Arthur Bunyan Caldwell.

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

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in slavery, has lived to render large and effective service to
his people.

Alexander Hampton Newsome

If what has been accomplished by the self made men
of America of both races could be set over against what,
has been done by the college men and the men of splendid
opportunities, there would be nothing for the self made-
men to be ashamed of. On the other hand they have much



to be proud of in the records they have made. Besides the
successes they have won under difficulties have, in turn,
been the inspiration of many another youth. One of these
sterling men, who, tihough born in slavery and reared in
poverty, has done valiant service as a religious leader, is
Rev. Alexander Hampton Newsome now (1920) stationed
at High Point.

Mr. Newsome is a native of Davidson County, where
he was born Oct. 5, 1860, which was just before the out-
break of the war. He was nearly five years of age when
the war closed and remembers seeing the flash of the can-
non when Salisbury was bombarded. From earliest boy-
hood Ihe felt that his work in life must be that of the min-
istry. His early years were spent on the Davidson County
farm where he had for a companion a white boy, the nephew
of his mother's former master. The aunt of this boy
taught young Newsome to read and write. Such was his
eagernes sto learn and his aptitude for books that he
learned his alphabet in one night and soon mastered the
Blue Back Speller. After that he entered the public schools
of his native county and after his marriage went to High
School at Oxford.

He gave his heart to God when Ihe was about sixteen
years of age and was licensed to preach before he was seven-
teen. He did supply work for several years. In 1881 he
was regularly admitted to the Conference under Bishop
Merril at Winston-Salem and was soon recognized as one of
the strong men of the connection in Western North Carolina.
A mere list of his pastorates is a long one. Churches have
been built and repaired, parsonages constructed and debts
of long standing paid under his administration. Best of all
souls /have been saved in the revivals he has held and many
members added to the church. His first regular appoint-
ment under the Conference was the Deep River Circuit.
After that he preached at West Raleigh one year, Oxford
two years, Madison Circuit, Rockingham County, one year,
Morris Chapel Station, High Point, two years ( Winston-
Salem two years, Larinburg one year, Lumberton four
years, Reidsville two years, Lexington two years, Gastonia


two years, Simpson's Chapel, Charlotte, two years, Hickory
four years, and Oxford a second time four years. In 1913
he was promoted to the Western North Carolina District,
over which he presided for six years. Though some of the
years of his superintendency were hard years for the people
of the District, nevertheless he brought it up to new higfh
water marks in finances and efficiency. In 1919 he was
sent a second time to the Morris Chapel Station, at High
Point. Rev. Newsome has had some of the most popular
appointments in the M. E. connection in Western North
Carolina. All his life he has been a hard worker. As a boy
on the farm working for 25 cents a day, he would carry
home lightwood knots, by the light of which he would read
till late in the night. He did not take defeat or failure into
consideration. He worked and prayed and trusted and
went ahead. Nor did he pause when 'he had joined the
Conference. Though deprived of a college education he
continued to read and study. He took the Conference
course and passed a creditable examination. It has been
stated that he has brought into the Conference more young
men than any other man in the Conference. His greatest
revival was at Charlotte, where 160 were converted at one
meeting. At Lumberton 140 were converted at one revival.

Rev. Newsome has been married twice. His first mar-
riage was on Nov. 28, 1879, to Miss Janie Sanders, of Ran-
dolph County. Of the five children born to them only one
survives, Miss Dora F. Newsome. In 1889 Mrs. Newsome
passed away. In 1889 Rev. Newsome was married to Miss
Mary L. Alford, of High Point. She was educated at Ben-
nett College. They have four children: Coudres A.,
Charles D., Earline A. and Lee H. Newsome.

In the Annual Conference Rev. Newsome is a member
of the Board of Stewards and of Home Mission. He is also
a Trustee of Bennett College. During the War he was
active in all the campaigns and drives and (had one son, Lee,
in the service in France.

William Haywood Phillips

All observers of race progress in the South in recent
years have noted with interest the success which has at-
tended the younger professional men, especially doctors and
dentists. It is but fair to say of these that they repre-
sent the best and most intelligent types of the race. Most
of tihem are college men and have had to equip themselves
professionally to stand the same examinations by the same
boards that the white physicians and dentists have had to
pass. Among their number must be mentioned Dr. William
Haywood Phillips, a successful dentist of Wilson. He is a
native of Raleigh, having been born there December 23,
1890. His parents were Frank H. and Margaret (Bennett)
Phillips. His maternal grandmother was Margaret Bennett.
• Dr. Phillips was married November 30, 1918, to Miss
Jewel Jennifer, of Washington, D. C. She is a daughter of
William and S. L. Jennifer, and was educated at Washing-
ton, where prior to her marriage she taught.

Growing up in Raleigh, young Phillips attended the^
lecal public schools and did his college work at St. Augus-
tine. He was graduated at that institution in 1910 and en-
tered Meharry for his dental course, winning his D. D. S.
degree in 1916. While working through his collegiate and
dental courses he was accustomed to spend his summer va-
cations at the North doing hotel and other work. In this
way he was able to complete his course without a break
and thus came into the practice of his profession at the
age of twenty-six. He was led to take up the profession of
dentistry by tine condition which prevailed among his people
a few years ago. He had an opportunity to observe this
condition while in college and noted that the white dentists
did not cater to colored work and that there were not enough
colored dentists to serve the people properly.

After completing his studies, he established himself at
Wilson, where he has built up a practice and become identi-


fied with the business and profesisonal life of that growing

In politics he is a Republican, though he has not been
active. He was popular as a student and was an enthu-
siastic player of football and tennis. He has had an oppor-
tunity to travel extensively in America and his favorite
reading, next after that which bears upon his profession,
is history. He is a member of the Episcopalian Church,
but does not affiliate with the secret orders. During the
war he volunteered for service and was commissioned First
Lieutenant in the Dental Reserve Corps. From his obser-
vation and experience with conditions both North and
South, in the city and in the country, he believes that the
greatest single need of the race is the right sort of education.

Edward Eusebia Curtright

Professor Edward Eusebia Curtright, who is well known
in educational circles in the Old North State is a member
of a rather remarkable Georgia family whose members
have made their mark in both educational and religious
work. Prof. Curtright is a native of Green Co., Georgia,
where he was born May 22, 1873. His father, George P.
Curtright, was a son of Limas Curtright. His mother, be-
fore her marriage, was Savannah Jackson, a daughter of
Washington and Lurinda Jackson.

When young Curtrig'ht came to school age he entered
the local public school and has been in the school room
practically ever since, either as student or teacher. Al-
though finding it necessary to make his own way in school,
he rose rapidly from the public school, passed through the
High School, entered Atlanta University and won his A. B.
degree in 1902. Long before this, however, he had secured
a teacher's license and spent a number of years teaching
school in the rural districts of Georgia. His summer vaca-
tions while a student were usually spent in that way, and



this made it possible for him to earn the money for his.
college course during the remaining months of the year.

Since completing his college course at Atlanta Uni-
versity he has done considerable post-graduate work and
specializing at Chicago University. In 1902 he was called
to the work at the High Point Normal and Industrial Insti-
tute and has since been a very vital part of the life of that
growing and popular school.

On June 2, 1906, Prof. Curtright was married to Miss
Lora May Brooks, of High Point.

He is fully identified with not only the educational but
the business life of the town, and is secretary-treasurer of
the Ramsey Drug Co. He is an independent in politics and
is a member of the Baptist Church in which he is a deacon
and superintendent of the Sunday School. Among the
secret orders he belongs to the Masons. During the war
he was active in the various drives and was chairman of
the Red Cross Committee for the colored people. He has
made a careful study of the conditions among his people
and believes tlhe progress of the raca resolves itself into a
matter of the right sort of leadership.

Prof. Curtright is a vigorous, outstanding man of
strong affiliations and has before him the promise of a bril-
liant future in the educational life of his people.

Cornelius Edward Askew

The subject of this sketch, Rev. Cornelius Edward
Askew, B. Th., D. D., is the honored pastor of the First
Baptist Ohurch, colored, located on the corner of the capitol
square of Raleigh, diagonally opposite to the White Baptist
Church, which is on another corner. Dr. Askew has held
this position now for several years and has proven himself
a leader of no mean ability, and a preacher second to none
in the State.

Dr. Askew was born at Harralsville, in the county of



Hertford, State of North Carolina, May 8, 1870. His father's
name was Andrew Jackson Askew, and he was both a farmer
and a mechanic. His mother's maiden name was Miss
Flora Adeline Holloman, daughter of Toney and Hagar Ses-
soms. His father's parents were Ira and Hasty Jones. He
attended the public schools at Hertford County, and then
entered and graduated from the State Normal School at
Elizabeth City, N. C. He afterwards attended the Theo-
logical Department of Shaw University and received his
degree B. Tin., in 1908. He has since received the degree of
D. D., both from Shaw University and also Benedict Col-
lege, at Columbia, S. C.

As in the case of so many of our ablest and best men,
he encountered many difficulties to overcome in his early
life, but he had learned to work, and he did not hesitate to
work anywhere. He labored on the farm, on the railroad,
in the lumber mills and anywhere he could work, and in
this way was able to bear Ihis expenses which enabled him
to pull through the schools he attended. He began his
work as pastor of the Spring Garden Baptist Church at
Washington, N. C, and had a successful ministry in that
place. He also pastored at the same time the First Baptist
Church at Kinston, N. C, and later he resigned this church
to become pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church at Rocky
Mount, N. C. It was while serving at Rocky Mount he was
called to the First Baptist Church at Raleigh and accepted,
and is still pastor at this time. For a short time he taught
at the Tar River Institute as principal, Greenville, N. C.

He is a great student of the Bible and claims tlhat he
has been inspired by this book to the success he has at-
tained. His travels have not been extensive, but his knowl-
edge of human nature is great, and he has made remarka-
ble progress as a preacher since he was first licensed at
twenty-six years of age. He was converted when elevsn
years old.

Dr. Askew was married in 1903 to Miss Mallie Golden
Beebe, daughter of Bishop J. A. Beebe and Mrs. Cornelia J.
Beebe, of WasJhington, N. C. He was married some time


before their union was blessed with one son, who lived to
be some six years of age, but took sick and died, to the
profound sorrow of his devoted parents. The child was
unusually bright and they had planned a great future for
him, but God took him to heaven. Dr. Askew is an influ-
ential member of the council of colored men called into
existence at the instance of the Governor of the State of
__orth Carolina, and holds other positions of trust among
his people, who love and honor him for his courage and
conscientious devotion to duty and to God.

John Anthony Savage

Race leaders very properly emphasize the importance
of buying farms and homes, making investments and es-
tablishing various lines of business. These things are de-
sirable, but after all, they do not constitute the best inter-
ests of the race. The assets of any community, race or na-
tion, are its men. "Make perfect people: the rest follows,"
says a poet in epigram. Perfect persons may be impossible
but necessarily it is from the right kind of people that
great institutions grow.

It was a peculiar condition which confronted the col-
ored boy who was born just before, or at about the time of
Emancipation. He sailed an uncharted se. As a rule, his
parents were very poor and ignorant. If he aspired to an
education, he usually had to make his own way and that, too,
without the example of successful men of his own race to
guide him. It is not strange that so many of them failed.
It is remarkable that some of them triumphed. One of the
successful men of the race who fought his way to a place of
large service and prominence is Rev. Jofhn Anthony Savage,
D. D., of Franklinton, N. C. His parents were William
and Frances Savage, of Henderson, La. Just before the
outbreak of the Civil War, the family was manumitted and
went to Liberia. Later they resided at Sierra Leone, where



young Savage was educated, so that his education, up to
the time when he left for tne United States was more Eng-
lish than American. In 1873 he returned and was matricu-
lated at Lincoln University, where he won ihis A. B. degree
in 1879. He then took up the theological course which was
completed three years later with the S. T. B. degree. Such
was his record as a student while at Lincoln that for two
years he was a tutor in the sub-Fresihman class, and in this
was assisted to earn money for his own course of study.
Looking backward over his boyhood and youth, he attri-
butes to (his mother and to the president of Lincoln Univer-
sity while at that institution the chief inspiration and en-
couragement of his early yers. On completion of his work
at Lincoln, he came South and organized the Shiloh Church
at Kingston, of which he was principal for a year. From
Kingston ihe went to Newborn and was head of the State
Normal and Graded School. In 1895 he went to Louisburg
and patsored the Presbtyerian Church, which he still serves.
A splendid new house of worship has been erected at Louis-
burg, at a cost of $15,000, and every department of the
work has grown steadily under his administration.

In 1892 he took charge of Albion Academy at Frank-
linton, wihich then had an enrollment of twelve boarding
pupils and a faculty of three. All that has been done there
during the quarter of a century that he has been head of
the institution cannot be told in a short story like this. It
may be stated, however, that the enrollment has grown to
one of 450 and that it has been necessary to increase the
faculty to twelve. New school buildings and a dormitory
have been erected and the whole work put on a different
basis, so that Albion Academy now stands as one of the
better institutions for the education of the colored boys and
girls in that part of North Carolina. Dr. Savage does not
like to talk about himself, and it is not easy to tell the
story of the great work he has done. It may be said, how-
ever, that he has built an enduring monument in the lives
of the many wiho have come under his influence at Albion
during the last twenty-five years. He ihas lived to see many
of them grow to manhood and womanhood and come to


occupy places of honor and usefulness as preachers and
teachers and good business men and fine citizens generally.

While perhaps he is more frequently named as an edu-
cator, still Dr. Savage has had a fruitful ministry and is
very mucin beloved as a pastor, preacher and church builder.

It is not strange that he should consider that the most
important need before his people today is that they have
the right sort of education along religious and industrial

In 1879 Dr. Savage was married to Miss Melvma Bald-
win, who bore him four children. They are: John A., Jr.,
Carrie H. (Hawkins), Mary A. P., and Frank Savage.

In 1896 Mrs. Savage passed to her reward and fourteen
years later he was married the second time, to. Miss Mary
Dover, of Wilmington, Delaware.

Dr. Savage is prominent in educational work and a
recognized figure in educational and religious gatherings.
He has for a number of years been Stated Clerk of the Cape
Fear Presbytery, having assisted in its organization, and
is Permanent Clerk of the Catawba Synod and Chairman of
the New Era movement of the same Synod.

Thomas Sewell Inborden

The best American stories are not romances, but rather
the simple records of what American boys struggling up
from poverty and obscurity have done for themselves and
their people. No race nor section has a monopoly of strug-
gling, winning youth. Their faith and courage in the face
of difficulties and their final successes constitute an asset
of the race, the value of which cannot be computed in dol-
lars and cents. One of these men who in his own line of
work has shown the courage of a soldier and the spirit of a
pioneer is Rev. Thomas Sewell Inborden, President and
founder of the Joseph Keasbey Brick Agricultural, Industrial
and Normal School at Bricks, N. C, near Enfield.



He impresses one as a man of restless energy. His suc-
cess in his chosen field of work goes to show that these
qualities are characteristic rather than spasmodic. Others
might wait for something to turn up, it has alwys been
his policy to turn up something. To most boys, school
days are regarded as merely a period of preparation and
sometimes of play. Not so with our subject. To him
school was as mudh a part of life as any that had gone be-
fore or any that was to follow. He took both his work
and his religion seriously and while at Oberlin was superin-
tendent of a Sunday School in which one of his own day
school teachers taught a class. And the fine thing about it
is the fact that through it all he seems to have had a good
time and enjoyed the struggle, for today he is as buoyant
and optimistic as a youth of twenty. He is direct, posi-
tive and constructive in his methods and believes that "the
straight line is the path to power."

"What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Only engage, and then the mind grows heated —

Begin, and then the work will be completed."
Prof. Inborden was born in Loudon Co., Va. — just be-
fore the close of the war, on Jan. 6, 1865. His father was
a white man. His mother was Harriet Proctor Smith. She
was a daughter of Levi and Hannah Proctor. As a boy he
worked on the farm and was accustomed to doing all sorts
of outdoor work. Even yet he loves the outdoors and his
hobbies are bees and botany. He went to the local schools
and passed from there to Oberlin for his preparatory work.
His means were limited and his wardrobe consisted of the
coarse homespun clothes made from flax and wool on the
Loudon Co. farm. From the beginning it was necessary
for him to make his own way. All the time he was
prompted by a desire to know and tohelp.

At one time his health failed under the strain and to
this day he recalls the nagging of some of his superiors and
the taunts of his associates in work and in school. But
"none of these things moved him." At one time, he went
to work in a hotel in Ohio and sent back to Virginia to get


an Arithmetic and a Dictionary. Years later he was a
guest in the hotel in which he had once been such an awk-
ward, embarrassed waiter. He went to Fisk University for
his College course which he completed with the A. B. degree
in 1891. Since that time Benedict has conferred on him
the M. A. degree.

His vacations were spent in teaching in the public
schools. Soon after going to Oberlin he was converted and
at once became an active Christian worker. After going
to Fiske he organized the first Y. M. C. A. Conference
among colored schools at that institution.

His first pastorate was at Beaufort, N. C, where he
preached during the first summer after his graduation.
From there he went to Helena, Ark., for two years under
the American Missionary Association. After that he was
at the Albany Normal, Albany, Ga., two years. In 1895 he
came to his present field. Here the man and the oppor-
tunity were fairly met. Through the munificence of Mrs.
Brick a large plantation was purchased and without any
previous traditions to hamper him, he set to work, begin-
ning with a single student and has created a plant which is
at once a model and an inspiration to others.

He now, 1919, has a faculty of 22 and an enrollment
of 361. The building and grounds are attractive and com-
modious and the whole plant is worth at least a quarter
of a million dollars. His courses of study have been
worked out with a view to giving his pupils a symmetrical,
well balanced education which shall include the head, the
heart and the hand. Nor has the influence of the school
been confined to its pupils. It has exerted a leavening
influence for miles around and in all Eastern North Carolina.

Mention must also be made of Rev. Inborden's religious
work. He is a forceful and attractive speaker and on one
speaking tour of ninety days spoke ninety-six times in the
principal cities of the Northwest. In all phases of the war
work he was a leader and won the hearty commendation of
the white leaders by his organizing ability, co-operation
and the success of his work.


In Sept., 1891, Prof. Inborden was married to Miss
Sarah Jane Evans, of Oberlin. She is also an accomplished
teacher. They have three children: Julia (Mrs. Gordon,
of Chicago), Dorothy, a teacher, and Wilson B. Inborden, a
student at Howard.

Prof. Inborden has written a number of interesting
booklets and brochures along the line of his work.

George Edward Davis

Any discriminating list of the scholarly, versatile col-
ored men of North Carolina would contain the name of Dr.
George Edward Davis, of Charlotte (who is now (1919)
Professor of Natural Science and Sociology and Dean of the
Faculty of Biddle University. In point of service he is
the Nestor of the- Faculty, having taught at Biddle for thir-
ty-five years. In fact, the present president and several
of the teachers of the institution were students of his years

Dr. Davis is a native of the historic old town of Wil-
mington, where he was born in the midst of the War be-
tween the States, on March 24,, 1863. His father, Edward
Alexander Davis, was for thirty years a member of the po-
lice force of Wilmington. His mother, Hester Ann Price,
was a daughter of George W. Price. Dr. Davis' paternal
grandfather was Arthur Hill.

Young Davis laid the foundation of his education at
Gregory Institute in his home town. His brilliance as a
student may be inferred from the fact that he was able to
begin teaching at fifteen years of age. His first school
was at Laurinburg. When ready for college he matriculated
at Biddle University, and won his A. B. degree in 1883. As
it was necessary for (him to make his own way in school he
continued teaching during the summer months at Laurin-
burg and kept this up for seven consecutive years. He
made a brilliant record at Biddle and was offered a profes-


sorship in the institution while it was still manned by white

Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 3 of 48)