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Alexander Crummell

Alexander Crummell

Alexander Crummell was born in New York City in 1819. His father was a slave but his mother had been free for several generations. He was educated at the African Free School in the city before continuing his studies at the Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire. He also spent time at the Onedia Institute.

He studied for ordination in Boston. He also worked as a lay missionary in Rhode Island before being ordained as a priest by the Episcopal Bishop of Delaware. In 1844 he established a small mission in Philadelphia. He soon became involved in politics. This included the campaign for equal suffrage and the abolition of slavery.

In 1847 Crummell, accompanied by his wife and four children, moved to England. He gave sermons and lectures on slavery in the United States. In 1853 Crummell was awarded a degree from Queen's College, Cambridge. Later that year he moved to Liberia where he became a missionary-educator.

During the American Civil War Crummell made tours of the United States giving talks trying to persuade skilled and educated Afro-Americans to resettle in Africa.

Crummell was a black nationalist and held Pan-Africanist views. This made him unpopular with mulattos and white missionaries. In 1873 he decided to return with his family to the United States. He settled in Washington where he became "Missionary-at-Large".

Crummell continued to campaign for a wide variety of issues. In 1897 he was an important figure in the establishment of the American Negro Academy.

Alexander Crummell died in 1898.


Crummell, Alexander (1819-1898)

Crummell was born in New York of free black ancestry. He had a good general education, and though racial prejudice denied him entrance to General Theological Seminary, he was ordained in the Episcopal Church (deacon, 1842 priest, 1844). Fund-raising in England for his new black congregation in New York brought him a place at Queens College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1853. He then went as a Protestant Episcopal missionary to Liberia, taking citizenship and combining pastoral work with the headship of schools in Monrovia and in Maryland county. From 1862 to 1866 he was professor of philosophy and English at Liberia College, a stormy period and from 1867 to 1873, he lived at the Caldwell settlement, where he built a church and school, established an educational outreach for indigenous people, and served two other mission stations. Crummell influenced Liberian intellectual and religious life as preacher, prophet, social analyst, and educationalist, proclaiming a special place for Africa, with its God-given moral and religious potential, in the history of redemption. He wanted Liberia to be marked by democratic institutions, flourishing arts and letters, commerce, and law, and to that end Christian teaching was necessary. His enthusiasms included agricultural development, opening the interior to evangelization and trade, women’s education, and public libraries. He helped reconstruct the Protestant Episcopal Mission as a Liberian church. In his vision, African Americans had a particular responsibility for Africa, but as a “pure black” (as he frequently asserted), he sought to identify with the interests of the indigenous population, opposing government attempts to concentrate power and resources in the mulatto community. In 1873, fearing his life was in danger from the mulatto ascendancy, he returned to the United States. He was rector of St. Luke’s, Washington, D.C., until 1894 and taught at Howard University from 1895 to 1897. He continued his work for African American Christian scholarship and African redemption and founded the American Negro Academy in 1897.

Andrew F. Walls, “Crummell, Alexander,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 161-2.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Bibliography

Digital Texts

_____. “The Black Woman of the South.” n.p.: n.p., [1883?]. Published extract from the address, “Needs and Neglects of the Black Woman of the South.” Editors say it includes a plea for “woman’s work for woman.”

Haynes, Elizabeth Ross. Unsung Heroes. New York: Du Bois and Dill Publishers, 1921.

Primary


Crummell’s sermons have been preserved in the collections of the Schomburg Research Center of the New York Public Library and are available on microfilm. His letters to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society are in the Archives of the Episcopal Church in Austin, TX, and a copy is at Cuttington University College in Liberia. The Library of Congress has microfilmed Crummell’s letters to the American Colonization Society, and a collection of his letters is in the Jay Family Papers at Columbia University.

Crummell, Alexander. The Man: The Hero: The Christian! A Eulogy of the Life and Character of Thomas Clarkson: Delivered in the City of New-York, December, 1846. New York: Egbert, Hovey & King, 1847.

_____. The Duty of a Rising Christian State to Contribute to the World’s Well-being and Civilization, and the Means by Which it May Perform the Same: The Annual Oration before the Common Council and the Citizens of Monrovia, Liberia–July 26, 1855 being the Day of National Independence. London: Wertheim & Macintosh, 1856 [Massachusetts]: Massachusetts Colonization Society 1857 [printing]).

_____. “Address of Rev. Alexander Crummell at the Anniversary Meeting of the Massachusetts Colonization Society, May 29th, 1861.” In Edward Wilmot Blyden and Alexander Crummell, Liberia, The Land of Promise to Free Colored Men, 19-28. Washington, D.C.: American Colonization Society, 1861.

_____. “The English Language in Liberia” [1861]. In Pamphlets of Protest: An Anthology of Early African-American Protest Literature, 1790-1860. New York: Routledge, 2001.

_____. The Relations and Duties of Free Colored Men in America to Africa: A Letter to Charles B. Dunbar, M.D., Esq., of New York City. Hartford: Lockwood and Company, 1861.

_____. The Future of Africa: Being Addresses, Sermons, Etc., Etc., Delivered in the Republic of Liberia. New York New York: Charles Scribner Negro University Press, 1862 1969.

_____. The Greatness of Christ and Other Sermons. n.p.: n.p., 1882.

_____. A Defense of the Negro Race in America from the Assaults and Charges of Rev. J. L. Tucker, D. D., of Jackson, Miss., In His Paper Before the “Church Congress” of 1882, on “The Relations of the Church to the Colored Race.” Prepared and Published at the Request of the Colored Clergy of the Prot. Epis. Church. Washington, D.C.: Judd & Dettweiler, 1883.

_____. Africa and America: Addresses and Discourses. Springfield, MA: Willey & Co., 1891.

__________. Alexander Crummell, 1844-1894: The Shades and Lights of a 50 Years’ Ministry. n.p.: n.p., 1894.

_____. “The Destined Superiority of the Negro, A Thanksgiving Discourse.” In Moral Evil and Redemptive Suffering: A History of Theodicy in African American Religious Thought. Edited by Anthony B. Pinn. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2002.

Secondary


Adeleke, Tende. UnAfrican Americans: Nineteenth-Century Black Nationalists and the Civilizing Mission. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1998.

Akpan, M. B. “Alexander Crummell and His African ‘Race Work’: An Assessment of His Contribution to Liberia to Africa’s Redemption.” In Black Apostles at Home and Abroad: Afro-Americans and the Christian Mission from the Revolution to Reconstruction. Edited by D. W. Wills and R. Newman, 283-310. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982.

Asanti, Molefi Kete. 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Amherst, NY. Prometheus Books, 2002.

Ejofodomi, Luckson. “The Missionary Career of Alexander Crummell in Liberia, 1853-1877.” Ph.D. diss. Boston University, 1974.

Haynes, Elizabeth Ross. Unsung Heroes. New York: Du Bois and Dill Publishers, 1921.

Litwack, Leon F. and August Meier. Black Leaders of the Nineteenth Century. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 1988.

Moses, Wilson J. Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

_____. Creative Conflict in African American Thought: Fredrick Douglass, Alexander Crummell, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Marcus Garvey. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Oldfield, John R. Alexander Crummell (1819-1898) and the Creation of an African-American Church in Liberia. 1990.

_____ (ed.). Civilization and Black Progress: Selected Writings of Alexander Crummell on the South. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995.

Rigsby, Gregory U. Alexander Crummell: A Pioneer in Nineteenth-Century Pan-Africa Thought. New York: Greenwood Press, 1987.

Scruggs, O. M. “‘We the Children of Africa in this Land’: Alexander Crummell.” In Africa and the Afro-American Experience. Edited by L. A. Williams. 1977.

Woodson, Carter Godwin. The History of the Negro Church. Washington, D.C.: The Associated Publishers, c1921.

Links


“Alexander Crummell.” A biographical essay with an image of a sketched portrait of a middle-aged Crummell.

“Alexander Crummell: ‘The Attitude of the American Mind Toward the Negro Intellect’ (1898).” A brief biographical essay introduces this extract at BlackPast.org:

Moses, Wilson J. “Alexander Crummell.” American National Biography Online. February, 2000.

Thompson, Stephen. “Alexander Crummell.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2011 Edition), edited by Edward N. Zalta.


Little Known Black History Fact: Alexander Crummell’s Thanksgiving Day Speech

On Thanksgiving day in 1875, Alexander Crummell, founder of the American Negro Academy, made a historic speech called “The Social Principle Among a People and Its Bearing on Their Progress and Development.” His goal was for Blacks to reflect on racial progress in America on Thanksgiving Day.

Crummell was born in New York in 1819, the grandson of a West African chief. He was educated by Quakers, thus leading to his strong religious ties and work in the Episcopal church. By 1853, Crummell had graduated from the Queens College in Cambridge.

As an Episcopalian priest, Crummell spent many years advocating the emigration of blacks to Africa and for African self-help. By 1873, he ran into opposition in Liberia and returned to Washington D.C. to work as a “missionary at large to the colored people.”

He published several articles in his lifetime: “The Future of Africa: Being Addresses, Sermons, etc. Delivered in the Republic of Liberia” (1862) “The Greatness of Christ and Other Sermons” (1882) and “Africa and America: Addresses and Discourses” (1891).

Twelve years before, President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday, despite opposition from Southern whites. Southern Blacks, however, observed the day as Lincoln intended. In his speech, Crummell dispelled the belief that Black people should forget their color to be progressive.

Crummell said: “The only place I know of in this land where you can forget you are colored is the grave!”

The people, as a body, seem delivered over to the same humble, servile occupations of life in which their fathers trod, because, from a lack of cooperation they are unable to step into the higher callings of business and hence penury, poverty, inferiority, dependence, and even servility is their one general characteristic throughout the country, along with a dreadful state of mortality.

And the cause of this inferiority of purpose and of action is two-fold, and both the fault, to some extent, of unwise and unphilosophic leaders…..What this race needs in this country is power, the forces that may be felt. And that comes from character, and character is the product of religion, intelligence, virtue, family order, superiority, wealth, and the show of industrial forces. These are forces which we do not possess. We are the only class which, as a class, in this country, is wanting in these grand elements.


The remarkable story of Alexander Crummell

A talk at the University of Cambridge’s Festival of Ideas this evening will focus on the extraordinary life of Alexander Crummell – the son of a slave – who was one of the first black students to study at Cambridge.

. perhaps no seat of learning in the world… has done more for human liberty and human well-being than this institution.

Alexander Crummell, 1847

No-one knows when the first black student studied at Cambridge but it is thought that black undergraduates may have studied at or on the fringes of the university as far back as the early 18 th century. A Jamaican named Francis Williams is said to have been educated in Cambridge in the early 1700s. A mixed race violinist called George Augustus Bridgetower was awarded a degree for music he composed in 1812.

However, the first black student at Cambridge for whom official university records exist is Alexander Crummell. An Episcopal preacher and son of an American slave, he studied at Queens’ College in the mid-18 th century. There is copious evidence of his time in Cambridge - and his name appears in Alumni Cantabrigiensis, a list of all known Cambridge students, published in 1922.

Dr Sarah Meer, university lecturer in English, will give a talk about Crummell tonight (Thursday, 20 October) as part of the Festival of Ideas and to coincide with Black History Month.

She became fascinated by Crummell when she encountered references to his life and career in the course of her research into 19 th century American writers. She was quickly intrigued by the way in which his story intersected with developments in literature and politics, especially British involvement in campaigns against American slavery.

“Crummell was one of many African-American travellers to Britain in the 1840s, and like more famous figures such as Frederick Douglass, he attempted to enlist British support for the abolition of slavery. But Crummell was unusual in choosing to stay to read for a degree,” said Meer.

Crummell was born in New York. His father was a freed slave, reputedly an African prince brought from Africa to work for wealthy merchant in the city, and his mother was a free-born woman from Long Island. It is not known where in Africa their families originated. Although Crummell’s father was illiterate, his parents had aspirations for their five children and in the 1820s the young Alexander attended one of the African Free Schools, primary schools set up by New York abolitionists to educate the children of freed slaves. There he was encouraged by an Englishman called Charles Andrews, a stern disciplinarian.

Many black children left formal education at about 14 to begin work in lowly paid trades, though Crummell’s classmates were a gifted generation: one became a teacher, one a doctor, and several became ministers. Against all the odds, Crummell and two black friends were awarded places at a secondary school in New Hampshire. The local community was outraged the school was attacked, the school house was dragged into a swamp and its three black students were driven out of town.

“Although slavery had been abolished in the Northern states of the US, prejudice and discrimination had not, and antislavery opinions were often unpopular. Crummell and his friend Henry Highland Garnet had spoken at a public antislavery meeting, and this may have inflamed the tensions in the town. The experience was deeply shocking, but Crummell and his friends persevered, moving on to a more productive experience at a school in New York,” said Meer.

Crummell and his family embraced the Episcopal Church. This was significant because it opened connections with Anglicans in Britain, and particularly because the church had strong roots in 19 th -century Cambridge. The Episcopal connection would later smooth Crummell’s own path to Cambridge. If he had been a Methodist or a Presbyterian, like many of his classmates, he would not have been able to take a Cambridge degree. He also had a brilliant intellect and formidable determination. But these qualities alone would not have been enough to propel him to university and provide him with the resources he needed to complete a degree. Crummell would win powerful mentors and sponsors in Britain who arranged preparatory tuition and secured the offer of a place at Queens’ College.

Despite his intelligence, steely determination and connections, Crummell’s path to becoming a minister was far from easy: he was denied admission to the General Theological Seminary in New York and given only unofficial access to classes at Yale Theological Seminar. Eventually he was ordained, and in 1848 came to Britain to raise funds for his New York church. A group of British evangelicals arranged to sponsor him at Cambridge, organising preparatory training and an interview at Queens’ College, where he joined much younger students as a 30-year-old man, with a wife and three children.

Crummell’s time at Cambridge came at a low point in terms of what the university offered its students. Like others, Crummell would have had scant teaching and would have supplemented lectures with private coaching. Students (men only until 1869) were presumed to be Anglicans and were ranked by the strata of society they came from. Noblemen, fellow commoners, pensioners and sizars wore different gowns, paid different fees and had different rights. Crummell was a pensioner – one rank up from the sizars who waited on richer students.

Cambridge was, however, an important centre for the anti-slavery movement. Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce both studied at Cambridge – they were influenced among others by the abolitionist Master of Magdalene, Peter Peckard. Their legacy made Cambridge a receptive environment and Crummell held the university in high regard, writing in 1847 that “perhaps no seat of learning in the world… has done more for human liberty and human well-being than this institution”.

Many African-American travellers to Britain at the time commented that there was less overt prejudice in Britain than in the US, and certainly it must have been a relief to get away from the overt segregation of facilities Americans called ‘Jim Crow laws’. But there were also examples of patronising, thoughtless, and even hostile reactions.

Archives of church records and correspondence portray Crummell as a complex, and tricky, character, and his story embodies many contradictions. Despite his passionate championship of black potential, he could see no virtues in traditional African cultures. He made sure that his two daughters received higher education – yet he seems to have treated his first wife with cruel disdain.

“Crummell may have been influenced by the distant and authoritarian teacher and patron figures he encountered as a child, and he was certainly embittered by repeated rejection, as a student, as a priest in training, and later in the posts he applied for. He was touchy with colleagues and dictatorial with his family and congregations. And yet, by the end of his life, the younger writer WEB Du Bois was holding up Crummell as an example of grace and forgiveness,” said Meer.

In Cambridge, Crummell seems to have been a minor celebrity. He met prejudice, but also affection, and deep sympathy when his four-year old son died in an accident. He also remained active outside his studies, working as a curate in Ipswich, and giving antislavery lectures all over the country. On leaving Cambridge he spent nearly 20 years in Liberia as churchman and teacher. He was one of the first professors at Liberia College, which is now the University of Liberia. On a trip back to New York in 1861, Crummell was greeted by the black paper, the Anglo-African, with the headline ‘A Hearty Welcome Home’, and the paper carefully noted that he was ‘BA of Cambridge University, England’. For a black man, and one of humble origins, to have studied at Cambridge was remarkable and sent a signal to others that top institutions like Cambridge were not utterly beyond reach.

Meer said: “Crummell’s significance, politically and historically, lies in his championship of education, his commitment to freedom and his opposition to materialism. His writing on the value of higher education would not look out of place in today’s debates about whether a degree benefits just an individual or a whole society. In today’s environment his views on Christianising Africa would appear Eurocentric and colonialist – yet he made a significant contribution to the development of Liberia, and what he would have called ‘the elevation of his race’.”

Dr Sarah Meer will be talking about Alexander Crummell, the abolitionist tonight (Thursday, 20 October) 6.30-7.30pm at the Faculty of English, Sidgwick Site, Cambridge. No charge. Pre-book 01223 335070 or email [email protected]ermes.cam.ac.uk.

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Alexander Crummell, Episcopalian Priest, Cambridge University Graduate by Rebecca Bayeck, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for African American and African Studies, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture August 24, 2020

Alexander Crummell was born in New York City on March 3, 1819 to Boston Crummell and Charity Hicks. His father was from a royal family of the Temne 1 ethnic group in West Africa, where he lived until he was 13 years of age when he was then sold into slavery. While Alexander’s 2 father became free in his adulthood, his mother was born free to a family of free Black residents in Long Island, New York. Though Boston Crummell could neither read nor write, he hired tutors and educated his children, who in turn read to him English classics, and he could by memory repeat authors like Shakespeare, Milton, and Pope 3 .

At age 13, Alexander Crummell joined the African Free School 4 of Mulberry Street where he completed his elementary education. In 1831, he was enrolled in the Canal Street High School founded by Reverend Peter Williams, 5 with the help of Alexander’s father, Thomas Downing, 6 and other Black leaders who hired a white instructor to teach Greek and Latin. Crummell attended Canal Street School until 1835, then moved to the city of Canaan, New Hampshire, on invitation, to enroll in the Noyes Academy, a school created by abolitionists for all races. Crummell swore to become a great intellectual after hearing a discussion among white lawyers. According to Booker (2000), 7 one of the attorneys quoted the pro-slavery senator John C. Calhoun 8 saying “if he could find a Negro, who knew the Greek syntax, he would then believe that the Negro was a human being and should be treated as a man” (p.52). As soon as he joined the school, Crummell showed his intellectual qualities. For instance, on July 4th, 1835, Crummell, along with other Black students, Henry Highland Garnet 9 and Thomas S. Sidney 10 delivered an excellent speech at an Independence Day gathering organized by abolitionists in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Angered by the speech, whites in the area convened a meeting that evening, and another on July 13. After notifying neighboring towns of their plan to get rid of these Black students—Crummell, Sidney and Garnet—on August 10, 1835, they destroyed the school, and Crummell subsequently returned to New York.

Recounting his ordeal at Noyes Academy in New Hampshire, Crummell wrote:

We met a most cordial reception at Canaan from two score white students, and began, with the highest hopes our studies. But our stay was the briefest. The Democracy of the State could not endure what they called a “Nigger School” on the soil of New Hampshire and so the word went forth, especially from the politicians of Concord, that the school must be broken up. Fourteen black boys with books in their hands set the entire Granite State crazy! On the 4th of July, with wonderful taste and felicity, the farmers, from a wide region around, assembled at Canaan and resolved to remove the academy as a public nuisance! . They were two days in accomplishing their miserable work. …. When we left Canaan the mob assembled on the outskirts of the village and fired a field piece, charged with powder, at our wagon. We returned home over the Green Mountains of Vermont, along the valley of the Connecticut, through Troy, down the Hudson to New York” (Crummell,1891, pp. 280-281).

In 1836, Crummell joined the Oneida Institute at Whitesboro, founded in 1833 by the abolitionist Beriah Green. 11 He graduated in November 1838 and again returned to New York City. The same year, he was appointed ward commander for the newly formed New York Association for the Political Improvement of Colored People. In 1839, he was a candidate for Holy Orders, 12 under the direction of Reverend Peter Williams, Rector of St. Phillips Church, was received as a candidate in the Diocese of Massachusetts, and ordained a deacon in 1842. In 1839, he had also applied for admission into the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, but he was denied entry. His former classmates at Oneida Institute protested against his exclusion. He finally obtained private tutoring in Rhode Island with Reverend. Dr. A.H. Vinton, 13 and was ordained a priest in 1844.

International Travels

Crummell’s international travels were also rooted in the challenges he faced and was trying to address in the United States as well as England. Crummell began his priestly duties in Rhode Island, but was unhappy with the few number of Blacks in the congregation. Attempts to secure an appointment elsewhere failed multiple times because of his color. Tired, Crummell returned to New York City where he started a congregation of poor and Black people.

In 1847, at the invitation of friends, he visited England to raise funds for his church in New York. While in England, he enrolled in Cambridge University, Queens College in 1848, where he graduated with a bachelor degree in 1853. Crummell preached and lectured during his stay in England. Yet, the cold climate affected his health, and upon the advice of his physician to move to a warmer climate, he later left England for Liberia.

In Liberia, where he spent two decades as a missionary, he took the position of professor of English and moral philosophy at Liberia College. In 1872, multiple challenges forced him to return to the United States. Settling in Washington, D. C. he founded St. Luke' s Church, and served as its rector for almost twenty-two years. He helped establish the Conference of Church Workers among Colored People within the Episcopal Church in 1883. In 1895, at 76 years of age, Crummell resigned from St. Luke' s Church, then taught at Howard University from 1895 to 1897. On March 5, 1897, Crummell established the American Negro Academy, which assembled Black scholars of science and literature such as John W. Cromwell, Kelly Miller, W.E.B Dubois, Henry P. Slaughter, and Arthur A. Schomburg, its last president.

Fight for Civil Rights, Identity, and Racial Equality

Throughout his life, Crummell identified with the struggle for civil rights and racial equality. His writings, sermons, speeches, and other literary works were avenues he employed to reclaim Black identity, and oppose narratives about the inferiority of the Black race.

In Defense of the Black race

Crummell often used his sermons to oppose arguments about the inferiority of Black people. For instance, in a sermon on the book of Isaiah 67, verse, 7, titled “The destined superiority of the Negro," 14 he said the following:

The Negro race, nowhere on the globe, is a doomed race! … Just the reverse with the Negro! … The discussion of this morning teaches us that the Negro race, of which we are a part, and which, as yet, in great simplicity and with vast difficulties, is struggling for place and position in this land discovers, most exactly, in its history, the principle I have stated. And we have in this fact the assurance that the Almighty is interested in all the great problems of civilization and of grace carrying on among us. All this is God’s work. He has brought this race through a wilderness of disasters and at last put them in the large, open place of liberty but not, you may be assured, for eventual decline and final ruin. You need not entertain the shadow of a doubt that the work which God has begun and is now carrying on, is for the elevation and success of the Negro… Nothing, believe me, on earth nothing brought from perdition, can keep back this destined advancement of the Negro race. No conspiracies of men nor of devils! The slave trade could not crush them out. Slavery, dread, direful, and malignant, could only stay it for a time. But now it is coming, coming, I grant, through dark and trying events, but surely coming…

Crummell’s theological training allowed him to anchor his defense of the Black race on the Bible, thus refuting other religious leaders who used the same book to justify slavery and the inferiority of Black people. Hence, as a preacher, he could conclude that:

Everywhere on earth has been given him, by the Almighty, assurance, self-assertion, and influence… With all these providential indications in our favor, let us bless God and take courage. Casting aside everything trifling and frivolous, let us lay hold of every element of power, in the brain in literature art and science in industrial pursuits in the soil in cooperative association in mechanical ingenuity and above all, in the religion of our God and so march on in the pathway of progress to that superiority and eminence which is our rightful heritage, and which is evidently the promise of our God! (Crummell, 1882, p.352).

In Defense of the Black Woman

As much as he defended the Black race, Crummell also addressed the challenges faced by Black women. He was, in his own rights, an early advocate of Black women's rights. In an address before the Freedman’s Aid Society 15 at the Methodist Episcopalian Church, titled “The Black woman of the South: Her neglects and her needs," 16 he said the following:

She [the Black woman] was picker of cotton. She labored at the sugar-mill and in tobacco factory. When through weariness or sickness, she has fallen behind her allotted task, there came, as punishment, the fearful stripes upon her shrinking, lacerated flesh. … But some of you will ask: “why bring up these sad memories of the past? Why distress us with these dead and departed cruelties?” Alas, my friends, these are not dead things. Remember that: “The evil that men do lives after them”. The evil of gross and monstrous abominations, the evil of great organic institutions crop out long after the departure of the institutions themselves. (p.161).

For Crummell, the Black woman of the South "is one of the queens of womanhood. If there is any other woman on this earth who in native aboriginal qualities is her superior, I know not where she is to be found … the Negro woman is unsurpassed by any other woman on this earth…. The testimony to this effect is almost universal—our enemies themselves being witnesses'' (Crummell, 1883, p. 167). As seen in the following excerpt, Crummell felt compelled to defend the Black woman:

But for the mothers, sisters, and daughters of my race I have a right to speak. And when I think of their sad condition down South think, too, that since the day of emancipation hardly anyone has lifted up a voice in their behalf, I felt it a duty and a privilege to set forth their praises and to extol their excellencies. …But I must remember that I am to speak not only of the neglects of the black woman, but also of her needs. And the consideration of her needs suggests the remedy which should be used for uplifting of this woman from a state of brutality and degradation….But a true civilization can only then be attained when the life of woman is reached, her whole being permeated by noble ideas, her fine taste enriched by culture, her tendencies to the beautiful gratified and developed, her singular and delicate nature lifted up to its full capacity and then, when all these qualities are fully matured, cultivated and sanctified, all their sacred influences shall circle around then thousand firesides, and the cabins of the humblest freedmen shall become.

Crummell on Africa

Alexander Crummel believed that Africa was the motherland of the Black race, in an abject state and in dire need of help. In a letter titled “ Free colored men in America to Africa" 17 he wrote:

I remark that the abject state of Africa is a most real and touching appeal to any heart for sympathy and aid… Africa lies low and is wretched. She is the maimed and crippled arm of humanity. Her great powers are wasted. Dislocation and anguish have reached every joint. Her condition in every point calls for succor -moral, social, domestic, political, commercial, and intellectual (Crummell, 1862,, p.219).

Africa, for Crummell needed the aid of Blacks in America because Africa “needs skill, enterprise, energy, worldly talent, to raise her and these applied here to her needs and circumstances, will prove the hand maid of religion, and will serve the great purposes of civilization and enlightenment through all her borders” (Crummell, 1862, p. 221).

Crummelll clearly believed that Africa could only be helped by Blacks beyond her shores, whose ancestors were forced to leave the continent. Africa for her regeneration needed her “civilized emigrants”. In his speech “The progress and prospects of the Republic of Liberia 18 ” delivered to the American Colonization Society of New York in 1861, he stated:

. training, habits, customs, education, and political experience, [of Blacks in the United States] have made us—it is not, it is true, a dignified mode of expression, but I have used it in private, and may be pardoned its use here—they have made us “Black Yankees” and I feel assured that in Liberia, we shall find a more congenial field, better appliances, a government more suitable to our antecedents, better fitted to a youthful nation and an aspiring emigrant population to achieve that which seems to me the master aim of all our colonization to Africa, and the noblest duty of the Republic of Liberia—I mean the evangelization and enlightenment of heathen Africa!

This imperialistic view, woven in evangelization and enlightenment erased Africans, projected Africans as inferiors, and aligned with European colonizers’ mindset, with the difference that Crummell this time was calling for Black Americans' colonization of Africa. Therefore, it is not surprising that Crummell’s perception of Africa was met with criticism from other scholars (Appiah, 1990 West, 2004). Furthermore, Black Americans who believed their duty was to the United States, their home, and nation did oppose Crummell’s Africa colonization project. Yet, there is no doubt that Alexander Crummell's contributions to Black liberation in America was immense. Crummell laid the ground for civil rights thinkers and activists centuries after his death on September 10, 1898. The American Negro Academy he founded, which disappeared in 1920 with the rise of the Harlem Renaissance, inspired and mentored famous Black intellectual such as W.E. B. Dubois.

1 The Temne people are found in West Africa, specifically in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and The Gambia.

2 The circumstances of his emancipation are not clear, but it is said that he simply refused to serve his New York owners any longer after reaching adulthood.

3 In The Colonial church chronicle and missionary journal (1847-1862). London F. and J. Rivington. As for the name “Crummell” the authors of this journal explained that it was a transformation of Kerumah, probably in the Temne language.

4. The African Free School was founded in 1787 by the New-York Manumission Society whose members composed the first Board of Trustees of the school. These members included: Melancton Smith, James Cogswell, Thomas Burling, John Lawrence, John Bleecker, Lawrence Embree, Willet Seaman, Jacob Seaman, Nathaniel Lawrence, White Matlock, Matthew Clarkson, and John Murray, Jun. In Andrews, C. C. (1830). The history of the New-York African free-schools, from their establishment in 1787, to the present, Manuscript Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

5. Reverend Peter Williams, Jr. (1780-1840), was an abolitionist, the son of the founder in 1796 of what would become the AME Zion Church in New York City. The young Williams helped establish in 1819 the first Black Episcopalian church in New York, St. Philips African Episcopal Church of which he was the pastor. Recollections of seventy years collection, Manuscript Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

6 Brief speech denouncing the African Civilization Project. The speaker believed this was similar to the American Colonization Society project and just one more way of making money using African American labor.

7 Booker, C. B. (2000). “I will wear no chain”: A social history of African American males. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger.

8 John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) served as a congressman, senator, secretary of war, secretary of state, and vice president of the United States. He also served in both the House and Senate representing South Carolina. Calhoun is known for his defense of the institution of slavery, and advocated states’ rights as a means of preserving slavery in the South. John C. Calhoun papers 1818-1844, 1887, Manuscripts and Archives Division, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library.

9 Henry Highland Garnet, friend of Crummell and Sidney. He attended the African Free School in New York City and Canaan New Hampshire. He graduated from Oneida Institute in 1840. He settled in Troy where he taught the colored district school. Licensed to preach in 1842, he became the first pastor of the Liberty Street Presbyterian Church, a Black congregation in Troy. Writers' Program, New York City: Negroes of New York collection 1936-1941, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

10 Thomas S. Sidney, escaped the Noyes Academy outrage along with his friends and classmates Crummell and Garnet. He enrolled at Oneida Institute. Upon graduation, he served as a ward commander and as corresponding secretary of the newly formed Association for the Political Improvement of People of Color in New York City. He also taught at the New York Select Academy, and held classes in the basement of Broadway Tabernacle. He died in 1841, at 23 years old. Sernett, M. C. (2004). Abolition's axe: Beriah Green, Oneida Institute, and the Black freedom struggle. Syracuse University Press. Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

11 Presbyterian minister, abolitionist, president of the Philadelphia convention of December 4, 1833, during which the American Anti-Slavery Society was formed. The American Anti-Slavery Society (1838). The constitution of the American antislavery society: with the Declaration of the National anti-slavery convention at Philadelphia, December, 1833, and the Address to the public, issued by the executive committee of the Society, in September, 1835. Manuscripts & Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

12 Refers to the holy orders of bishop, priest, and deacon in the Episcopalian Church. This represents a hierarchical order, meaning that to be a candidate for priesthood, one should first be ordained as a deacon before ordination as a priest. Armentrout, D. S.& Slocum, R. B. (2000). An Episcopal dictionary of the Church: A user friendly reference for Episcopalians. New York: Church Publishing.

13 Reverend A. H. Vinton was a zealous leader of the Episcopalian Church, committed to evangelization and learning. He was the president of the first Church Congress in 1874.

14 “Sermon XX, The destined superiority of the Negro. A Thanksgiving Discourse, 1877, Isiah 67, 7” Crummell, A. (1882). The Greatness of Christ and Other Sermons. (pp. 344-352). New York: T. Whitaker. Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

15 Founded by the American Missionary Association, Methodist Episcopal Church in the 1860s to increase education opportunities for freed blacks in the South, including men women and children by establishing schools and colleges for southern Blacks.

16 The speech was given in New Jersey. Alexander Crummell papers 1837-1898 Collection, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

17 Crummell, A. (1862). The future of Africa: being addresses, sermons, etc., etc., delivered in the Republic of Liberia. Alexander Crummell papers 1837-1898 Collection, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

18 Crummell, "The Progress and Prospects of the Republic of Liberia, speech delivered at the Annual Meeting of the New York State Colonization Society, New York, on May 9th, 1861. Alexander Crummell papers 1837-1898 Collection, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Appiah, A. (1990). Alexander Crummell and the invention of Africa. The Massachusetts Review, 31(3), 385-406.

Brown, C. (1968). Christocentric Liberalism in the Episcopal Church. Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 37(1), 5-38. Retrieved from www.jstor.org/stable/42973199

Crummell, A. (1882). The Greatness of Christ and Other Sermons. New York: T. Whitaker

Crummell, A. (1882). The Greatness of Christ, and Other Sermons. [With an Introduction by Thomas M. Clark, Bishop of Rhode Island, and with a Portrait.]. Thomas Whittaker.

Crummell, A. (1891). Africa and America: Addresses and discourses. New York: Negro Universities Press.


CRUMMELL

Alexander Crummell was born in New York. His father was a freed slave, reputedly an African prince brought from Africa to work for wealthy merchant in the city, and his mother was a free-born woman from Long Island. It is not known where in Africa their families originated. Although Crummell’s father was illiterate, his parents had aspirations for their five children and in the 1820s the young Alexander attended one of the African Free Schools, primary schools set up by New York abolitionists to educate the children of freed slaves. There he was encouraged by an Englishman called Charles Andrews, a stern disciplinarian.

Many #black children left formal education at about 14 to begin work in lowly paid trades, though Crummell’s classmates were a gifted generation: one became a teacher, one a doctor, and several became ministers. Against all the odds, Crummell and two black friends were awarded places at a secondary school in New Hampshire. The local community was outraged the school was attacked, the school house was dragged into a swamp and its three black students were driven out of town.

“Although #slavery had been abolished in the Northern states of the US, prejudice and discrimination had not, and antislavery opinions were often unpopular. Crummell and his friend Henry Highland Garnet had spoken at a public antislavery meeting, and this may have inflamed the tensions in the town. The experience was deeply shocking, but Crummell and his friends persevered, moving on to a more productive experience at a school in New York,” said Meer.

Crummell and his family embraced the Episcopal Church. This was significant because it opened connections with Anglicans in Britain, and particularly because the church had strong roots in 19th-century Cambridge. The Episcopal connection would later smooth Crummell’s own path to Cambridge. If he had been a Methodist or a Presbyterian, like many of his classmates, he would not have been able to take a Cambridge degree. He also had a brilliant intellect and formidable determination. But these qualities alone would not have been enough to propel him to university and provide him with the resources he needed to complete a degree. Crummell would win powerful mentors and sponsors in Britain who arranged preparatory tuition and secured the offer of a place at Queens’ College.

Despite his intelligence, steely determination and connections, Crummell’s path to becoming a minister was far from easy: he was denied admission to the General Theological Seminary in New York and given only unofficial access to classes at Yale Theological Seminar. Eventually he was ordained, and in 1848 came to Britain to raise funds for his New York church. A group of British evangelicals arranged to sponsor him at Cambridge, organising preparatory training and an interview at Queens’ College, where he joined much younger students as a 30-year-old man, with a wife and three children.

Crummell’s time at Cambridge came at a low point in terms of what the university offered its students. Like others, Crummell would have had scant teaching and would have supplemented lectures with private coaching. Students (men only until 1869) were presumed to be Anglicans and were ranked by the strata of society they came from. Noblemen, fellow commoners, pensioners and sizars wore different gowns, paid different fees and had different rights. Crummell was a pensioner – one rank up from the sizars who waited on richer students.

Cambridge was, however, an important centre for the anti-slavery movement. Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce both studied at Cambridge – they were influenced among others by the abolitionist Master of Magdalene, Peter Peckard. Their legacy made Cambridge a receptive environment and Crummell held the university in high regard, writing in 1847 that “perhaps no seat of learning in the world… has done more for human liberty and human well-being than this institution”.

Many African-American travellers to Britain at the time commented that there was less overt prejudice in Britain than in the US, and certainly it must have been a relief to get away from the overt segregation of facilities Americans called ‘Jim Crow laws’. But there were also examples of patronising, thoughtless, and even hostile reactions.

Archives of church records and correspondence portray Crummell as a complex, and tricky, character, and his story embodies many contradictions. Despite his passionate championship of black potential, he could see no virtues in traditional African cultures. He made sure that his two daughters received higher education – yet he seems to have treated his first wife with cruel disdain.

“Crummell may have been influenced by the distant and authoritarian teacher and patron figures he encountered as a child, and he was certainly embittered by repeated rejection, as a student, as a priest in training, and later in the posts he applied for. He was touchy with colleagues and dictatorial with his family and congregations. And yet, by the end of his life, the younger writer WEB Du Bois was holding up Crummell as an example of grace and forgiveness,” said Meer.

In Cambridge, Crummell seems to have been a minor celebrity. He met prejudice, but also affection, and deep sympathy when his four-year old son died in an accident. He also remained active outside his studies, working as a curate in Ipswich, and giving antislavery lectures all over the country. On leaving Cambridge he spent nearly 20 years in Liberia as churchman and teacher. He was one of the first professors at Liberia College, which is now the University of Liberia. On a trip back to New York in 1861, Crummell was greeted by the black paper, the Anglo-African, with the headline ‘A Hearty Welcome Home’, and the paper carefully noted that he was ‘BA of Cambridge University, England’. For a black man, and one of humble origins, to have studied at Cambridge was remarkable and sent a signal to others that top institutions like Cambridge were not utterly beyond reach.

Meer said: “Crummell’s significance, politically and historically, lies in his championship of education, his commitment to freedom and his opposition to materialism. His writing on the value of higher education would not look out of place in today’s debates about whether a degree benefits just an individual or a whole society. In today’s environment his views on Christianising Africa would appear Eurocentric and colonialist – yet he made a significant contribution to the development of Liberia, and what he would have called ‘the elevation of his race’.”


Alexander Crummell

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Alexander Crummell, (born 1819, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Sept. 10/12, 1898, Point Pleasant?, N.J.), American scholar and Episcopalian minister, founder of the American Negro Academy (1897), the first major learned society for African Americans. As a religious leader and an intellectual, he cultivated scholarship and leadership among young blacks.

Crummell, born to the son of an African prince and a free mother, attended an interracial school at Canaan, N.H., and an institute in Whitesboro, N.Y., which was run by abolitionists and combined manual labour and the classical curriculum. Denied admission to the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal church in 1839 because of his race, Crummell studied theology privately and became an Episcopalian minister in 1844. He journeyed to England about 1848 to raise funds for a church for poor blacks and soon thereafter began a course of study at Queen’s College, Cambridge (A.B., 1853).

Upon graduation, Crummell went to Liberia as a missionary. He spent the next 20 years there as a parish rector, professor of intellectual and moral science at Liberia College, and public figure. He became a citizen of the new republic and a strong proponent of Liberian nationalism. Throughout his life he would continue to urge the Christianization and civilization of Africa by skilled, educated blacks from all over the world.

Crummell returned to the United States about 1873 and founded and served as pastor of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. A spokesperson for blacks looking for greater recognition in the church, he led the Conference of Church Workers Among Colored People in 1883. After his 1894 retirement from the ministry, he taught at Howard University (1895–97) and founded the American Negro Academy, which promoted the publication of scholarly work dealing with African American culture and history. Notable members included W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Laurence Dunbar.

In his early years, Crummell was an outspoken advocate for the abolition of slavery and the removal of legal restrictions on black Americans. He fought for the right to vote and recommended the establishment of African American schools. Late in his career, he wrote and lectured widely against the increasingly entrenched racism of post-Reconstruction America, appealing to educated blacks to provide leadership.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager.


The Souls of Black Folk Summary and Analysis of "Of Alexander Crummell"

In this chapter, Du Bois chronicles the life of Alexander Crummell. Alexander Crummell is a black man who begins to struggle with life at a very early age. Initially, he faces hate. Then, he is faced with despair, and finally, in his old age, he faces doubt. Du Bois first encounters Crummell at a commencement ceremony at Wilberforce. He was immediately attracted to Crummell because of his finesse, calmness, courtesy, and sweetness. After meeting him, Du Bois follows Crummell throughout his life and provides the reader with a summary of his life.

When he was very young, Crummell had attempted to attend an abolitionist school in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the hatred of the local white people resulted in it being pushed into a swamp by oxen. It was not until Beriah Green, who had a school in Oneida, NY, and decided that he wanted to educate a black boy, that Crummell's life changed. Crummell ended up attending this white school, and thus ridding himself of the hate he had previously acquired when he lost his ability to attend the abolitionist school.

As he grew, Crummell shadowed a Christian Father. He was not content with the world or the injustices within it, and followed the calling of the priesthood. When he attempted to join the apostolic church of God, he was told that Negros were not accepted there. He blamed the world for this injustice, and decided that he would fight to get in. Unfortunately, he kept being told no and began to question his intentions Crummell did not understand why he was opening himself up to the world when it was so unjust to him. His inability to immediately join a church resulted in severe desperation. Fortunately, he was able to finally become a religious leader, and for a moment, he lost his desperation.

Crummell's congregation flourished when he began to work as a priest. After a while, however, people stopped attending church. Here, despair turned into doubt. He began to doubt the capability of the African-American race and of his own vocation. He started to believe that his congregation did not care, and he personally believed that he hard failed because of his dwindling followers. Crummell then told the local bishop that he sought a larger African-American population, and would need to go to a city like Philadelphia with an abundant African-American population.

Crummell arrived in Philadelphia with a letter from the Bishop, granting him permission to preach there. Upon meeting the Bishop in Philadelphia, however, the Bishop informed Crummell that he could not have a Negro priest in his church convention, nor could the Negro have any representation. After all of the struggles of his life, Crummell had decided that this was one he would not accept. He refused to become part of the Diocese and fled. He first went to New York, where he lived in poverty and was not accepted by priests. He gave up and went to England, and then returned to Africa. Du Bois states that the most important part of this story was that Crummell never gave up on his journey he just kept fighting.

In closing the essay, Du Bois reminds the reader that life is always difficult. However, it is always much more difficult for a black man. A very small number can overcome the struggles that Crummell faced and most give into hate, despair, and doubt. Crummell did not let any of his obstacles stop him he continued to learn, continued to preach, and continued to strive until his death.

Du Bois continues by arguing that even though very few know of the existence of Crummell, that does not mean he was unimportant. Instead, that is a clear indication of the prejudice that exists within American history. We always place weight on white American history, but fail to focus on the successes of the strong black man.

W.E.B. Du Bois uses the story of Alexander Crummell as a parallel to his own story of life. Crummell, an accomplished African-American, had struggled throughout his life, and ultimately died in poverty. While Du Bois also struggled, he reached academic fame during his lifetime. The juxtaposition of these two successful African-Americans serves to describe the intricacies of the plight of the black man.

Du Bois argues that Crummell faces three temptations throughout his life: hate, despair, and doubt. Every time he is faced with one of these temptations, he ultimately pushes them away and overcomes them. He uses these examples to demonstrate what the rest of African-American society experienced. Many African-Americans were also confronted with the temptations of hate, despair, and doubt. Their lack of faith and education, however, served to further stratify them into their positions.

In this chapter, Du Bois also states that Crummell attempts to attend school in New Hampshire, as he wanted to achieve an adequate education. According to Du Bois, New Hampshire was like the promised land of Canaan. Canaan was a place where everyone wanted to go, but it was ultimately unattainable. While Crummell does reach New Hampshire, he realizes that he cannot attend school there, because of the local racist community. Crummell, however, continues to fight for the right to achieve his education and ultimately succeeds in attaining it, albeit elsewhere.

Through Crummell's schooling and trials, he becomes more acquainted with the African-American community. He learns that African-Americans are stuck in their positions in society because they had served as slaves for so long. The Church, however, could provide the backbone necessary for them to stand up for themselves. The Church, therefore, was also a symbol of resistance to the white modern world.

Crummell, an African-American priest, eventually returns to Africa, and dies alone. Nobody really knows who he is, which upsets Du Bois. Du Bois argues that Crummell's race made it so that his many successes were rated as unnecessary and irrelevant within American society. He realizes that the sentiment towards African-Americans changes over time.


Alexander to Amma

Alexander Crummell (1819-98) was the first black person to receive a degree from the University of Cambridge and he studied at Queens&apos. He was a leading figure in the movement for the rights of black people in the United States, Britain and Africa.

He was born in New York City and educated mostly at institutions run by black clergymen and abolitionists. In 1847 he sailed to England to raise funds to build a church for his congregation in New York. However, his efforts were interrupted by illness, so that friends suggested he retire from over-work and become a student at the University of Cambridge he enrolled at Queens&apos.

He matriculated in 1849 and took his BA in 1853 (the BA course took nearly 4 years at that time).

Very little is known about his Cambridge career, except one anecdote from the very end of his time here. At the degree ceremony in the Senate House, 𠆊 boisterous individual in the gallery called out, “Three groans for the Queens’ n*****” … A pale slim undergraduate … shouted in a voice which re-echoed through the building, “Shame, shame! Three groans for you, Sir!” and immediately afterwards, “Three cheers for Crummell!”. This was taken up in all directions … and the original offender had to stoop down to hide himself from the storm of groans and hisses that broke out all around him’ (Crummell’s champion was E.W. Benson who was to become Archbishop of Canterbury). [The Life of Edward White Benson, by A.C. Benson, 1899, Vol. 1 p. 109]

Crummell is said to have been one of the finest black American writers before the twentieth century. His considerable influence as a writer, teacher of moral ideals, and opponent of racial persecution is well recognised today in the United States. He was a tireless worker for the rights of black people and constantly optimistic.

Amma Kyei-Mensah competing in the Varsity Athletics in 1983.

Amma Kyei-Mensah competing in the Varsity Athletics in 1983.

More than 100 years after Alexander Crummell left Queens&apos, the College experienced another first: the first women undergraduates arrived in 1980, and with them our first black female student, Amma Kyei-Mensah. Amma read Medicine at Queens&apos and was our first woman to be awarded a Blue, for Athletics in 1981. She later captained the University Team and still holds a hurdles record.

She is now a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and was made an Honorary Fellow in 2018. This occasion was another first for the College, as Dr Kyei-Mensah was admitted alongside Emily Maitlis (1989), Professor Naomi Segal, Professor Dame Alison Peacock (1994), and Dr Pippa Wells (1983) as the first female Honorary Fellows of the College.

Our female Honorary Fellows shortly after their admission in the Chapel. Left to right, back row: Dr Amma Kyei-Mensah, Dr Pippa Wells, Emily Maitlis front row: Professor Naomi Segal, Professor Dame Alison Peacock. Photo credit: Ian Olsson.

Our female Honorary Fellows shortly after their admission in the Chapel. Left to right, back row: Dr Amma Kyei-Mensah, Dr Pippa Wells, Emily Maitlis front row: Professor Naomi Segal, Professor Dame Alison Peacock. Photo credit: Ian Olsson.

Into the twenty-first century.

Queens&apos has always endeavoured to build up a diverse community we aim to take the brightest and best students, regardless of background. We have a welcoming BME community at Queens&apos, who are represented in College by the JCR and MCR BME representatives, looking after undergraduate and postgraduate students respectively.

In 2015, we were very proud that a Queens&apos PhD candidate, Njoki Wamai (2012), was co-founder and first President of the Black Cantabs Research Society, which aims to uncover and preserve the legacies of black alumni at Cambridge and to place black students in the University&aposs past, present and future.

Recently, it has been announced that across the University as a whole, a record number of 137 black UK students have been admitted, the highest figure ever for the university and up 46 students on last year, which was also a record year.

Seth Daood is the JCR BME rep. this year. He said:

"My role is very variable. It involves making sure all students are represented in committee meetings, but also extends further: I am a point of reference for anyone who is struggling with settling in, or has any questions on adapting to life at Cambridge and Queens&apos due to their background. Currently this involves ensuring that BME freshers have a smooth transition to Cambridge, planning virtual events to build the BME community and creating links with BME officers across Cambridge to share resources, events and advice."

Vivek Badiani, MCR BAME rep., said:

My role as the BAME Representative for the Queens’ MCR is to communicate diversity within our MCR community with featured talks and events and to provide a point of contact for both BAME and non-BAME members who would like to discuss anything at all surrounding diversity and inclusivity, as well as any developments in current affairs.

Furthermore, together with the Fellow Librarian, we will be working to decolonise the Queens’ Library this year to ensure our College does not reinforce outdated modes of thinking related to the issues of race and diversity. My aim is to build an inclusive environment for all BAME members at Queens’ and to ensure that they are supported, involved and engaged in all facets of the wonderful life that our College has to offer.

There are a number of plans to mark Black History Month in College. The Library have put together a display of books about black history and thought across the world, with topics including the civil rights movement, the history of rap music and black feminist thought, from authors such as Paul Gilroy, Reni Eddo-Lodge and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

A number of Queens&apos societies, including the Milner Society (Natural Sciences) and the Feminist Society, are also putting together pamphlets and hosting virtual events to explore black history in their area. The LGBT+ representative for the JCR is also working on an LGBT+ x Black history pamphlet which will be distributed in College in due course.


Sister Sarah's Excellent Adventure

Today in the Episcopal Church, we remember the Rev. Alexander Crummell. Priest, scholar, missionary, abolitionist, and writer, he had the courage and tenacity to pursue his vocation in the Episcopal Church at a time when only white men were welcomed as priests. He finally found a home in the Diocese of Massachusetts and was ordained to the diaconate in 1842 and the priesthood in 1844. He earned a degree in Cambridge (UK) in 1853 while serving as a parish priest there, and continued on to work in Liberia before returning to the US. He is one of the founders of what is now the Union of Black Episcopalians.

The Rev. Alexander Crummell, 1877 - http://www.episcopalarchives.org/Afro-Anglican_history/exhibit/images/leadership/orig/crummell.jpg

http://www.episcopalarchives.org/Afro-Anglican_history/exhibit/leadership/crummell.php

The Union of Black Episcopalians offers a good biographical sketch:

From Dr. Sarah Meer, a lecturer at Cambridge University, one of Alexander Crummell's alma maters:


W.E.B. DuBois himself writes of Crummell. Here is the pertinent chapter, via YouTube audio books:


Watch the video: HAP 53 - Pilgrims Progress - Alexander Crummell (January 2022).