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Decatur Nichols was born on this date in 1900. He was a Black minister, deacon, and bishop.
He was from Georgetown, SC, the son of Reverend Ruffin and Anna Nichols. Decatur Ward Nichols was educated in the public schools of Charleston. He received his AB degree from Howard University, Washington, DC, and B.D. degree from Drew University, Madison, NJ.
Nichols was ordained a deacon in 1926 and an elder one year later. He served a number of churches throughout his life. In 14 years in New Jersey, Nichols developed a membership of 2,400, purchased a new building, and organized the church into effective departments.
Elected in 1940 at the General Conference in Detroit, MI, Nichols served the 9th, 1st, 11th, 12th, and 7th Episcopal districts. In the 9th District, Bishop Nichols paid off mortgages, built an Episcopal residence and five other buildings, renovated property, and worked successfully to rebuild Daniel Payne College in Birmingham. He also represented the AME church at the organization of the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam, Holland. Ward served for many years on the Executive Committee of the World Methodist Organization as well.
Bishop Nichols, the 59th bishop of the AME Church, was also the senior bishop of all Methodism. He retired in 1976 at the General Conference in Atlanta. Decatur Ward Nichols died on January 24, 2005, at the age of 104.