Begins

    Adventist Church Formally Begins
    The Adventist Church formally gets its start, with few black members scattered amongst the predominantly white congregations.
  • Early Church Leaders Make Stand in Heart of Civil War

    Early Church Leaders Make Stand in Heart of Civil War
    The early Adventist leaders, though not all of them, had anti-slavery sentiments and were influenced by the progressive stance on racism and abolitionism.
  • Charles Kinney Becomes the First Black Minister to Achieve Ordination

    Charles Kinney was born in the antebellum period and went on to be the SDA Church's first black minister.
  • Kinney's Ordination Segregated

    Despite the fact that a black man was being ordained, black members who travelled for the historic event had to use a different entrance and could not sit with white people.
  • White Pens "Our Duty to the Colored People"

    White Pens "Our Duty to the Colored People"
    Ellen White wrote to the church, stressing that black members were just as important as white ones, and that they were their brethren in Christ. This pushed for black membership to grow.
  • White's Controversial Writings

    Lewis C. Sheafe, a black Adventist pioneer, read some prophetic writings that seem to contradict Ellen White's calls for racial unity. She wrote things like, "many wise, Christian colored men will be called to the work. But for several reasons white men must be chosen as leaders" and "Let the colored believers be provided with neat, tasteful houses of worship. Let them be shown that this is done not to exclude them from worshiping with white people..."
  • Edson Builds Boat

    Edson Builds Boat
    James Edson White, Ellen White's son, began construction on a boat that would allow him to sail down the Mississippi River to work every day with the black population in Mississippi and the surrounding areas.
  • Oakwood Industrial School

    Oakwood Industrial School
    Edson's work helped lead the way for the establishment of Oakwood Industrial School, which is now the Adventist churches only HBCU- Oakwood University.
  • Sheafe Pastors Black Church

    Sheafe Pastors Black Church
    In 2903, Lewis C. Sheafe started the People's Church within Adventism, a black church, while also pastoring a nonsegregated church in Washington, DC
  • Black Membership Growth

    Black Membership Growth
    Despite facing the height of Jim Crow in the South, Adventists began working to expand black membership. In 1909, they topped 1000 black members.
  • Humphrey's Credentials Revoked

    James K. Humphrey, one of the earliest and most notable black SDA pastors, has his credentials revoked and is expelled from the church over disagreements over church leadership as it pertains to racial issues.
  • Major Strike at Oakwood

    Major Strike at Oakwood
    A student strike broke out at Oakwood due to students‟ pent up frustration and mounting feelings of humiliation over „separation of the races‟ and the racist policies of the school‟s predominantly white leadership.
  • Lucy Byard Denied Care at Adventist Hospital

    In the early 1940's. Lucy Byard, a black woman, fell gravely ill. Byard's husband, James, asked black Adventist pastor Jeter E. Cox to write a letter to Washington Sanitarium to admit Lucy. The hospital agreed to see her, but they were denied by the hospital upon arrival. She died shortly thereafter.
  • Oakwood Students Encouraged Not to Protest

    Oakwood Students Encouraged Not to Protest
    During the height of the Civil Rights movement, Oakwood students were active and even arranged for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak, however with strict rules. The students were warned by college and church leaders not to participate in Civil Rights activities.
  • Sheila Jackson Lee Elected

    Sheila Jackson Lee Elected
    Sheila Jackson Lee, a black Adventist woman, is elected to the Texas House of Representatives. She is currently still serving and is in her 14th term.
  • Black SDA Chaplain Appointed to Senate

    Barry Black is the 62nd chaplain of the United States Senate. He began serving June 27, 2003, becoming the first African American and first Seventh-day Adventist to hold the office. He is still chaplain to this day.
  • Brisè Elected to Florida House of Representatives

    Ronald A. Brisè, a black Adventist, was elected in Florida for the Democratic Party. He would serve two terms.
  • Black Pastor Responds to Kaepernick

    Black Pastor Responds to Kaepernick
    NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick made waves by refusing to stand for the national anthem in protest of police brutality. He was met largely with disdain and disapproval, to put it lightly. This came from all corners of the conservative spectrum, including much of Christianity (and Adventism). Pastor Mark McCeary wrote for Adventist Today in support of Kaepernick.
  • Notable Adventist Ben Carson on Protests

    Notable Adventist Ben Carson on Protests
    One of the most notable Adventists, former presidential candidate Ben Carson, has been in Donald Trump's camp many times, but with the rampant protests surrounding George Floyd's death (many by pro athletes), Carson felt the need to speak up against Trump's attack on those protesting. He said, "Well, I don't think he [Trump] has manifested as much animosity in that region lately. And I think we just continue to work him. He'll get there."
  • Adventist Church Adopts BLM Stance

    An Adventist Church in Wisconsin posted "Black Lives Matter" on their church sign accompanied by "Jeremiah 22:3" and was met with heavily mixed opinions.