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Robert Church, Sr.

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Information about Robert Church, Sr.

Profile image of Robert Church, Sr.

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Agriculturalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Vegetables
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere
Favorite Quote:
One day at a time.

Birthplace

Born:
9/26/1909
Birth Location:
Athens, Georgia

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Agriculturalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Vegetables
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere
Favorite Quote:
One day at a time.

Birthplace

Born:
9/26/1909
Birth Location:
Athens
See how Robert Church, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Robert Church was born in Athens, Georgia, on September 26, 1909. His father, Arthur Church, worked as a sharecropper and an overseer on a corporate lawyer’s farm. Church also worked in agriculture, improving the quality of life for poor African American farmers.

Church walked five miles each way to a segregated elementary school. In 1927, he enrolled at the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia, for both high school and college. Working his way through school, he cleaned rooms at the Hampton guest house, Holly Tree Inn, cleaning some of the same rooms Booker T. Washington had before him. Church also worked at a summer camp in New Hampshire, and during the school year, he milked cows and fed hogs. He earned a B.S. degree in agricultural education in 1934.

Church returned to Georgia and began work as a high school vocational agriculture teacher in Wilkes County. He became the assistant principal, and in 1937, this work took him to Jenkins County to serve as a school principal. Through the school, he became associated with the University of Georgia Agriculture Extension. This led him to become Peach County’s first black county agriculture agent. In this capacity, he taught African American farmers and their families the latest agricultural techniques in order to increase production, improving their living standards. He also played a leading role with 4-H and conducted the Fort Valley Ham and Egg Show from 1949 to 1966. In 1958, Church earned an M.S. degree in agricultural education from the Tuskegee Institute.

After retiring from active professional work in 1969, Church spent the equivalent of another career in public service. He served two terms on the Fort Valley City Council, from 1974 to 1982. For twenty-five years, he served as a board member for the Department of Family and Children Services at both the local and state levels. He was also affiliated with Trinity Baptist Church, Peach County United Way and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Church passed away on December 31, 2008 at the age of 99.

See how Robert Church, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Church interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Church's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Church recalls his family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Church remembers his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Church recounts his early educational experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Church recalls a student strike at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Church explains how he worked his way through college
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Church lists people who influenced him
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Church recounts his experiences at Hampton
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Church remembers his first teaching job
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Church describes his involvement with the 4-H Club
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Church discusses a painting of his wife
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Church explains his work as a county agricultural education agent
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Church recalls his work as a county agricultural education agent
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Church details his involvement with the Ham and Egg Show
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Church remembers returning to school to get his Masters
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Church describes his relationships with both black and white farmers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Church recounts instances of racial discrimination in his career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Church relates how he brought HUD funding to his community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Church recalls his tenure as a city councilman
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Church explains the purpose of the agricultural education extension program
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Church recounts the role of children in the Ham and Egg Show
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Church describes the farming community in Peach County, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Church remembers his involvement with Fort Valley State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Church reflects on his accomplishments
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Church discusses being a member of Sigma Pi Phi
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robert Church ponders his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Robert Church shares his hopes for the black community