Arthur Bunyan Caldwell.

History of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) online

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lic schools, from which he passed to Kinston College where
he remained for five years, finishing his course there in



1909. He then attended Shaw University for a while, after
which he went to the Dowington Normal and Inudstrial
School in Pennsylvania, graduating in 1914. He finally
completed his college course at Lincoln University in 1918.
The bachelor's degree was conferred on him by Kinston

The poverty of his parents and the ill health of his
father made it necessary for the boy to make his own way
in school. While at Kinston College he sawed wood, cooked,
or did anything else which offered a chance to make ex-
penses. After completing his work there, and before going
to Shaw, he taught for three years in Green Co. Later in
his career he went into the Pullman service and thus had
an opportunity to see a large part of the country to ad-
vantage, having traveled the country over. Through all
his years of struggle he was inspired by a desire to become
a man, and be of some service in his day and generation.
While a student, he was an enthusiastic baseball player.

Prof. Rasbury has found especially helpful the bi-
ographies of the great leaders of the race, like Washington,
Douglas and others.

At the completion of his university training he traveled
back to his Alma Mater as the head of that institution,
which has greatly prospered under his administration. The
enrollment of the school has in two years increased more
than 50 per cent.

Prof. Rasbury is a 32 degree Mason and while in school
was prominently identified with the Greek letter fraterni-
ties, being a member and office holder in the Omega Si Phi.
He believes that the best interests of the race in the nation
are to be promoted by a friendly, cordial understanding be-
tween the races which would look to a high standard of

Prof. Rasbury has had the wisdom to take the necessary
time for preparation so that he can look forward to the fu-
ture with confidence.

Samuel F. B. Peace

Among the active influential men of the M. E. Connec-
tion in North Carolina must be mentioned Rev. Samuel
Flagg Broady Peace of Greensboro. From boyhood, even
before his conversion, he felt that his work in life must be
that of the ministry. He shaped his education with the
ministry in view and for thirty years has been serving as
pastor or superintendent. He has had some of the best
opportunities in the State and has had a record of progres-
sive, constructive work which is cerditable to him and an
asset of his denomination.

Rev. Peace is a native of Granville Co., having been
born at Oxford just before the outbreak of the war. The
exact date was March 10, 1860. His father, George L.
Peace was a blacksmith. His mother was Delilah Peace.
His paternal grandparents were Booker and Jas. Peace and
his maternal grandparents were Polly and Annie Peace.

Mr. Peace was married on May 20, 1896 to Miss Annie
E. Dorsette a daughter of David and Lucinda Dorsette.
They have five children. Their names are Olivia S., Alberta
May D., Annie E., Lillian M., and Samuel F. B. Peace, Jr.
As a boy and youth our subjecct worked on the farm. He
worked as a tobacconist for awhile. One year was spent
in New England during which time he served as steward at
the Curtis School.

He laid the foundation of his education at Boydon In-
stitute, and did his College work at Bennett College, com-
pleted Academic Course and graduated from that institu-
tion in 1894.

When about nineteen years of age, Rev. Peace made a
profession and identified himself with the Baptist Church
and was by that denomination licensed to preach. Later he
applied for membership in the M. E. Conference and was
accepted. He regularly joined the Conference at Winston-
Salem in 1891 under Bishop Warren. He was appointed to>



South Greensboro which gave him the opportunity to at-
tend Bennett College. He remained on that work from
1890 to 1894 and erected houses of worship at New Goshen
and Holmes Grove. The following year he preached at
Fayetteville and completed the church previously begun.
From 1895 to 1899 he preached at Lenoir where the church
was remodeled. The following year was spent on the Gas-
tonia Circuit and the churches both at Gastonia and at
Bessemer City paid out of debt. In 1890 he went to Laurin-
burg and began a successful pastorate of six years. In
1906 he was sent to Charlotte for two years and while on
that work completed the Graham Street Church. In 1908
he was promoted to the superintendency and presided over
the Greensboro District till 1914. He was then assigned
to the High Street station, Winston-Salem. Rev. Peace
has through the years of his ministry felt the call to help-
others and this has been a very potent factor in his work.
He believes that permanent progress can come only from
constant toil and faithfulness to mankind, by study of the
things in hand and by doing thoroughly the task that falls
to one's lot.

So the boy born in slavery has not only witnessed the
emancipation of his people from physical slavery, but has
made of himself a leader in order that he might help to
liberate them from the thraldom of superstitution and the
slavery of ignorance. He has had a fruitful ministry and
has made his life count for him whom he serves.

Peter William Burnett

Dr. Peter W. Burnett, President of the State Medical,
Dental and Pharmaceutical Society of North Carolina, is
typical of what is best among the younger professional men
in the Old North State. He was born, reared and educated
in the State and has worked out a measure of success of
which a much older man might well be proud. He was born



at Oak City, October 10, 1874. His father, Hilliard Burnett,
was a farmer and the boy was brought up on the farm.
His mother, before her marriage, was Miss Annie Harrell.

Young Burnett went to the public schools of Martin
Co. When seventeen years of age, he lost his father and
from that time forth had to work to help support his mother.
The way to a college education and professional training
did not look bright. In fact, it was not easy. The youth
was not discouraged, however, and matriculated at Shaw
University for his literary training. He spent four years
in the College Department before taking up his medical
course which he completed in 1906. As he looks back over
the long, hard years of his boyhood and youth, he realizes
that the careful supervision and wholesome advice of his
parents were dominating influences in his life and have
helped him to win the success which he has since attained.
While attending medical college his summer vacations were
spent in the Pullman service and this gave him a rare op-
portunity to see most of America to advantage. While in
school he was accustomed to play baseball, football and en-
gage in other athletic sports.

Dr. Burnett began the practice of his profession at Ox-
ford after his graduation and remained there for one year.
In 1907, he went to Rocky Mount where he has since re-
sided and built up a large general practice. Such was his
reputation in the profession that at the annual meeting of
the State Medical Society in 1919 he was elected President.
He has also been active in local affairs and is now Presi-
dent of the local Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical So-
ciety. There was at one time a similar organization cover-
ing Eastern Carolina and he was during its life time presi-
dent of that.

Dr. Burnett is a member of the Missionary Baptist
Church and is in politics a Republican. He holds member-
ship in the Masons, Odd Fellows, Pythians, Royal Knights
of King David ; and as in medical work he has refused to be
a miere figure-head so he has been prominent in the various
lodges with which he is identified. In fact, he has already


held almost every position within the gift of the lodges
mentioned. He is Medical Examiner for the Odd Fellows
and Knights of Pythias and also the Standard Life Insur-
ance Co.

While it has been necessary for him to spend a great
deal of money, he has managed his business affairs in such
a way as to accumulate considerable property which is
worth at least $30,000. His life and work have been such
as to give him an intimate knowledge of conditions among
his people both in the country and in the city. When asked
how, in his opinion, the best interests of the race could be
promoted, he replied: "Educate, work, economize and pre-
serve the health of the people."

On Dec. 30, 1908, Dr. Burnett was married to Miss
Bertha E. Herring, a daughter of George W. and Rosa Her-
ring, of Clinton. She passed away Feb. 1, 1919.

James Harvey Anderson, Jr.

A whole book, instead of a sketch, might be written
about Rev. James Harvey Anderson, Jr., D. D., Ph.D., Editor
of the Star of Zion. For nearly half a century he has been
active in the work of the A. M. E. Zion Church and for
much of that time has been prominent in the Connection.
Bishop Smith writing of him some years since, said, "He
is pronounced one of the ablest church statisticians in the
country, an able writer, a strong theologian, elegant and
graphic pulpit orator, and splendid scholar." The late Bishop
Smith said in an introductory article, "If length of service,
usefulness to the church and race, ability, and merit count
for anything, Dr. Anderson is highly deserving of credit in
these directions, and if any man in the A. M. E. Zion Church
is deserving of promotion, either to title or position, he is
one." The late lamented Bishop Hood said, "Rev. J. Harvey
Anderson was brought more prominently to my attention
by his wonderful speech before the judiciary Committee



of the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island in
the support of repeal of the inter-marriage laws of that
State and which was the principal feature in securing the
repeal. He is a good pastor, able writer and splendid
preacher. When he opens his mouth a stream of eloquence
flows forth."

Dr. Anderson is a native of Frederick, Md., where he
was born June 30, 1848. His father James Harvey Ander-
son, Sr., originally a slave, was freed before the birth of
his son. His mother's name was Minerva. Dr. Anderson's
grandfather was a Scotchman and his maternal grand-
mother an Indian Squaw. So he bears in his veins the blood
of three races. According to the custom of the time he
was bound out and by his own efforts and the assistance of
the white people with whom he worked was able to make
some progress in the way of education, after removing to
the South following the Civil War.

After the battle of Antietam he followed the army and
was employed by a Federal officer for a year. Though still
in his teens he then enlisted and was in the service till the
close of the war.

All his life Dr. Anderson has been a student. He at-
tributes his success in life to good habits, good company and
the example of the best white people North and South who
observing his strong native ability, inquisitiveness and apti-
tude took a peculiar interest in him and frequently gave
him books and other assistance.

About the time he reached his majority, he was con-
verted and identified himself with the A. M. E. Zion
Church in which he has become such an important figure.
He began preaching at Patterson, N. J., in 1870 and regu-
larly joined the Conference in 1872 under Bishop Sampson
Talbot. He was successful from the beginning.

A mere list of the pastorotes and denominational posi-
tions he has filled is a long one. At the North he served
the Zion churches at Paterson, N. J., Harlem, Hudson, Troy,
Rochester and Binghampton, N. Y., Providence, R. I., New
Haven and Bridgeport, Conn., Washington, D. C, Carlisle,


Harrisburg, Wilkesbare and Pittsburgh, Pa. In the South
he has held the best pastorates in the connection such as
New Bern and Edenton, N. C, Petersburg, Va., and Balti-
more, Md. He presided over the Harrisburg District for
five years. He preached a vigorous militant Gospel and
every where his work has been marked by progress. Early
in life he learned to assimilate and make his own the best
things he heard. Later he came in contact with the greatest
white preachers at the North and found them cordial and
willing to help him. He speaks and writes faultless English.
He was soon a recognized figure in denominational gather-
ings. He was a delegate to the M. E. Church Centennial at
Baltimore in 1891 ; delegate to the Ecumenical Conference of
Methodism at London in 1894; fraternal delegate to the A.
M. E. General Conference at Chicago in 1904. For thirty
four years he has been Secretary or Secretary and Com-
piler in various Annual Conferences and was for twenty
four years Denominational Statistical Seccretary and Editor
of the Church Year Book. He was a delegate to the Cen-
tennial of the A. M. E. Zion Church at New York in 1896.
Naturally he is one of the best informed men in the de-
nomination on matters pertaining to church history as well
as the present day practical affairs of the connection. In
1916 he was elected Editor of the Star of Zion, the denom-
inational organ published at Charlotte, N. C. Here his
varied experience in church work, his forceful style as a
writer, his great fund of information and sound doctrine
are all brought to bear upon his work. Though past seventy,
there is the freshness and vigor of a man of forty in his
manner and expression.

On March 10, 1870, Dr. Anderson was married to Miss
Julia Ann Moore of Paterson, N. J. Of the nine children
born to them the following are living: Minerva Ann, who
is a nurse, Joseph P. who is a musician, and Lillian V. who
is also a musician.

Dr. Anderson has the Ph.D. degree from the institution
at Newbern and the D. D. degree from Livingstone College.
He believes that the permanent progress of the race depends


on "education, the acquisition of property, proper home life,
business thrift, industry manufacturing and frugality." He
has his permanent home at Paterson, N. J.

Arthur Lee Robinson

The story of the successful men of any race or people
is a real asset. Obscure country boys, struggling up from
poverty to places of success and usefulness, inspire others,
and so the work of progress goes on. One of the successful
young professional men of the State whose life should point
the way for others is Dr. Arthur Lee Robinson, the only
colored dentist at Hamlet. He is a native of Anson Co.,
where he was born Sept. 17, 1888. His father is R^v. Peter
Robinson — Presiding Elder of the Carthage district, of the
A. M. E. Zion Church. The father being an itinerant
preacher ,the boy attended the public schools wherever the
family happened to reside at the time. He had the very
great advantage of being brought up and trained in a Chris-
tian home. He went to Livingstone College for his literary
education. Here he was popular as a student and active in
singing and in college athletics. Later he matriculated at
Meharry Dental College where he won his D. D. S. degree in
1917. While at Meharry he was captain and coach of the
baseball team, and Assistant Prosthetician, teaching Pros-
thetic dentistry. He was a member of Meharry quartette
and Philharmonic singers three years. During his college
days he spent his vacations North in hotel work or in the
Pullman service. In this way he was self-supporting and
able to complete his course without a break. He also en-
joyed the advantage of seeing much of his native land and
of Canada.

Early trained to work in the church he has not per-
mitted the increasing canes of professional life to crowd
out his religious activities. He, like his father is a member
of the A. M. E. Zion Church in which he is a steward and



trustee and Assistant Superintendent of the Sunday School.
He has an excellent tenor voice and is Choirister in his
local church besides being in demand on public occasions.
He is a pleasing and forceful speaker and is often called on
to make speeches on anniversary and other occasions. He
belongs to the Masons and is a member of the State Medical
and Dental Association. On the completion of his course,
"he located in 1917 at Hamlet where he has a constantly
[growing practice. He also owns a drug store at Hamlet.
He believes that best interests of the race are to be pro-
moted by the right of eductaion and equal opportunity or,
in other words, a man's chance for every man.

William Thomas Beebe

The Beebe family of the old town of Washington has
long been prominent in that section of the State. One of
its most distinguished members was the late Bishop J. A.
Beebe of the C. M. E. Church. His son, Dr. Wm. Thomas
Beebe, is a worthy representative of the family of the pres-
ent generation. He was born at Washington on January
17, 1878. He went to the local public schools as a boy and
passed from there to Paine College, but did not remain to
'complete the course. Later, he matriculated at Howard
University where he took his medical course and won his
"M. D. degree in 1906. His father has considerable farming
interests and the boy spent much of his time between terms
<on the farm.

Having been brought up in a good home of religious
influences, and one of intelligence and culture as well, it is
not strange that Dr. Beebe's mind should early have turned
to one of the learned professions. After completing his
•education, he returned to his home town and began the
practice of medicine. He has built up a large general prac-
tice and in 1916 added to his other interests a drug store.
On September 4, 1913, Dr. Beebe was married to Miss



Anna A. Hardy, also a native of Washington. She was
educated at Shaw University. They have one daughter,
Josephine Beebe.

Dr. Beebe is a member of the C. M. E. Church of which
lie is a trustee. He is also chorister in the local church and
takes an active interest in the work of the denomination.
He is identified with the Masons, the Pythians and the
Elks. He is Medical Examiner for his local lodges and for
the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. He
holds membership in the State and National Medical Asso-
ciations and is widely known in Eastern North Carolina as
one of the most prominent and successful colored physicians
in that part of the State.

His intimate contact with the people has given him an
opportunity to study conditions over a period of years. He
believes that the things most needed at this time are edu-
cation, co-operation and the right sort of home life, which
can only come with the ownership of homes. His residence
is at Washington and his business interests center in and
;around that historic old town. He has recently completed
a beautiful eight thousand dollar home at Washington and
lias surrounded himself with the comforts of life.

John T. Sanders

A great historian, who was also a great philosopher,
<once said: "The generality of prince, if they were stripped
of their purple and cast naked into the world, would imme-
diately sink to the lowest rank of society without hope of
emerging from their obscurity. "The reverse is also true
for there are men who, starting life in obscurity, with every
imaginable disadvantage, have by sheer force of character
and strength of will, lifted themselves to places of usefulness
and leadership. Among these must be mentioned John T.
Sanders, a successful lawyer and capable business man of
Charlotte. He is a native of the sister State of South Caro-



lina, having been born at Chester in that State. His par-
ents were John and Narcissus Sanders. It is to be hoped
that Mr. Sanders will some time write out in detail for
publication a complete story of how he secured his educa-
tion. Of formal schooling there was but little. The famih
was poor and it was necessary for him to work from boy-
hood. He went to school eighteen months all told. He
first attended in an irregular way the public school of his
native county. His college work was done at Biddle Uni-
versity, except a short while at Livingstone College. While
in school he worked all day and studied at night. His study,
however, was not confined to the evening hours. By an
original and peculiar arrangement he managed to pursue
his studies while at his work. He would tear a leaf from
his book, tack it to his plow, and while going up and down
the rows would master that particular leaf. When that
was done, it would be discarded and replaced by another
It may be imagined that knowledge secured under such dif-
ficulties was used to advantage when it was once secured.
When it came to the subject of mathematics, he remembers
with peculiar gratitude the assistance received from Mr.
W. G. Alston, who cheerfully helped him over the rough
places. In fact, all through his career Mr. Sanders' rela-
tions with the white men with whom he has come in contact
have been cordial and helpful. His attitude has been frank,
and free from cringing or subserviency. He has a record,
of which any man in his position might well be proud, of
never having accepted a tip from anyone.

In 1890 Mr. Sanders went from Chester to Charlotte
and entered Biddle University without a cent of money.
The Superintendent put him to work on the campus, and he
spent two months of that term and then went back to the
farm in S. C. By this time he had come to know the
value of money and to understand more perfectly the im-
portance of an education. He continued to work and study
and in 1898 returned to Biddle, where he spent a part of
two terms. Prior to this he had taught school for a while
in North Carolina and having learned the painter's trade


earned some money in that capacity. He was now con-
fronted with the problem of how to make his small capital
of $375 earn more money. Every night for a month he
considered the matter and finally came to the conclusion that
the one thing which everyone wanted was money, and
would borrow money from anyone. So he decided to go
into the money lending business. In the eight years from
1890 to 1898 he realized $2500.00. He took $1500 of this
amount to the Loan and Savings Bank and in this way
came into personal contact with the late Mr. S. Wittkosky.
The methods of the young man appealed to the old banker
and this transaction led to a cordial arrangement which
lasted for twenty years — during the rest of the life of Mr.

Mr. Sanders is a good judge of values and naturally
drifted into real estate trading; and for a number of years
has done an extensive financial and real estate business in
and around Charlotte.

It is not strange that a man of his logical turn of mind
should find the law attractive. It is perhaps as a lawyer
that Mr. Sanders is best known. Here, again, however, he
was confronted by difficulties which would have appalled a
less courageous soul. He enlisted the assistance and co-
operation of a local attorney, who gave him lectures for
three months ; and with his law books -his dug the rest out
for himself, and was admitted to the bar in 1906. He was
the only colored man who passed that examination, notwith-
standing the fact that a number of other colored men pres-
ent were from colleges.

Beginning in a small way he has built up a good prac-
tice at Charlotte. He works assiduously for his clients and
has the unique record of never having had a client go to

At one time he turned to journalism and edited the
Charlotte Advertiser for fifteen years, during which time
it never missed an issue. He has been conducting a drug
store in Charlotte since 1904. Before the disfranchisement
of the Negroes in North Carolina, he was more or less active


in politics, but in recent years has devoted himself to his
business and professional work.

Among the secret orders he is identified with the
Masons, Odd Fellows and Pythians and has been Grand At-
torney for the District Grand Lodge of the Odd Fellows since
1917. Mr. Sanders married Miss Ella Chishold, of Chester.
They have no children.

He is a member of the Baptist Church, and is well in-
formed and keeps up with present day matters through the
current periodicals. His favorite reading consists of the
best English classics, such as Milton and Shakespeare.

Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 22 of 48)