BlackPast.org Facebook BlackPast.org Twitter

Donate to BlackPast.org BlackPast Blog
  • African American History
  • African American History in the West
  • Global African History
  • Perspectives

NOTE: BlackPast.org will not disclose, use, give or sell any of the requested information to third parties.

14 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Shop Amazon and help BlackPast.org

Blackpast.org in the Classroom

Crummell, Alexander (1819-1898)

Image Ownership: Public Domain
Alexander Crummell, an Episcopalian priest, missionary, scholar and teacher, was born in New York City in 1819 to free black parents.  He spent much of his life addressing the conditions of African Americans while urging an educated black elite to aspire to the highest intellectual attainments as a refutation of the theory of black inferiority.

Crummell began his education at an integrated school in New Hampshire. He later transferred to an abolitionist institute in Whitesboro, New York where he learned both the classics and manual labor skills. However, after being denied admittance to the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church because of his race, Crummell was forced to study privately.  Nonetheless at the age of 25 he became an Episcopalian minister. 

From 1848 to 1853 Crummell lectured and studied in England.  He also graduated from Queens’ College, Cambridge University in 1853.  Crummell left England to become an educator in Liberia, accepting a faculty position at Liberia College in Monrovia.  From his new post, Crummell urged African Americans to emigrate to Liberia.

Internal politics, however, forced Crummell to leave Liberia in 1872, shattering his dream of the West African nation as a Christian Republic populated by both indigenous people and African American immigrants.  Crummell returned to the United States and settled in Washington, D.C. where he founded St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  When some Episcopal bishops proposed a segregated missionary district for black parishes, Crummell organized a group now known as the Union of Black Episcopalians to fight the proposal.  Crummell also lectured widely across the United States stressing the social responsibilities of educated middle class African Americans as race leaders. 

From 1895 to 1897 Crummell taught at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  In 1897, the last year of his life, Crummell helped found the American Negro Academy and became its first president, with W.E.B. DuBois and William Saunders Scarborough as vice presidents.  Alexander Crummell, who would become a major influence on myriad black leaders including DuBois, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Marcus Garvey, died in Point Pleasant, New Jersey in 1898.

Sources:
Jeremiah Moses, Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent (Oxford University Press, 1989);
Pbs.org/wnet/aaword/reference/articles/Alexander_crummell.html

Contributor:

University of Washington

Entry Categories:

Copyright 2007-2017 - BlackPast.org v2.0 | blackpast@blackpast.org | Your donations help us to grow. | We welcome your suggestions. | Mission Statement

BlackPast.org is an independent non-profit corporation 501(c)(3). It has no affiliation with the University of Washington. BlackPast.org is supported in part by a grant from Humanities Washington, a state-wide non-profit organization supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the state of Washington, and contributions from individuals and foundations.