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Fri, 12.25.1835

Benjamin T. Tanner, Bishop born

Benjamin Tanner

Benjamin Tucker Tanner was born on this date in 1835. He was a Black minister and bishop.

He was born in Pittsburgh. After studying at Avery Institute and Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny City, PA, he officiated at the 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.  At the end of 18 months, he returned to his church, the African Methodist Episcopal, entering the Baltimore conference in April 1862.  He organized the first school for Freedmen in the United States navy yard, with the permission of Admiral Dahlgren.

He worked as a missionary in Alexandria, where he organized the first society of his church in Virginia. He was stationed in 1863 in Georgetown, D.C., in 1864 in nearby Frederick, MD, and in 1866, in Baltimore.  Tanner was reassigned to organize a proposed conference school in Frederick and take charge of the schools of the Freedmen's Bureau in Frederick County.  He was elected secretary of the General Conference of 1868 and was chosen editor of the Christian Recorder in 1872, 1876, and 1880.  In 1884, he was elected managing editor of a new church publication, the "A.M.E. Church Review."

Tanner received the degree of A.N. from Avery College in 1870 and a Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) from Wilberforce University in 1878. On May 19, 1888, Tanner was elected a bishop.

Dr. Tanner wrote "Paul versus Pius Ninth" (Baltimore, 1865); "Apology for African Methodism" (1867); "The Negro's Origin: Is the Negro Cursed?" (Philadelphia, 1869); "Outline of the History and Government of the A.M.E. Church" (1883); and prose and poetry for periodicals.

Benjamin Tucker Tanner died in 1923.


Library of

An Encyclopedia of African American Christian Heritage
by Marvin Andrew McMickle
Judson Press, Copyright 2002
ISBN 0-817014-02-0

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