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Mon, 10.26.1885

Robert R. Church Jr., Business leader and Politician born

Robert Church Jr.

Robert Reed Church, Jr., was born on this date in 1885. He was a Black businessman, civic leader, and politician during the 1920s.

He was born in Memphis, the youngest son of a wealthy businessman. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1904 and working at a Wall Street bank in New York City, he returned to Memphis to work for his father's Solvent Savings Bank and Trust. In 1912, Church resigned as president to monitor his father's extensive property holdings throughout Memphis.  Turning to politics, Church became a major contributor and director of the Tennessee Republican Party.

He was an official on the National Advisory Committee for Negroes, a leader in voter registration. Church was among the most influential Blacks in Southern politics during the 1920s. When the Republican Party lost power during the 1930s, Church also lost a powerful platform.

While many Blacks were beginning to join the Democratic Party, he remained a loyal Republican. Robert Reed Church, Jr. died in 1952 while campaigning for Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Contemporary Black Biography, various volumes
Edited by Shirelle Phelps
Copyright 1999 by Gale Research, Detroit, London
ISBN 0-7876-1275-8

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