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Mon, 04.17.1843

Theophilus Steward, Minister born

Throphilus Steward

Theophilus Steward was born on this date in 1843. He was a Black clergyman, teacher, and author.

Theophilus Gould Steward was born in Gouldtown, New Jersey.  He was the son of a free Black family that stressed education and received his formal education in the Gouldtown public schools. He was ordained a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1863 at the age of twenty. Following the Civil War, Steward helped organize the A.M.E. Church in South Carolina and Georgia. He was also active in Reconstruction politics in Georgia. He also graduated from the Episcopal Divinity School of Philadelphia and later was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree from Wilberforce University in Ohio in 1881.

From 1872 to 1891, Steward established a church in Haiti. In 1885 he wrote Genesis Re-read. In 1891 he joined the Twenty-fifth U.S. Colored Infantry, serving as its chaplain until 1907, including service in Cuba during the Spanish-American War and the Philippines. During this time, he wrote Active Service, or Religious Work Among U.S. Soldiers (1897), A Charleston Love Story (1899), The Colored Regulars in the United States Army (1904), and The Haitian Revolution 1791 to 1804, or Sidelights on the French Revolution (1914).

Steward's second wife was Dr. Susan Smith McKinney, one of the first Black physicians in America. Between 1907 and his death on January 11, 1924, Theophilus Steward published Fifty Years in the Gospel Ministry (1920) and was a professor of history, French, and logic at Wilberforce University.

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I said: Now will the poet sing,- Their cries go thundering Like blood and tears Into the nation’s ears, Like lightning dart Into the nation’s heart. Against disease and death and all things fell, And war, Their strophes... SCOTTSBORO, TOO, IS WORTH IT’S SONG by Countee Cullen.
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