Black History Month: Do You Recognize These Names?


Photo: Bishop Leontine Kelly, who passed away in 2012 at age 92, preaches during an evening worship in College Park, Ga., in 2004. Kelly was the first African-American woman elected bishop in the United Methodist Church. UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

The following excerpt is from a reflection on Black History Month by Rev. Dana Everhart, Atlanta-Emory District Superintendent, in the most recent Atlanta-Emory District e-newsletter. Read the full reflection here.

By Dana Everhart

Do you recognize the names of Henry McNeil Turner, Lucius Holsey, or Donald Hollowell? Bishops, pastors, and attorneys that help Methodism in the state of Georgia to bloom and grow, but in their early days, they were simply men who had a passion for Christ and His people. 

Do you recognize the names of  Martin Luther King and Joseph Lowery? Brothers and colleagues who paid the price during the Civil Rights era. Not only for Methodists but for people of all faiths. They put their lives on the line so that others might have a life. 

Do you recognize the names of Leontine T. O. Kelly (pictured), Charlotte Ann Nichols, or maybe Joethel Jeannette Cooper Dicks? These women are trailblazers for black women but also for all women.

We must never forget the influence nor the impact these and others have had on the Methodist Church, and especially the United Methodist Church. Start celebrating Black History Month by Googling these names and seeing what they did for Christ and His Church and our family. Celebrate by spending time in prayer, praying that the hate that survives in any heart be eradicated and replaced with love and understanding. Celebrate, not only the past, but God's glorious future as we become one in God and change the face of the world.

Rev. Dana Everhart is Atlanta-Emory District Superintendent.