UU History Month

Proposed Activities
UU Holy Days
Racial Timeline
UU Women
UU History Links
UUA Principles








The following time line is modified from that at the UUA Social Justice Racial Justice/Anti-racism web page www.uua.org/justice/timeline.pdf

Links to sermons on UU race relations

"A Dream Deferred" by Rev. Frederick Emerson Small
First Church Unitarian, Littleton, January 14, 2001

"The Black Power Controversy in the UUA" by Reverend Carol Sampson Rudisill, Universalist Unitarian Church
Santa Paula, California, February 24, 2002 

"The Black Candidate"  by the Rev. Mark D. Morrison-Reed
to the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto Sunday, 4 January 1998 

Racial Timeline

1784 Benjamin Rush, (biography on UUA site) a Universalist, is one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery.

1785 Gloster Dalton, an African American, is one of the 85 signatories of the Charter of Compact of the Gloucester Universalist Society.

1790 Universalist resolution calling for "gradual abolition" of slavery.

1833 Unitarian Lydia Maria Child writes "An Appeal in Favor of That Class of American called African."

1845 "A free colored man" and his family are members of the Mt. Olympus Universalist Society in Alabama.

18-- Francis Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911), African American author (link here for selected poetry and here) and activist, is a member of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia.

1850 Unitarian Senator John C. Calhoun pushes for and Unitarian President Millard Fillmore signs the Fugitive Slave Act to assist the South with maintaining a tight rein on slaveholders’ property.

1851 Unitarian Minister Samuel J. May organizes the rescue of a fugitive slave in Syracuse NY.

1859 Four of the "Secret Six" who financed John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry were Unitarians (including The Reverends Theodore Parker and Thomas Wentworth).

1860 Reverend Mr. Jackson, an African American from New Bedford MA, announced his conversion to Unitarianism at the Autumnal Convention of the American Unitarian Association. "No discussion, no welcome, no expression of praise and satisfaction was uttered, that the Unitarian gospel had reached the 'colored.'"

1863 Unitarian Robert Gould Shaw, a white man, is the Colonel of the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Infantry, the first regiment of African American volunteers from to the North to fight in the Civil War. (The movie "Glory" is a dramatization of their efforts.)

1870 Meadville Theological School admits its first African American student (A.M.E.)

1889 Joseph Jordan (1842-1901), the first ordained African American Universalist minister, starts a mission in Norfolk VA.

1893 Rev. Joseph Jordan delivers address entitled "Our Mission Among the Colored People" to the Universalist General Convention in Washington, DC. Convention delegates contribute more than $2600 to finance construction of a chapel in Norfolk VA.

1895 Thomas E. Wise, the second African American Universalist minister, works with Jordan in Norfolk and begins a second mission in Suffolk VA. He returned to Methodism in 1904.

1899 Universalist missionary, Quillen Shinn, attempts to establish Universalist mission in Barstow GA.

1904 Joseph Fletcher Jordan (1863 - 1929), the third African American Universalist minister, starts a twenty-five year ministry in Suffolk VA. He published The Colored Universalist, started a nursery, kindergarten, and elementary school, and created a neighborhood house for the Black community.

1906 Don Speed Smith Goodloe graduates from Meadville but is denied an opportunity to serve a congregation. Becomes Principal of the Normal School that becomes Bowie State.

1908 Lewis Latimer (1848-1928), an African American inventor, is a founding member of the Flushing Unitarian Church.

1909 John Haynes Holmes, a founding member of NAACP, later integrated Community Church of New York.

1909 Unitarian woman, Mary White Ovington, was also one of the founders of the NAACP.

1912 Ethelred Brown (1875-1956), an African American, graduated from Meadville and returned to start a Unitarian congregation in Jamaica.

1920 Ethelred Brown moves to Harlem and founds Unitarian Church there.

1927 William H. G. Carter, an African American, founds Church of the Unitarian Brotherhood in Cincinnati. The local ministers know of him but do not inform the AUA.

1927 Lewis McGee, an African American, approaches Curtis Reese and is told "if you want to be a Unitarian you'd better bring your own church."

1927 African American Errold D. Collymore integrates the White Plains Unitarian Church in New York and later becomes its President.

1929 Joseph F. Jordan dies and his daughter, Annie B. Willis, takes over the school, but the church fails.

1929 Ethelred Brown removed from fellowship.

1930 Harry V. Richardson is refused admission to AUA.

1935 Jeffery Campbell, an African American, fellowshipped as a Universalist minister.

1935 Ethelred Brown reinstated when ACLU threatens to sue.

1939 Frances Davis, a Universalist seminarian marries Marguerite Campbell, Jeff's sister, and their interracial marriage is attacked in the "Christian Leader," the Universalist journal. He is never settled but works for the Boston Urban League, while she spends 33 years at the UCA and UUA.

1945 Alvin Neeley Cannon, a Starr King graduate, is refused fellowship because of lack of opportunities.

1947 Lewis McGee founds inter-racial Free Religious Fellowship in Chicago.

1948 Maurice Dawkins, an African American, becomes minister of Education at the Community Church of New York. There are now five African American Unitarian ministers - - 3 settled, 1 in student pastorate.

1948 First Unitarian Society of Chicago desegrates.

1949 Eugene Sparrow, an African American, fellowshipped, but seeing the hedging and foot-dragging, becomes a college teacher.

1950 Unitarian Service Committee supports desegregation of Boys Club in Washington D.C. All Souls Church is involved.

1950s Whitney M. Young, Jr. joins the Atlanta Unitarian Universalist Church and serves on its Board.

1953 All Souls Church, Unitarian, Washington D.C. evicts the segregated Police Boys Club and started an integrated program.

1953 The Reverend Donald Thompson is first Director of the Social Service Center in the LeClaire Courts housing project in Chicago, organized by the Universalists and the Service Committee.

1954 A. Powell Davies, Minister of All Souls Church, Unitarian, Washington D.C. posted a list of integrated restaurants and requested that members use only these restaurants.

1954 The American Unitarian Association Commission on Intergroup Relations reports 1/3 of the congregations responded and of these 176 societies, 52 had black members - of these, 13 had more than 5 black members. Report recommended that the AUA meet at prestigious Black college following the annual Race Relations Conference. No action was taken.

1955 Errold D. Collymore becomes AUA Board member.

1956 Unitarian Service Committee collaborates with Kenneth Clark to work in six "hard core" segregationist states. Three "Human Relations Projects" were started in Knoxville, Atlanta, and Jacksonville, where facilitators worked quietly to integrate hospitals and other local institutions.

1956 Lewis McGee is refused the call to Flint MI.

1956 Eugene Sparrow is refused the call to be Asst. Minister in Detroit.

1956 Howard Thurman delivers Ware Lecture at GA.

1958 William Jones, an African American, was fellowshipped and serves as Assistant Minister in Providence.

1958 David Eaton, an African American, approaches UUA President Dana Greeley and is told "I'd love to have you but we'll have trouble settling you."

1958 Lewis McGee becomes Associate Minister in Los Angeles.

1959 Universalist Church of the Philippines (UCP) founded by an indigenous group and recognized by Universalist Church of America. Rev. Fred Muir has written "Maglipay Universalist:A History of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines"

1959 Universalists at St. Lawrence picket Woolworth's Annual Meeting in Watertown NY to integrate lunch counter.

1961 David Eaton refused entrance to St. Lawrence University Theological School.

1961 Upon merger of American Unitarian Association and Universalist Church of America, Universalist Church of the Philippines no longer recognized.

1961 Lewis McGee becomes Minister of Chico Unitarian Fellowship in California. He is the first African American Senior Minister in a white congregation.

1963 GA in Chicago defeats resolution to require that congregations adopt a non-discrimination clause. A resolution passed that encouraged existing congregations to adopt a non-discrimination clause and required it of new societies. A commission on Religion and Race was formed.

1964 The Rev. Andrew Kuroda installed as minister of the Japanese Fellowship of All Souls Church in Washington D.C.

1964 Yakima, Washington UU Church sponsors Louis Lamar, an African American journalist from Los Angeles, who drew an audience of 550 people.

1965 African American Henry Hampton works at UUA as Assistant Director of Information. He later conceived and served as Executive Producer for the "Eyes on the Prize."

1965 UUs participated in March from Selma to Montgomery. March began in response to murder of Jimmy Lee Jackson, an African American in Marion AL, by an Alabama State Trooper.

1965 James Reeb, a white UU minister, was murdered in Selma AL.

1965 Viola Liuzzo, a white member of the UU church in Detroit MI, was killed in Alabama as she was driving along the highway between Selma and Montgomery with an African American passenger.

1965 Wade McCree, an African American and a federal judge, is Vice-Moderator of UUA.

1966 Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers Ware Lecture.

1967 GA Resolution passed to urge congress to develop and adopt anew comprehensive national policy for the American Indians, including the Eskimos and Aleut.

1967 Jeffrey Campbell settled part-time in Amherst MA.

1967 Emergency Conference of UUs Response to the Black Rebellion held at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City.

1967 UUA Goals Report: 11% of UU say being black would improve a minister's effectiveness; 63% -makes no difference; 27% - hamper. The corresponding percentages for women were 5%; 48%, and 47%.

1968 National Conference of Black UUs was held in Chicago and the Black Affairs Council (BAC) was formed.

1968 Black and White Action (BAWA) is formed..1968 Cleveland GA commits one million dollars to BAC.

1968 Mwalimu Imara, John Frazier, and Thomas Payne fellowshipped. Mwalimu settled in Urbana, Illinois. There are 8 black ministers and the same number of women. Two blacks are settled – 1 part-time. There are approximately 1500 black UUs.

1969 Walkout of BAC supporters at Boston GA over funding reduction.

1969 General Assembly passes Resolution supporting the Grape Boycott.

1969 Harold Wilson, an African American, fellowshipped, and he serves at Walnut Creek CA as co-minister from 1968 - 1973.

1969 John Frazier called to Black Humanist Fellowship of Liberation in Cleveland.

1969 David Eaton is called to All Souls Church in Washington D.C., a major congregation that was 90% white.

1970 Mwalimu Imara called to Arlington Street Church in Boston.

1970 General Assembly passes Resolution on Indian Rights urging support of independent, indigenous organizations.

1970 UUSC Rainbow Coalition of Partnership with six Black and Chicano community groups in Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Chester, and Philadelphia.

1972 General Assembly passes Resolution supporting the United Farm Workers Lettuce Boycott.

1974 General Assembly passes Resolution in support of United Farm Worker Boycott.

1976 General Assembly passes Resolution opposing extradition of Dennis Banks, a Native American, and leader in AIM.

1977 Thomas Payne appointed to Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches, Boston's oldest Urban Ministry.

1979 UUA President Eugene Pickett meets with African American ministers.

1979 The Reverend Jesse Jackson delivers Ware Lecture at GA.

1980 UUA Institutional Racism Audit undertaken.

1980 Mark Morrison-Reed's Black Pioneers in a White Denomination published by Skinner House.

1981 Yvonne Seon is first African American woman to be fellowshipped as a UU Minister.

1981 Vernon Jordan delivers Ware Lecture at GA.

1982 Network of Black UUs formed.

1983 Commission on Appraisal Empowerment: One Denomination's Quest for Racial Justice, 1967-1982 study published.

1983 The Rev. Hyun Hwan Kim becomes Minister of the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles CA.

1984 Whitney Young, Jr. Urban Ministry Fund is started.

1985 Reverend Toribio Quimada is founder of Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines. The UUCP is recognized by UUA as a member at the 1985 General Assembly.

1985 UUSC publishes "What Color are America's Prisons?" showing disproportional incarceration of Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans.

1985 Black Concerns Working Group is established.

1985 Shirley Chisolm delivers Ware Lecture at GA.

1986 GA Resolution passed supporting Grape boycott because of pesticide problems for workers.

1986 Yvonne Seon organizes the First New-Start Urban Congregation in southeast Washington D.C. and serves as founding minister.

1987 Commission on Appraisal "Quality" Study finds that when asked if being black would help, make no difference, or hinder a minister's effectiveness - - UUs said: 3%, 71%, and 26%. For women the corresponding percentages were: 9%, 78%, and 13%. From 1967 to 1987, the number of African American ministers increased from 8 to 15; the number of women increased from 8 to 199.

1987 UUSC Conference on Racism and Incarceration at Howard University.

1988 Philippines Congregation admitted to UUA.

1988 The Rev. Quimada is murdered in the Philippines.

1988 African American UU Ministries founded.

1988 Charles Johnson, an African American, serves as founding minister of Church of the Restoration in Tulsa OK.

1988 Beyond Categorical Thinking Program begins. This is a weekend program designed to promote inclusive thinking and to help prevent unfair discrimination in the ministerial search process.

1989 Advocate for Racial Inclusiveness and Director for International Congregations position created at UUA. African American minister, Reverend Mel Hoover, hired.

1989 "How Open the Door?" is published by the UUA as an adult education curriculum.

1990 Rebecca Parker becomes the first female president of Starr King UU Theological School and any theological school..

1991 Dan Aldridge, an African American, serves as founding minister of Thurman Hamer Ellington Congregation in Atlanta GA.

1991 "Been in the Storm So Long," A UUA Meditation Manual of works by people of color, edited by the Rev. Mark Morrison- Reed and Jacqui James is published.

1992 UUSC supports 1st UU Church and 12 black, Latino and Korean community organizations in south central Los Angeles in the wake of the Los Angeles rebellion.

1992 Resolution on racial and cultural diversity passed unanimously by General Assembly.

1992 UUA Office for Racial and Cultural Diversity established.

1992 Several UU Churches and individuals played leading roles in the fight against and the eventual defeat of Oregon's anti-gay Measure 9.

1992 Continental Congress of African American UUs and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Commemoration was held September 26 - 28th in Philadelphia.

1993 James Brown appointed Southwest District Executive - first African American to hold such a position.

1993 UUs for a Just Economic Community Conference held in Los Angeles as a show of support after the first Rodney King verdict and because LA is America's most diverse city.

1993 General Assembly passes Justice for Indigenous Peoples Resolution.

1993 Marion Wright Edelman delivers Ware Lecture at GA.

1993 UUA has Professional Staff of nine African American, Hispanic, and Asian persons - an all time high.

1994 Beacon Press institutes mentoring program.

1994 Patricia Jimenez is first Mexican-American woman to be fellowshipped by the UUA.

1995 Latino/a Unitarian Universalist Networking Association (LUUNA) founded.

1997 Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM) founded.

1997 The General Assembly passes a resolution calling on the UUA to work towards becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural religious community.

1997 The Faith in Action Department created to facilitate the linking of all of anti-oppression efforts as movement is made on the Journey Toward Wholeness.

2001 Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes delivers Ware Lecture.