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

Reverend Vernon Dobson

Share on Social Media

Information about Reverend Vernon Dobson

Profile image of Reverend Vernon Dobson

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Pastor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Catonsville, Maryland
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/29/1923
Birth Location:
Baltimore, Maryland

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Pastor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Catonsville, Maryland
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/29/1923
Birth Location:
Baltimore
See how Reverend Vernon Dobson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Reverend Vernon Nathaniel Dobson was born October 29, 1923, into a committed, philosophical family headed by his father, the Reverend Spencer Dobson. Dobson attended grade school at Baltimore Public School 100 and at Booker T. Washington. He earned a diploma from Frederick Douglass High School and joined the United States Navy in 1940 where he played on intramural sports teams with future baseball Hall of Fame inductee Larry Doby. Qualified for Officers Candidate School, Dobson would not be allowed to participate. He and his squadron were vindicated when their squadron was chosen to march at Truman’s inauguration.

From 1946 to 1949, Dobson attended Howard University where he came under the tutelage of Dr. Mordecai Johnson, Dr. Benjamin Mays, Reverend Howard Thurman, Ralph Bunche, William Leo Hansberry, Thurgood Marshall and others. He received his B.D. in 1949 and went on to Harvard University to pursue graduate studies. He joined the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance in 1953 and was twice named president.

Following his graduation, Dobson worked as a probation officer and as recreation manager at Knox Presbyterian Church. In 1963, Dobson was installed as pastor of Union Baptist Church in Baltimore where he organized buses for the March On Washington and founded the Food Bank of Maryland. He, with Parren Mitchell, Joseph Howard, Marion Bascomb, Harold Dobson and others founded the “Goon Squad” in 1967 to stop Baltimore’s racially segregated system. With Monsignor Clare and Rev. Wendell Phillips, Dobson founded Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development (BUILD) in 1968, which still serves as a powerful grass roots organization.

Dobson is a central figure to Union Baptist Church’s legacy of social change, which includes Reverend Harvey Johnson and the founding of the NAACP. In 2002, Union Baptist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary with presentations by Reverend Gardner Taylor, Dr. Richard McKinney, Dr. Cheryl Sanders, Freeman Hrabowski and others.

Rev. Dobson passed away on January 26, 2013.

See how Reverend Vernon Dobson is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Vernon Dobson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Vernon Dobson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about his mother's side of the family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about his father's side of the family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Vernon Dobson remembers his paternal uncles
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Vernon Dobson describes his mother's level of education and personality, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about civil rights leader, Harvey Johnson
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Vernon Dobson describes his mother's level of education and personality, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Vernon Dobson describes his father's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Vernon Dobson describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Vernon Dobson explains the change in terminology from "colored" to "Negro", pt.1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Vernon Dobson explains the change in terminology from "colored" to "Negro", pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about the systemic racism that persists in public education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Vernon Dobson describes his educational experience in segregated Baltimore, Maryland public schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Vernon Dobson remembers excelling in school in ninth grade
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Vernon Dobson lists his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Vernon Dobson recalls the high quality of teaching at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about his high school activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Vernon Dobson remembers playing sports with Larry Doby in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Vernon Dobson recalls being denied the admittance he earned to Officers Candidate School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about encountering racism in the U.S. Navy while stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1946
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Vernon Dobson explains the influence of African American churches in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Vernon Dobson remembers racist incidents that propelled him into the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Vernon Dobson reflects on the persistence of racism and colonialism throughout the world
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about attending Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Vernon Dobson mentions the professors he encountered at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Vernon Dobson speaks about Mordecai Wyatt Johnson's influence on Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Vernon Dobson recalls Howard Thurman at Howard University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Vernon Dobson reflects upon the faculty at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in the 1940s and their impact on the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about the concept of reconciliation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Vernon Dobson explains the difference between megachurches and Union Baptist Church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Vernon Dobson reflects upon the importance of community in religion
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Vernon Dobson explains how he came to study psychology, philosophy and religion at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about his brother who was also a minister
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Vernon Dobson recalls Vernon Johns
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about his brother and father's ministry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Vernon Dobson recalls key ministers in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Vernon Dobson describes his experience as a pastor at his first church in Overlea, Maryland
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Vernon Dobson describes the community center run by Union Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Vernon Dobson recalls the formation of the Black United Front
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about the list of grievances that the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance in Baltimore, Maryland developed
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Vernon Dobson names people involved in the Civil Rights Movement in Baltimore, Maryland, pt.1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Vernon Dobson names people involved in the Civil Rights Movement in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about African American preachers who have been corrupted by the religious right
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Vernon Dobson reflects upon the relationship between the black Christian church and the Nation of Islam
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Reverend Vernon Dobson shares the message he'd like to leave his church
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Vernon Dobson's interview, session two
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about how he became involved with the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about how he became involved with the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Vernon Dobson explains how working at the probation department led to his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Vernon Dobson recalls Joseph Howard, Sr. becoming the first black judge in Maryland
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Vernon Dobson remembers the formation of the Goon Squad
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about the creation of Columbia, Maryland
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Vernon Dobson reflects on Columbia, Maryland's success
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend Vernon Dobson discusses gentrification
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Vernon Dobson describes the circumstances that led to HistoryMaker Parren J. Mitchell's election to the U.S. Congress in 1970
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about encroaching gentrification in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about the community of Union Baptist Church
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Vernon Dobson explains the formation of BUILD
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Vernon Dobson recalls BUILD's campaign for housing
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Vernon Dobson remembers the March on Washington, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Vernon Dobson remembers the March on Washington, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about the progress of the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about the challenges facing the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reverend Vernon Dobson advocates for community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reverend Vernon Dobson explains why he's happy with his life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Reverend Vernon Dobson explains why he has no regrets
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Reverend Vernon Dobson discusses his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about HistoryMaker Dr. Freeman A. Habrowski III
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Reverend Vernon Dobson shares what he loves about Union Baptist Church
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Reverend Vernon Dobson talks about the changes to the neighborhood surrounding Union Baptist Church
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Reverend Vernon Dobson reflects upon his mother's legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Reverend Vernon Dobson reflects upon his father's legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Reverend Vernon Dobson reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Reverend Vernon Dobson narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Reverend Vernon Dobson narrates his photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Reverend Vernon Dobson narrates his photographs, pt. 3