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Tue, 03.03.1863

Ariel Hedges Bowen, Educator born

Ariel Bowen

*Ariel Hedges Bowen was born on this date in 1863.  She was a Black writer, temperance activist, and professor of music. 

Ariel Serena Hedges was born in Newark, New Jersey, where her father, Charles Hedges, was a Presbyterian clergyman. He was an 1869 graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and organized churches in New York State. Her mother represented one of the oldest Presbyterian families in that state. Her grandfather was a bugler in the Mexican war and was a Guard of Honor when Lafayette revisited the United States.

Her parents moved to Pittsburgh, where she attended the Avery Institute and completed the academic course at this school. Her parents then moved to Baltimore, where her father became pastor of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and finally of Grace Presbyterian Church. She was sent to high school in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she remained, and they graduated her with honors in 1885. She also took the Teachers' Course and Examination and passed a creditable examination, afterward being favorably considered as a teacher for one of the schools of that city.

She then was called to teach History and English Language at the Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama, where she read Greek, Latin, and German.  In 1886, Hedges married Dr. J. W. E. Bowen of the Gammon Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia. She became a life member of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She moved to Atlanta with her husband in 1893, where the couple raised a family of four children (one son and three daughters).  

Bowen became a Professor of Music at Clark University in 1895, writing broadly on music (Music in the Home) and being an accomplished vocalist and musician with the piano and pipe organ. Ariel Bowen died on July 7, 1904.  Twentieth Century Negro Literature (1902) noted that "she is regarded as one of the foremost and best-cultured women of her race."   Bowen was a notable figure in the Southern Women's Christian Temperance Union, writing The Ethics of Reform and serving as state president of the Georgia W. C. T. U., No. 2.  Ariel Bowen Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, is named in her memory.  

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