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Mary Magdalena Tate
Mary Magdalena L. Tate was born on this date in 1871. She was a Black minister and administrator.
Born in Dickson, Tennessee, her character and demeanor brought on the nickname “Miss Do Right” during her youth. Tate’s followers were also known as “The Do Rights” and later she became known as Mother Tate. In 1903, she along with her two sons, Walter Curtis Lewis and Feliz Early Lewis, established “The Church of the Living God, the Pillar and the Ground of the Truth Without Controversy” (House of God).
After she was ordained as a minister, Tate began advocating the cleanliness of the word of God. In 1907, she preached her first sermon in Brooklyn, Illinois. In Alabama, over 900 persons were converted through her preaching. Tate herself was baptized in 1908 and accepted as Chief Apostle Elder, president, and first chief overseer of the formally organized church in Greenville, Alabama. Additionally, she was ordained as a Bishopric and presided over the First General Assembly of the Church of God from June 25 to July 5, 1908.
In 1914, Mother Tate organized the first Church of God in Florida in Ocala. By 1916, under her leadership, charters were issued to Church of God members in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. Between 1930 and 1962, 14 state charters were granted to establish the Church of God. Four more states were added to the Church of God roster by 1981. By 1992, some 43 states and Jamaica were chartered by the Church of God.
The Church of God has experienced the greatest growth in membership of any Christian organization in the United States. She climaxed her career as a world evangelist of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mother Mary Magdalena L. Tate died on December 28, 1930, and was buried in the family plot in her hometown, Dickson, Tennessee.
An Encyclopedia of African American Christian Heritage
by Marvin Andrew McMickle
Judson Press, Copyright 2002