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Fri, 01.04.1828

Alfred Cookman, Minister and Education Administrator born

Alfred Cookman

*Alfred Cookman was born on this date in 1828. He was a white-American Methodist minister and abolitionist. He was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, the son of the Methodist Episcopal minister George G. Cookman.

He was early consecrated to the ministry by his pious mother; experienced religion while attending the grammar school of Dickinson College. In 1851, Cookman was married to Annie Bruner. Living amid the nation's struggles regarding secession and slavery, Cookman could not remain a silent onlooker. Before the American Civil War, he delivered an anti-slavery sermon from Isaiah 8:12-13. 

His face showed heavenly light as he spoke, and his words were surcharged with divine emphasis and power. He was instrumental in founding the Cookman Institute of Jacksonville, Florida, in 1872, named after him. The great Jacksonville fire of 1901 destroyed all the buildings. It was (then) decided to secure a new location before rebuilding to get the school a little farther from the center of town. In 1904 with $1.50 and faith, Mary McLeod Bethune started the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute.

Cookman Institute was merged in 1923 with Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute, and together they became Bethune-Cookman College. Cookman is associated with the Methodist Church and is famous for his dying words, "I'm sweeping thru the gates, washed by the blood of the Lamb." On October 22, 1871, he preached his last sermon. Alfred Cookman died on November 13, 1871. An 1874 book, "The life of the Rev. Alfred Cookman," is available online in various digital formats.

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