Arthur Bunyan Caldwell.

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

. (page 46 of 48)
Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 46 of 48)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

tion, but the effort that tends to cultivate excellence in
character. It is the one thing that can't be stolen, received
as a gift or acquired by accident, but which must be paid
for by energy, industry, abandonment of time-wasting
amusements and mere day-dreaming. Money can do no
more than to make institutions accessible.

Dr. McKnight also takes the wisdom of the Bible—
which is his constant monitor— into practical things. "If a
man would have friends, he must show himself friendly."
Therefore, when individuals co-operate amiably both are
benefited an I animosity dies out. Where different races
treat each other in a kindly way, the same is true. He
has the hearty co-operation of both races in his community
in all matters for the good of the races, and stands high in
their estimation as a safe leader of his race.

Otto Eugene Sanders

Rev. Otto Eugene Sanders, pastor of the Presbyterian
church at Monroe, N. C, was born at Hoodtown, S. C, near
Blacksburg, S. C. The date of his birth was May 2, 1886.
His parents were Daniel Sanders, who still (1920) survives,
and Matilda (Meeks) Sanders, who passed away in 1911.
His paternal grandparents were Richard and Sinah Sanders ;
his maternal grandparents were Stephen and Chloe Meeks.
Chloe Meeks was a daughter of Abher and Matilda Moore.
All these, except Richard Sanders, who was born in Vir-
ginia, were natives of South Carolina, and all Presbyterians.

Young Sanders attended the local public schools and
passed from there to the preparatory department of Biddle
University. After that he took up the work of the col-
legiate department from which he was graduated with the
A. B. degree in 1915. The following fall he entered the the-
ological department of the same institution and completed
the course with the S. T. B. degree in 1918. He was a hard
working student and made an excellent record. He stood
high in his college class of twenty-six, among whom were
many brilliant young men. He won the McCrorey Hebrew
Prize of five dollars in gold in the theological department,
and was for two years editor of the school paper. The fact
that his financial resources were limited did not discourage,
but seemed rather to spur the young man to greater en-
deavor. Like many another successful man, he would
credit his Christian mother with his success in life. The
work of the Sunday School was also very helpful.

Mr. Sanders was converted when about twenty-one
years of age. He was ordained to the Gospel ministry in
March, 1918. He did his first pastoral work at Qogue,
Long Island, N. Y., in the summer of 1916, where he
preached for the two succeeding summers. He also did
active church work in and around Charlotte while in the
seminary. In 1919 he was called to Black's Memorial



Presbyterian church at Monroe, which is prospering under
his ministry. The Presbytery of Catawba met with his
church in April, 1920.

Mr. Sanders 'ideas as to what will promote the best
interests of the race cannot better be stated than in his
own words. He says : "As to how the best interests of the
race in my State and in the nation may be promoted, I would
say in the first place, that ignorance should be eradicated.
We need to take every advantage of the present school
system of our State. We should not allow any of the pres-
ent generation to grow up in ignorance. It is of paramount
importance that we launch a great campaign for more and
better schools. It is up to us to do all that is within our
power to have every boy and girl receive at least a public
school training, and as many as possible a high school and
college education. More business establishments would
also help the race a great deal. It is true that we have
quite a few men in business throughout the South and in
some parts of the North and West, but we have not nearly
enough of them. More business establishments will help in
many ways, but I am just going to mention one special way.
When white boys and girls finish college there are places
of employment waiting them. But when our boys and
girls come out of school they have to seek employment, and
then in a great many cases they are not able to find it. This
difference exists because the white people own many busi-
ness establishments throughout the nation while we have
only a few. This being true, we should organize business
establishments of note in every town and city where our
population warrants it. All of us should endeavor to own a
piece of land. If all are not able to purchase enough for a
farm, by all means own enough to build a house on and to
have a garden. Own a home. I would also urge that our
farmers become greater producers. Let them produce not
only enough for themselves, but an overplus for many oth-
ers and let all of us professional men, proprietors and com-
mon laborers — produce and accumulate all we can. In this
way we will become more independent and a greater asset


as American citizes. Another thing I wish to mention is
co-operation. We as a race have made greater progress in
the past fifty years than any other race on the face of the
globe. This is marvelous indeed. But we would have made
much greater progress during the above named period if
we had co-operated more. Let us learn to work together
more in every way, and we will make three times the prog-
ress during the next fifty years as that we have already
made. Lastly, but by no means least. We should engage
in greater church activity. This does not mean that we
are simply to organize and build more churches and raise
larger sums of money, but that we should endeavor more
than ever to put into practice the truths and doctrines of
the Christian religion. If this is done in connection with
what has already been said, the Negro's best interests will
be greatly promoted and he will become a great power within
these United States of America."

George Clayton Shaw

The profession of teaching and preaching are closely 1
akin, and have often been combined in the same person.
Especially it is true that the leaders of the Negro race in
leading their people upward find ready aids both in the
schoolbook and the Bible, in the teacher's desk and in the

Dr. George Clayton Shaw, of Oxford, N. C, is princi-
pal of the Mary Potter School which he founded in 1890
himself and which has never had any other principal. At
the same time he is a preacher of scholarship and ability,
whose gospel messages have been heard with delight by
audiences in various sections of the country as well as in
his native State.

George Clayton Shaw was born June 19, 1863, at Louis-
burg, N. C. His father was Matthew Shaw, a farmer, and
his mother was Mary Penn Shaw. During his boyhood his



i unities for schooling were meager, but by availing
himself of the three-months-a-year schools he progi
to the point where he saw college and its advantages before
him. He went to the parochial schools of Louisburg, N. C,
and while working attended night school. These efforts
were augmented by private study, and in these various ways
he prepared himself for college. When ready for college
he matriculated at Lincoln University, where he completed
the course in the collegiate department with the A. B. de-
gree in 1886. He spent one year at Princeton, N. J., and
then went to Auburn Theological Seminary, Auburn, N. Y.,
from which he was graduated in 1890. Lincoln University
later conferred upon him the degree of D. D.

On the completion of his theological course, Dr. Shaw
accepted a call to the pastorate of the Presbyterian church
at Oxford, which he has served continuously for thirty
years. It is not too much to say that he has made it a
very vital part of the religious life of the city. He pastored
the church at Henderson for six years. Under his leader-
ship new Presbyterian churches were organized at Stovall
and at Fairport. He served the former six years and the
latter three.

On May 14, 1890, Dr. Shaw was married to Miss Mary
Elizabeth Lewis, daughter of John W. and Martha Eliza-
beth Lewis of Penn Valley, Pa. Mrs. Shaw was educated
at the State Normal School, Trenton, N. J. She has nobly
seconded the work of her distinguished husband at Mary
Potter, where she has taught for a number of years.

Dr. Shaw is affiliated with the Republican party and
is a Mason. He has traveled extensively in various sec-
tions of the United States. In his reading he has delighted
especially in the biographies of the eminent men who have
marched in the vanguard of the world's progress and whose
careers have always proven an inspiration and an example
to ambitious young men.

His greatest wish for his race is that God may give
them more ministers highly educated and endowed with
the finest qualities of leadership.


The need of the race, he feels, is for leaders in all lines;
who are men of courage and men of sound judgment, who
do not seek popularity, but seek the highest welfare of the
people. Such a leader he has in more ways than one shown
himself to be.

Dr. Shaw's work as an educator has been of a high
order. The Mary Potter school was begun in 1890. From a
small beginning it has grown under his leadership until it
is now recognized in and out of the State as one of the im-
portant institutions for the training of colored youth. The
plant at Oxford is worth $150,000.00, in addition to which
the schools owns a farm of seventy acres in Granville Co.,
valued at $10,000.00. The enrollment, at its highest point,
has gone to nearly five hundred, which requires the employ-
ment of a faculty of fourteen teachers. The institution pre-
pares for college and give a four year normal course.

In various parts of N. C, and even in other States,
one finds, in places of leadership ,men and women who laid
the foundation of their success during the years spent at
Mary Potter School. They always speak in the highest
terms of the training and the sort of leadership they en-
joyed while at Oxford and there is always a note of grati-
tude when Dr. Shaw is mentioned. His students become
his friends.

Michael David Smith

The experience of Rev. Michael David Smith if written
out in detail would fill a book and if that book were illus-
trated with views of the fields where he has worked it
would hold scenes of wild mountain beauty, mining towns,
manufacturing cities and classical educational centers. His
work has covered everything from a mountain mission to
the very large city station and this is as good a place as any
to say that he has made good in them all.

He is a native of .the Old Dominion, having been born:



Marion in Smyth Co., Va., on May 8, 1868. His father,
Re-. Samuel D. Smith, was also an itinerant preacher; his
mother was, before her marriage, Susan Hammond. She
- daughter of George and Nancy Hammond.
Dr. Smith has been married twice. His first mar-
was on Jan. 10, 1898, to Miss Pearl Gibbs, of Knox-
She bore him four children, Maggie (dead) Miss Syl-
', Oelean and Robert Smith. Mrs. Smith passed to her
• d in 1907.

On Nov. 20, 1909, Dr. Smith was married to Miss

Battiste, an accomplished teacher of Grahamville,

Young Smith ran barefoot on the Virginia farm as

- are accustomed to do, but almost as far back as his

memory goes was the impression that he was to be a

preacher. He joined the church at nine and at sixteen be-

ga definitely to prepare for the work of the ministry. He

wa - licensed to preach in 1893 and joined the Conference

at Johnson City under Bishop Lomax in 1895. He was

sent as a missionary to West Virginia, to a part of the

state where his church was practically unknown. Some-

of his pioneer spirit may be guessed from the fact

that he walked 175 miles to his field. This was through

wh tt was then an undeveloped country which has since

filled up with, people and industry. He remained on this

; i three years and established three churches. He taught

>ol also for two years. His next appointment was the

irove Circuit near Knoxville, Tenn., where he preached

f. years, repaired two churches and paid for a lot for

another. From Knoxville he went to Morristown, Tenn.,

for one year and paid the church out of debt, after which

• ached at Hot Springs, N. C, one year. He was then

promoted to the Logans Temple Station at Knoxville, where

he preached two years. His next appointment was the Mur-

and Blue Ridge Circuit and while on that work he

built at Blue Ridge, Ga., and went from there to Augusta,

where he preached for three years and cancelled a

mortgage of a thousand dollars. From Augusta he was

sent to Athens for two years and repaired the church. He


was then returned to his native state and served the cli
at Abingdon, Va., one year and during that time built a new
church. While at Rodgersville, Tenn., the next year, he
paid the church debt and went to Asheville for a pastorate
of six years at Hopkin's Chapel where a debt of over seven
thousand dollars was raised. He is now in his second
at Clinton Chapel Station, Charlotte, where the work has
prospered under his administration. Active, energetic,
with good business ability as well as religious fervor. Dr.
Smith has had a successful career. He has brought into
the church over three thousand new members and has added
thousands of dollars to the value of church property. As
he looks back over the days of his boyhood he is inclined
to credit his grandmother with the greatest influence in
shaping his life. While in W. Va. he took some part in
politics, but since coming South has not been active. He
belongs to the Pythians. He is on the Episcopal Com. of
the General Conference. He has property in both Ashe-
ville, N. C, and in Virginia. He believes the progress of
the race depends on proper leadership and on the develop-
ment of rural life. Dr. Smith was educated in the public
and private schools of Va., has had training under some very
able men and finished a correspondence course from the
Moody Bible School. He received the degree of D. D. from
Livingstone College, Salisbury, N. C. He is studious, and a
lover of books.

Henry Clain Sparrow

It can never be said of a brick mason or a worker in
stone that his success was accidental or due to fortuitous
circumstances. The trade is founded on hard work, but a
man may be a hard working mason and yet never be any-
thing more. If, to his willingness to work, he adds intelli-
gence and initiative and has executive ability so as to man-
age men, he may readily become a contractor and thus en-



ter a much wider field of endeavor. That is just what
Henry Clain Sparrow of New Bern has done. He was born
at New Bern on Sept. 18, 1873. His father, Charles Custus
Sparrow, was a mason and a plasterer, and it was under his
practical training that the son learned the trade. Charles
was son of Stephen and Aris Sparrow. The mother of
our subject was Frances Sparrow. She was the daughter of
Harmon and Pennie Sparrow. Young Sparrow went to the
New Bern graded schools, working with his father in the
meantime. Later he took the Chautauqua Literary and
Scientific Course by correspondence. In addition to his
careful home training he was held to strict attendance at
church and Sunday School and these influences have re-
flected themselves in his life and in his home.

He worked with his father till old age made his retire-
ment necessary. The son not only took up his father's
work, but broadened it. He now does a general contract-
ing business and works a regular crew of men all the year
round. His work has included some of the most attract-
ive churches as well as some of the most commodious busi-
ness buildings in New Bern. His work is almost entirely
for white customers. He is a man of sufficient means to
finance an ordinary job through to completion.

On April 14, 1897, Mr. Sparrow married Miss Hattie
Brown, a daughter of Isaac and Mary Brown. They have
five children: Henry C, Jr., Isaac B., Blanche L., Charles C.
and Hattie F. Sparrow. They live on West Street, where
they have an attractive home and have surrounded them-
selves with the comforts of life.

Mr. Sparrow is an active member of the St. Peters
A. M. E. Zion church and was for ten years Supt. of the
Sunday School. He is also a member of the Trustee Board
and Chairman of the Church Improvement Committee. He
takes an active part in all civic affairs and is President of
the Commercial Association of New Bern. He is Secre-
tary and Treasurer of the Standard Building and Loan As-
sociation. He believes the greatest single lesson his people
need to learn is that of co-operation.

Ruf us Walter Underwood

Bishop Doane once said: Enthusiasm is the element
of success in everything. It is the light that leads and the
strength that lifts man on and up in the struggle to scien-
tific pursuits and to professional labor. It robs drudgery
of difficulty and makes a pleasure of duty."

Perhaps to this spirit of enthusiasm more than to any-
thing else the Rev. Rufus Walter Underwood, of Dunn,
owes his success. It carried him through the struggling
years of youth when he was striving for an education and
enabled him, while still on the sunny side' of thirty, to es-
tablish himself as a leader among his people.

He is a native of Clinton, where he was born July 1,
188^. His father, Rev. Charles T. Underwood, was also a
Baptist minister so that our subject had the advantage of
being brought up in a Christian home. His grandparents
on the paternal side were Henry and Jane Underwood. Mr. wood's mother, before her marriage, was Adaline Sell-
ers, a daughter of Candice Sellers, who is still (1919) living.
On July 17, 1917, he was happily married to Miss Rosa
Belle Martin of Warsaw, a- daughter of Adelay Martin. Mrs.
Underwood was educated at Brick School, near Enfield and
at Mary Potter at Oxford. Mr. Underwood first atetnded
the public schools of Clinton and also went to the Brick
School for four years. It was here that he first met Mrs.
Underwood. He did his college work at Shaw University
and took his theological course, leading to the B. Th. degree,
at the same institution. He completed his work at Shaw in

When only about thirteen years of age, he joined the
Re? Hill Baptist church at Clinton and just as he was reach-
manhood, or at about twenty, he felt called to take up
the work of the ministry- While at Shaw he was licensed
i] -darned in 1913 and even before completing his studies
ha? become a successful pastor. His first pastorate was


the Union Baptist church at Raleigh which he -
two years while still a student. He preached for two
at Sweet Home in Cumberland Co. and while on thai
completed a church which had been started under a pre 1
pastorate. He accepted a call to Black River (hove at An-
gier and served that congregation for three years.
on this work the old building was replaced by a new ch •
From there he went to Felt's Chapel at Youngsville,
he preached for five years and rebuilt the ch.

On completion of his course at college he resigned g
of the smaller churches and accepted a call to St. J
at Dunn, which has been remodeled under his admin
tion. He gives two Sundays a month to this work. In
1916 he was called to Benson, which he served for
years. On resigning that work he accepted a call from the
First Baptist church at Selma, to which he gives two
days a month, so it will be seen that his time is fully •
pied by the Selma and Dunn churches.

Though just now entering his thirtieth year he - i
successful pastor and has had a most fruitful mil
having baptized nearly 300 persons during 1919. I
March to November the same year he added to the S< a
church alone 96 new members.

The fibre of the young man was clearly shown ii
struggle for an education. He spurned no task, hov
hard, by which he could earn the money for his scho
He worked at saw milling for a start and began his
at Shaw with only $42.00 in hand. He paid part of his
penses by working about the school and went Nor;
hotel work during the summers. His father, who was
bitious for the boy, helped as much as he could, but
necessary for young Underwood to depend mostly upon I
own efforts. After coming to Dunn, he taught for oiu
in the public schools, but now devotes his whole ti-
the ministry and takes an active part in all the activil
the denomination. He has bought a comfortable hon
Dunn. He has not thought it wise to divide his en.
and so is not active in politics, nor is he identified with the


secret or benevolent orders which claim so much of the
time and energy of some preachers. He stands well, not
only among his own people, but with his white neighbors.
Both races feel that they can count on his co-operation in
any movement looking to the general benefit and welfare.

John William Walker

Rev. John Wm. Walker now (1919) Presiding Elder
of the Greensboro district, A. M. E. church, has the unique
record of having been advanced from his first appointment,
which was a mission, to a station and from that to the dis-
trict without a break.

He is a native of Orange Co., where he was born Octo-
ber 4, 1874. His father, Benjamin Walker, was a farmer,
and the boy grew up on the farm with its advantages and
disadvantages. His mother's name, before her marriage,
was Rachael F. Harvey. She was a daughter of Abram
Harvey. Beyond this, he knows nothing of his earlier an-
cestry. He was married on April 26, 1916, to Miss Laura J.
Russell, of Winston-Salem. She was educated at Kittrell
College, an A. M. E. institution. They have two children,
William Gaines and Melancthon Nathaniel Walker.

Growing up on the Orange Co. farm, he went to the
public schools through the short terms then prevailing and
later attended the Congregational School at Oaks, N. C.
Subsequently he went to Bennett College, Greensboro for
two years, but considers the training he received at Oaks'
as the most helpful of his life.

He was converted in his early teens and became active
in the work of the church at an early age. He was licensed
to preach when only eighteen years old and while he taught
school for a couple of terms, he never felt that he was par-
ticularly called to that work. In 1899 he joined the con-
ference under Bishop Handy, at Winston-Salem, and was
assigned to the Mt. Airy mission which he served for five



years. Such was the character of his work that it soon
became necessary to buy land and build a church, and the
little mission became a regular appointment. From- here
he was promoted to the Winston-Salem station, which he
served for two years and erected the splendid brick house
of worship known as St. James'. From this he was pro-
moted to the presiding eldership and appointed to the
Greensboro district,. over which he presided for three years
and was then sent to the Raleigh district for two years.
At that time, the work of the St. Paul station at Raleigh
was in such condition that it required the services of a
strong, aggressive man and the young presiding elder was
appointed to that station, then encumbered with a debt of
$18,000.00 on ninety day paper. During his pastorate there
the debt was reduced to $6,000.00 and the membership
greatly augmented. It is now one of the most attractive
appointments of the connection in North Carolina. At the
end of his pastorate at St. Paul he was assigned to the Ral-
eigh district, and is now in his third year on the Greensboro
district, though residing in Raleigh. He is a man of splen-
did physique, an attractive and forceful speaker and a nat-
ural leader of men. He is a Republican in politics, although
he has taken no part in party affairs. Among the secret
orders, he belongs to the Masons. He has been a delegate
to three general conferences, Norfolk, Philadelphia and St.

Dr. Walker owns a comfortable home at Raleigh and
feels very strongly that the proper development of the
home life of his people is one of the greatest needs of the
race today.

The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him
by Kittrell College. Dr. Walker is at this time a member
of the executive board of Kittrell College, also treasurer of
the Western N. C. Conference.

Frederick Henry Watkins

When on Feb. 17, 1874 Dr. Frederick Henry Watkins
was born at Mangum in Richmond Co., there was little to

Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 46 of 48)