The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Bishop Vashti McKenzie

Share on Social Media

Information about Bishop Vashti McKenzie

Profile image of Bishop Vashti McKenzie

Profession

Category:
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Bishop

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Chicken Wings
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Near Water
Favorite Quote:
Commit Thy Way Unto The Lord. Trust Also Unto Him And He Will Bring It Onto Pass.

Birthplace

Born:
5/28/1947
Birth Location:
Baltimore, Maryland

Profession

Category:
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Bishop

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Chicken Wings
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Near Water
Favorite Quote:
Commit Thy Way Unto The Lord. Trust Also Unto Him And He Will Bring It Onto Pass.

Birthplace

Born:
5/28/1947
Birth Location:
Baltimore
See how Bishop Vashti McKenzie is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie was born on May 28, 1947, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Ida Murphy Smith Peters and Samuel Edward Smith. McKenzie attended Robert Brown Elliot School, School #18, and Garrison Junior High School. She was also one of the six black students who attended Eastern High School. She graduated from Eastern High School in 1965. After spending a summer at the Blair School of Journalism, McKenzie enrolled at Morgan State University where she majored in history. She went on to attend the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, where she earned her B.A. degree. McKenzie went on to earn her MDiv degree in divinity from Howard University Divinity School in 1985.

After graduation, McKenzie began working for her family newspaper and wrote her own column, “The McKenzie Report.” McKenzie joined Bethel A.M.E. Church, her family’s original church, in 1976. In 1978, Cathy Hughes and Dewey Hughes contacted McKenzie about a position at WYCB Radio, and she began working there. McKenzie hosted an afternoon drive Gospel show on WYBC Radio in 1981, and later rose to the position of program director. McKenzie also worked for WJZ-TV doing a segment on a program called Evening Magazine. McKenzie rotated between working at WYCB, WEBB, and WAYE as an on-air personality, program director, general manager, and as Corporate Vice President of Programming of Mortenson Broadcasting Company. McKenzie was made an itinerant deacon in 1981 and commuted between Bethel A.M.E. in Cecil County and Ebenezer A.M.E. churches. McKenzie was ordained by the A.M.E. Church in 1984. In 1990, McKenzie joined Payne Memorial A.M.E. in Baltimore as pastor. In 2000, while serving as chief pastor of the 18th Episcopal District in southeast Africa, McKenzie was elected and consecrated as the 117th bishop of the A.M.E. Church at their General Council. McKenzie and Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry were the first women to become A.M.E. bishops. In 2005, McKenzie again made history as the first woman to become titular head of the A.M.E. Church. She subsequently became presiding prelate of the 13th Episcopal District in Tennessee and Kentucky

McKenzie was the National Chaplain for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a lifetime member of the NAACP. McKenzie received honorary doctorates from Howard University, Wilberforce University, Central State University in Ohio, Morgan State University, and Goucher College. In 1997, a poll of national leaders selected McKenzie for Ebony magazine’s “Honor Roll of Great African American Preachers.” McKenzie has authored four books: Not Without a Struggle, Strength in the Struggle: Leadership Development for Women, A Journey to the Well and Swapping Housewives.

McKenzie and her husband, Stan McKenzie, live in Dallas, Texas. They have three children: Jon-Mikael, Jasmine, and Jo-Marie.

McKenzie was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 14, 2007.

See how Bishop Vashti McKenzie is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bishop Vashti McKenzie's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her family's leadership of the Baltimore Afro-American
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about her family's defiance of racial and gender barriers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about her father's track career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her likeness to her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers her neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her childhood activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers Public School No. 104 in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her experiences of school integration
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers her guidance counselor at Eastern High School in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about her maternal family's prominence
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her activities at Eastern High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her experiences of racial discrimination at school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers meeting civil rights leaders
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls attending the March on Washington
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the public high schools in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her college aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers studying African American history at Morgan College in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls attending the Blair School of Journalism in Blairstown, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers marrying Stan McKenzie
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers moving with her husband to Phoenix, Arizona
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls writing for the Arizona Republic newspaper
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about her modeling career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes race relations in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers her return to Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls the start of her public relations career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her graduation from the University of Maryland
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her advice to students
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers her master's degree program
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her family's religious background
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her doubts about Christianity during the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers joining the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls working at WYCB Radio in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers her calling to the ministry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers her commute to Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes what she learned at the Howard University School of Divinity
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the stigma against female pastors
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about the female ministers in the Bible
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about the inclusion of women as leaders in the African Methodist Episcopal church
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her ordination as a deacon
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers her first pastoral assignment
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her experiences as a pastor in Chesapeake City, Maryland
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her accomplishments in Chesapeake City, Maryland
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers the birth of her third child, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers the birth of her third child, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls pastoring the Oak Street A.M.E. Church in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her transition to the Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls how she was received at the Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the ministries of the Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the ministries of the Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her success at the Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls the growth of the Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls the Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church's job training programs
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the mission of the Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the value of small churches
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers writing 'Not Without A Struggle'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her calling to the episcopacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her campaign for bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal church
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her campaign strategies
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her election as a bishop
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her assignment as the bishop of southeast Africa
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers her emphasis on education in southeast Africa
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the problem of HIV/AIDS in Africa, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the problem of HIV/AIDS in Africa, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her ministries in southeast Africa
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes how she was received in Africa as a female bishop
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about the gender roles in southeast Africa
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her experiences as a female bishop in Africa
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Slating of Bishop Vashti McKenzie's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her duties as bishop of the Thirteenth Episcopal District
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the offices of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers founding Believe, Incorporated
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the educational legacy of the African Methodist Episcopal church
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about the creation of historically black colleges
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about historical figures from the African Methodist Episcopal church, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the founding of the African Methodist Episcopal church
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about historical figures from the African Methodist Episcopal church, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about the importance of historically black colleges
  • Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the history of African American publications
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the publications of the African Methodist Episcopal church
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about her publications
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the biblical story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her sources for books and sermons
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about the interpretations of the Bible, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about the interpretations of the Bible, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her assignment to the Tenth Episcopal District
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her achievements as the bishop of the Tenth Episcopal District
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the tradition of community service in the African Methodist Episcopal church
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about the social justice efforts of the African Methodist Episcopal church
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the international operations of the African Methodist Episcopal church
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about her book, 'The Big Deal of Taking Small Steps and Moving Closer to God'
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about the importance of a relationship with God
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie shares her advice for ministers and congregants
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about reaching the millennial generation
  • Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her oratorical style
  • Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about her plans for the future
  • Tape: 11 Story: 10 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes the advancements for women in the ministry
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers meeting U.S. Senator Barack Obama
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie remembers working on the My Brother's Keeper program
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie recalls her sermons to President Barack Obama
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes her hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie talks about her family
  • Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie describes how she would like to be remembered