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Tue, 03.06.1838

An Ohio leader, Benjamin W. Arnett

Benjamin Arnett

*Benjamin William Arnett was born on this date in 1838. He was a Black administrator, politician, and minister.

Arnett was a Republican representative from Greene County who served in the Ohio House of Representatives during the 67th session (1886-1887) of the General Assembly. Arnett was a Bishop of the St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Urbana, Ohio.  Arnett was the seventeenth elected Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in 1888. He was a member of the Parliament of Religions at the 1896 Chicago World's Fair. He was also president of Wilberforce University and wrote legislation for repeal of Ohio’s "Black Laws." A great advocate for education, Bishop Arnett made his home at Wilberforce University in Xenia, Ohio. He was known for his great oratory, political savvy, and a devout Christian gentleman.

One of his writings was the following piece: "The conflict of right and wrong is not confined to the human heart, but found in the laws and customs of men. They find themselves incorporated into the fundamental law of nations. In the declaration of rights and wrongs, the Legislators formulating them, and spreading them on the Statute book often sanction them. They are seen in the judicial decision of the Supreme Court, in the dissension of the minority from the majority. But though wrong may be written in the constitution, and affirmed by the judicial decision of a thousand courts, it will not be right. It may be law, but law is not always right. "

Benjamin Arnett died October 7, 1906.

Reference:
Ohio's African American State Legislators
Columbus, OH 43215-4210
PH: 614-752-9777
FAX: 614-752-5209

From the pamphlet: “Centennial Thanksgiving sermon, by Benjamin William Arnett, 1876."

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O’ de wurl’ ain’t flat,An’ de wurl’ ain’t roun’,H’it’s one long stripHangin’ up an’ down—Jes’ Souf an’ Norf;Jes’ Norf an’ Souf. —from Ariel Williams Holloway, “Northboun'” , 1926 “NORTHBOUND'” by Ariel Williams Holloway
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