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Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall

Rev. Shelvin Jerome Hall was born May 3, 1916, in Yoakum, Texas. Graduating Magna cum Laude from Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, in 1944, Hall married Lucy M. Lewis that same year. Hall pursued a graduate degree in high school administration at Prairie View A&M University in 1949, and graduate studies in divinity from Howard University.

In 1955, Hall was appointed pastor of Friendship Baptist Church on Chicago’s West Side. After his initial appointment, Hall moved the church several times, increasing the membership to over 1,500. Hall became supervisor of the General Division of the National Baptist Convention in 1960, and subsequently served for twenty-five years as the dean of the Baptist General State Congress of Christian Education in Illinois; president of the West Side Baptist Ministers Conference; president of the National Board of Directors, One Church/One Child Program; president of the West Side Baptist Ministers Association; and president of the Baptist General State Convention of Illinois. Hall was also the founding chairman of the Community Bank of Lawndale; president of the West Side Isaiah Plan; chairman of the Family Division of the Chicago Area Boy Scouts of America; executive director of the Inter-Religious Council on Urban Affairs; president of the Local Redevelopment Authority of Lawndale; president of the NAACP West Side Branch; president of the Midwest Community Council; and founding board member of Operation PUSH.

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to establish a movement on the West Side of Chicago, Hall, then president of the West Side Federation, opened his church and offered King hospitality and access. Happily married, Hall and his wife raised New York State Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Hall, Illinois Appellate Court Judge Shelvin Louise Hall, and Lewis Hall, Supervisor of Higher Education for the New York Department of Education.

Hall passed away on May 21, 2007 at the age of 91.

Accession Number

A2005.125

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/1/2005 |and| 6/3/2005

Last Name

Hall

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Jerome

Schools

Westhoff El

Texas School For The Deaf

Bishop College

First Name

Shelvin

Birth City, State, Country

Yoakum

HM ID

HAL10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

In All Our Ways Acknowledge God, And He Will Direct Our Paths.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/3/1916

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

5/21/2007

Short Description

Pastor and religious leader Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall (1916 - 2007 ) served for twenty-five years as the dean of the Baptist General State Congress of Christian Education in Illinois, in addition to holding several high ranking positions in such organizations as the West Side Baptist Ministers Conference; the National Board of Directors, One Church/One Child Program; the West Side Baptist Ministers Association; and the Baptist General State Convention of Illinois.

Employment

Friendship Baptist Church

St. John Baptist Church

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his mother and his uncle, Elijah Shelvin

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his father's personality and career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his family's role in Yoakum, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his maternal grandmother's commitment to education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls how his paternal uncle was accused of murder

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his teachers at the Texas Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls his activities at the Texas Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls hardships he endured as a Bishop College student in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his studies at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes working as a schoolteacher in Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his call to the ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls his first job as a minister in Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls how he met his wife, Lucy Lewis Hall

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls hitchhiking to Bishop College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls hitchhiking to Bishop College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes race relations in El Campo, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls receiving threats in El Campo, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes participating in the Selma to Montgomery march

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes the Lacey Kirk Williams Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls why he left Corpus Christi's St. John Baptist Church

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls becoming pastor of Chicago's Friendship Baptist Church

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes moving to Maywood, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls his relationship with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls rejecting bribes from Mayor Richard J. Daley's political machine

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes Chicago's West Side Federation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes supporting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall explains why he refused to support Chicago's Mayor Richard J. Daley

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls marching with Reverend J.M. Stone in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech at Friendship Baptist Church

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s visit to Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls the founding of Chicago's Community Bank of Lawndale

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls founding Chicago's Community Bank of Lawndale

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his work with the Midwest Community Council

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes community leaders on Chicago's West Side

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes community institutions on Chicago's West Side

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his National Baptist Convention membership

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall explains his loyalty to the National Baptist Convention

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls when Friendship Baptist Church's neighborhood was rezoned

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls constructing the new Friendship Baptist Church, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls constructing the new Friendship Baptist Church, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls the riots after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death in 1968

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his spiritual philosophy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall shares his opinions on black theology

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall reflects upon his choice to be a minister

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his parenting philosophy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes his children

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall gives advice to young African American men

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls his first job as a minister in Texas
Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall recalls becoming pastor of Chicago's Friendship Baptist Church
Transcript
Okay, I got my car. And there were churches all out in the trees, two miles out, three miles out, big churches, five hundred members, all like that, all in East Texas, in those pine trees, loaded with folks. I got called to the church. How far you think it was? Come on, you're a pro; see what you know about God.$$I don't know, five miles away.$$Five hundred miles away.$$Five hundred?$$I was in East Texas, and I get called to the church on the other side of Houston [Texas]. I said, "Now, I thought I had a deal." It might not be five hundred, let's say 350, same thing. But it took me all night Sunday night, all night to get back to Carthage [Texas] to teach school Monday morning. But I had told the Lord if he gave me a car I'd take a church anywhere. So, 350 miles away--now Texas all--I just knew He was gonna give me one two miles out or five miles out, some reason. No--he gives me one that takes all night Sunday night to drive back. So my wife [Lucy Lewis Hall] jumps in the car, and we fight the road all night, no shoulders, no bridges, got to be at work Monday morning, getting a hundred dollars a month for teaching school 'cause the church is paying twenty-five dollars a week if it doesn't rain on the Sunday that is pastoral day, and it's my first church. I said Lord, okay, okay, all right, so I took to church, I started fighting that 350 miles every two weeks. I had got a broadcast, only broadcast in the county, 'Shine On Me' is the theme song. Seventy thirty in the morning I had to be there, twenty-five dollars a week if it didn't rain, became one of the best voices in southwest Texas. Church house had never been painted, painted the church house; no phone in the church house, put the telephone in; no office, put in an office--all the way from East Texas to southwest Texas. You learn that God drives a hard bargain. He could have killed me, but he didn't.$I went to a meeting in Florida, I reckon it was, somewhere, and it was hot. And I met an old friend of my father [Will Hall]. And it was steaming hot, and he was sweating. I had bought a new car, and I said, "Dr. Graham [Reverend S.H. Graham], would you like a ride?" He's wiping sweat. He said, "Be glad to." He got in. My car was air-conditioned. Like an old-timer, he looked it over--this is nice. By the time I got him to his hotel he said, "There's a good church [Friendship Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois] that's gonna be vacant in our neighborhood. Your daddy did me a favor when I was a young man, and I'd like to recommend you." I said, "Yes, sir." But he's riding in my new car on a hot day. So, what else you gonna tell me? He didn't pay me cab fare. So he got out when he got to his hotel. I held him to rights. I said yes, sir, respect that I owe to an elderly leader, S. H. Graham at Greater Union [Baptist Church] in Chicago [Illinois]. He got out and went on his way. And a month or so later I got a letter that he was asking him to invite me to come up to preach. And I came up and preached. It didn't do nothing. They gave me a hundred dollars. I flew up from Corpus Christi [Texas]. And I said well--but then they turned back around again after that and they said, "Are you coming to the convention in September?" I said, "Yes." They said, "Well, would you like to preach for us in September?" I said, "Be glad to," and I left. That time, it was free to them 'cause I was coming up to the convention (laughter). And so I preached. And they said, "Can you stay over Monday night?" I said, "I doubt it. My, I've got some delegates with me." "See if they can stay over." All right. I asked the delegates could they stay. They said yes. I stayed over Monday. They had a church meeting, and they gave me the letter of call on Monday, and that's fifty years ago.

Bishop Joseph Howze

Religious leader Bishop Joseph Howze, bishop emeritus of Biloxi, Mississippi, was the first black Catholic bishop appointed in the twentieth century. He was born Lawson Howze on August 30, 1923, in Daphne, Alabama. He grew up amid the Gulf Coast’s shipping and fishing industries. Howze attended Heart of Mary in Mobile, Alabama, for kindergarten, but later was transferred to the segregated public schools of Mobile. He graduated from Mobile County Secondary School in 1944, and in 1946, he graduated from the Alabama State Branch Junior College in Mobile. Earning his B.A. degree from Alabama State University in 1948, Howze worked as a teacher at Mobile’s Central High School. That same year, he converted to Catholicism and took the name of Joseph. In 1952, Howze was hired to teach at his first Catholic school, St. Monica, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Drawn to the priesthood, Howze was admitted to Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure University in New York. He received his doctor of divinity in 1959 and was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, that same year. Howze was a pastor in Asheville, North Carolina, when he was consecrated titular bishop of massita and auxiliary bishop of Natchez-Jackson, Mississippi, in 1972 by Pope Paul VI. Howze was installed as bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi on June 6, 1977, with responsibility for the southern third of Mississippi. In his twenty-three years as bishop, the diocese grew nearly 30 percent, from 50,000 to almost 66,000 parishioners. Howze has served on the National Council of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) Ad Hoc “Call to Action Committee,” the World Peace Committee of the United States Catholic Conference, and the Mississippi Health Care Commission.

Howze is presently a member of the NCCB Liaison Committee to the National Office of Black Catholics; the Biloxi Regional Health Center Board; the Board of Directors of the Gulf Pines Girl Scout Council; the Knights of Columbus; the Knights of Peter Claver; and the NCCB Interreligious and Ecumenical Affairs Committee. As the national episcopal liaison of the Apostleship of the Sea, Howze annually blessed the Gulf Coast fishing boats that ply their trade in the Gulf. Howze retired from the diocese on June 6, 2001.

Howze passed away on January 9, 2019.

Bishop Joseph Howze was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 12, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.201

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/12/2002

Last Name

Howze

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lawson

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Joseph

Birth City, State, Country

Daphne

HM ID

HOW01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

North Carolina

Favorite Quote

Great Scots!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Mississippi

Birth Date

8/30/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Gulfport

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo (Seafood)

Death Date

1/9/2019

Short Description

Religious leader Bishop Joseph Howze (1923 - 2019) retired from his role as a Catholic Bishop in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Employment

Mobile Central High School

St. Monica Catholic School

Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina

Diocese of Natchez-Jackson

Favorite Color

Blue, Brown, White

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joseph Howze interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joseph Howze lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joseph Howze talks about his parents and his ancestors' origins

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joseph Howze recalls his earliest memories and talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joseph Howze discusses his personality as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joseph Howze talks about the people that inspired him throughout his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joseph Howze details his religious upbringing and his interest in the Catholic faith

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joseph Howze explains how he became a Catholic priest

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joseph Howze discusses race discrimination in the Catholic church in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joseph Howze details being appointed Bishop of Biloxi in the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joseph Howze recalls the challenges he faced in establishing his diocese in Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joseph Howze discusses his relationship with Xavier University of Louisiana and Catholic education for blacks

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joseph Howze comments on how the Catholic Church has made changes for its ethnic communities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joseph Howze discusses a Washington, D.C. congregation that defected from the Catholic Church

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joseph Howze talks about Afrocentric organizations within the Catholic Church

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joseph Howze comments on the abuse scandals within the Catholic Church

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joseph Howze talks about voodoo and its use of the Catholic canon

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joseph Howze discusses his faith and Christianity as a whole

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joseph Howze details his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joseph Howze comments on the Church's responsibility to usher in social change

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joseph Howze discusses his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Joseph Howze details being appointed Bishop of Biloxi in the 1970s
Joseph Howze comments on how the Catholic Church has made changes for its ethnic communities
Transcript
So when you were appointed a bishop here in Mississippi, the State of Mississippi, are most of the Catholics in the state in the Gulf or is there--?$$Well, let me put it this way. Mississippi is more Catholic than North Carolina. It was at the time. As far as population, Catholic population, Mississippi had a higher population than the--and, of course, the Southern, the Gulf Coast, certainly was. I mean because of New Orleans and Mobile and even the black Catholic population was higher. But, the, I'd say the total population in Mississippi was not that high, I mean cause when you go, to go North, but as I said, I, I have been edified really from the very first day of my appoint, and one of my first assignments as a bishop was to go to Philadelphia, Mississippi to, to confirm. Now, if you remember, Philadelphia, Mississippi was the place where those three civil rights workers were killed. And I drove there by myself at evening, at night.$$And this is--we're just talking about five years from--?$$I'm talking about, this is 1973.$$Seventy-three [1973], well, eight years after they were killed.$$Yeah, and so I drove there alone. And then in--I confirmed. In the class, I had Indians, blacks and whites because it's a kind of a, it's a, the Indian reservation is in that area. So that was my first experience. So I never had any problem in Mississippi. I really haven't. The people have been loyal. I don't mean just down here, but I mean throughout Mississippi, and I've traveled throughout Mississippi doing all of the confirmations before I even came here in '77 [1977]. And this is my twenty-fifth year being here in this part of Mississippi.$$Okay, now, tell me again about you being appointed the Bishop of Biloxi. How did that (happen?) first, and then--?$$Well, I had some idea about it before it happened, but I didn't exactly know I was gonna be appointed. But I did know we were trying to divide the State of Mississippi to have a new diocese in this state. And at that time, Cardinal Law was still a priest, the Bishop of Boston. He was still a priest in, in Mississippi when I came here. He was one of the priests. In fact, he did, he traveled around with me a good bit when he--when I first came. When I, when I first came to, as I say, well, I first came to Mississippi in 1972 to visit. I was impressed with Jackson. I thought Jackson was the cleanest city I'd ever been. It was clean-looking city. And when I first got off the plane, I was met by a group of people, both black and white, to greet, welcome me to Mississippi. That was the, November of 1972. And we were preparing for my ordination in January of '73 [1973]. So I came back, I moved back to Mississippi in January of 1973, moved from Ashville here. And, and, of course, my ordination music was planned by a black priest by the name of Clarence Rivers. He is a priest of Cleveland, Ohio. And he's still there. He's a great guy and musician, and musician. And so he directed the music for my ordination. It was fantastic. It was done in the Civic Auditorium in Jackson, a very cold day. It was freezing cold that day, but it was a, a great occasion because a young black man was being ordained as a, the first auxiliary, the second auxiliary bishop of the State of Mississippi. The first one was, Bishop Bruneni (ph.) was the first, and I was the second. And, of course--and I'm quite sure everybody was wondering what was gonna happen. So was I. But things really moved along nicely. I had no problem. Bishop Bruneni was very good to me. And he was a Southern bishop himself, a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi. And coming, coming down here to being a diocese was a challenge because you didn't know what you do, you know. I didn't have any money, I didn't have anything, but, but again, I would say the people of Mississippi, Biloxi, have been generous and very good.$In this community with so many black Catholics, are there any particular--I mean, what--political challenges in dealing with the Catholic church in general?$$No, I don't think there were particular political challenges, nah. I don't, I don't recover any. But here again, I think some of the young blacks in this community who may be in active in politics, were once students in the Catholic school, even though they might not have been Catholic.$$I know in black Catholics, black Presbyterians--.$$Even Methodists--.$$--Episcopalians.$$Yeah, Episcopalians, right.$$There seems to be, there's been a movement since the late '60s [1960s] (unclear) schools, and for want of a better word, lack of an adequate church (unclear) or maybe more compatible with black people--.$$Okay, and that's a good point. Yeah, that's a good point. Even in the Catholic church, since the Second Vatican Council, when the, the liturgy was made available, both vernacular language for people, I mean in the language that people spoke, and the structure was, the liturgy was structured a little different. For instance, yeah, I've gone to some Catholic liturgies, I'll tell you the truth, I didn't know in the first part of it, if it was Catholic or not, I mean the way it was structured. And it's okay. I mean the spirituals, the gospels, every, every Catholic church has a gospel choir now, I mean black. You go--we have one in, in Bay St. Louis called Saint--what? St. Rose of Lima. They have a famous Baptist--not Baptist, famous Catholic choir, gospel choir there, that's famous all over the coast here. And it is really, it is really traditionally a black congregation singing it. And, and that has been made possible because of the structure of the liturgy, not only for blacks, but for other groups to add national groups. The Vietnamese, much of their liturgy, it's not, it's Catholic, but a lot of it has Vietnamese culture in it. However, I, I'll take that back, even--it depends. Even in Africa, though, some of the, the liturgies are very Roman. They're not, they're not local, but, but I would say sometimes, the Americans picked up the, the African style some times better than some of the African, which--.$$And it seems to be a phenomenon, you know, that Africans--.$$Yeah.$$--on the continent or from the continent tend to be--.$$Very conservative.$$-- yeah, more European than (unclear)--.$$Very conservative, the bishops are very conservative. Very Roman, we would say.$$Right, where the African Americans tend to want to be more African.$$Of, of a type, yeah.$$Of a, yeah, of a type. (Unclear) I don't, you know if you--(unclear).$$But, but that's a good point you made that, that I would say, I know in the Catholic church, that there is a, a great effort to, to emphasize the culture of the Africans in the church liturgy, not to change it, but to enhance it. And, and the mus--and as you know, the music is, is one where, we've all been good at music. We all have choirs and things like that. So it, it, it's good. And it's, it's not anti-Catholic to do it. I mean the church has always said that, and many popes, Pope Pius, the Twelfth, was particularly of making the liturgy as locally, to the local culture as well to the European church, you know. And it's been an effort to do that, without destroying it, without it being Catholic--without trying to not have it Catholic, but to have it, to have it localized with a national culture, whatever that is. And you made the point, if a--that, you said, to blacken it or whatever the case, there, there is an effort to do that.$$Yeah, I know there are black organizations today of the major denominations of unions or like there's a Union of Black Episcopalians--.$$Right.$$--there's a Catholic (unclear)--.$$And it's, it's, it--it's good, and because as the bishop of the diocese of Biloxi, I had a lot of Vietnamese here that I assist. And most of the Vietnamese are Catholics, (a few?) (unclear) a number of Buddhists, but mostly Catholic. And they are very good, active Catholics. When I would go around to celebrate a liturgy in the Vietnamese, for the Vietnamese, I would do my part in English, but I'd let them do their part in Vietnamese. And, and so that's the way we developed it. And, and it's--the English, I, for instance, I could say the "Lord's Prayers" two times while they're finishing their one time in Vietnamese, yeah. But, we, we, you develop it. And that was one thing about my being a bishop down here. I was a bishop for, for a really, I would say a cosmos of the universe. I had all races down here, Indian, black, white, red, brown, a lot of Hispanic people too.

Reverend Willie T. Barrow

Religious leader and civil rights activist Reverend Willie T. Barrow was born on December 7, 1924 to Octavia and Nelson Taplin, a minister. Barrow was raised in Burton, Texas, where as a student she led a demonstration of rural African American schoolchildren against a segregated school system. Barrow later attended Warner-Pacific Theological Seminary in Portland, Oregon, and helped build a church in that city in the 1940s.

Upon graduation, Barrow was ordained as a minister and began her career as both a spiritual and social activist. From 1953 to 1965, she was a field organizer for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where she was responsible for the organization of transportation, shelter, meetings and rallies for demonstrations, including the 1965 March on Selma, Alabama. During the 1960s, Barrow was among the founding members of Operation Breadbasket in Chicago, Illinois, a program that provided spiritual guidance and practical assistance to communities in need. Later, in 1968, she led a three-person delegation to North Vietnam and participated in the negotiation of the Vietnam Peace Treaty.

Barrow went on to serve as co-chair of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the organization that grew out of Operation Breadbasket. At the Coalition, she coordinated activities and served as an aide to Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. Barrow also served as associate minister of the Vernon Park Church of God in Chicago, and was active in the National Urban League and National Council of Negro Women.

Barrow was honored with a Doctor of Divinity degree from Monrovia, Liberia and a Leadership Certificate from Harvard University. She also received awards from the League of Black Women, the Christian Women's Conference, and the Indo-American Democratic Organization. In September of 1997, a street on Chicago's South Side was renamed in her honor; and, that same year, the Reverend Willie Barrow Wellness Center was opened to bring affordable and accessible health care to needed areas in Chicago. She authored the book, How to Get Married and Stay Married, which was published in 2004.

Reverend Barrow passed away on March 12, 2015 at the age of 90.

Accession Number

A1999.001

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

8/19/2002

Last Name

Barrow

Maker Category
Middle Name

T.

Schools

Warner Pacific College

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Willie

Birth City, State, Country

Burton

HM ID

BAR03

Favorite Season

Winter

Sponsor

Tanqueray

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Let us stay connected.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/7/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Death Date

3/12/2015

Short Description

Civil rights activist and religious leader Reverend Willie T. Barrow (1924 - 2015 ) was a field organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a founding member of Operation Breadbasket in Chicago, Illinois.

Employment

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Rainbow/PUSH Coalition

Vernon Park Church of God

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Willie Barrow interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Willie Barrow's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Willie Barrow gives autobiographical information on her family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Willie Barrow talks about her mother and grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Willie Barrow remembers her grandmothers and the importance of family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Willie Barrow shares a story about her paternal uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Willie Barrow talks about her relationship with her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Willie Barrow recalls the sights, sounds and morays of her Texas childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Willie Barrow recalls her grade school years and the importance of the black church

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Willie Barrow remembers her elementary years

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Willie Barrow talks about her years and Seminary and meeting her future husband

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Willie Barrow describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Willie Barrow talks about her high school years

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Willie Barrow talks about a confrontation on the segregated high school bus

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Willie Barrow continues her story about the school bus segregation in Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Willie Barrow talks about her high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Willie Barrow decides to attend seminary school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Willie Barrow shares her philosphy about a post- Septmeber 11th world

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Willie Barrow talks about the death of her son

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Willie Barrow shares the pain of losing her sons, parents and husband

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Willie Barrow recalls how she became part of Operation PUSH

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Willie Barrow discusses her involvment in major labor and civil rights movements in the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Willie Barrow continues with her Selma, Alabama story

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Willie Barrow describes what a civil rights training session entailed

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Willie Barrow continues talking about her civil rights training sessions

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Willie Barrow describes how Dr King and James Orange inspired her during the Selma March

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Willie Barrow continues with her recollections of her civil rights days and working for Martin Luther King

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Willie Barrow continues her recollections of her early civil rights days

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Willie Barrow shares her recollections of Martin Luther King

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Willie Barrow describes the situation in Montgomery, ALabama before the march to Selma

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Willie Barrow describes the broadening of focus in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Willie Barrow details the origins of Operation Breadbasket

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Willie Barrow continues the story of Operation Breadbasket and picketing area grocery stores

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Willie Barrow details the Operation Breadbasket boycott of Revlon

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Willie Barrow compares and contrasts the Selma Marh and MArch on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Willie Barrow continues with her comparison of the March on Washington and Selma

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Willie Barrow reveals the sexism in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Willie Barrow talks about the role of women on organized religion

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Willie Barrow describes her transition from Operation Breadbasket to Operation PUSH

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Willie Barrow details her working relationship with Jesse Jackson

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Willie Barrow on the challenges facing minorities and women

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Willie Barrow on additional challenges facing minorities and women

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Willie Barrow talks about the rise of Harold Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Willie Barrow discusses the importance of getting out the vote

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Willie Barrow emphasises the importance of forming coalitions

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Willie Barrow talks about the fervor surrounding Harold Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Willie Barrow reminisces about Harold Washington, the person

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Willie Barrow wonders what happened to Ed Vrdolyak

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Willie Barrow shares memories of Harold Washington's first term in office

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Willie Barrow scrutinizes the political aftermath of Harold Washington's death

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Willie Barrow is hopeful about the 2002 National election cycle

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Willie Barrow details the items on her "New Agenda"

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Willie Barrow shares some life lessons

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Willie Barrow discusses her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Willie Barrow discusses her greatest achievements

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Willie Barrow wants to be remembered as the "Little Warrior"

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Willie Barrow shares some final thoughts

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Willie Barrow on the wisdom of wearing colorful clothing

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Willie Barrow reflects on the proverb "It takes a village to raise a child"

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Willie Barrow offers her thoughts the Reparations Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Willie Barrow talks about financial freedom and investment

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Willie Barrow reflects on her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Willie Barrow talks about sex and violence in the media

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - Portrait of Rev. Willie Barrow's mother, Octavia Taplin

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow and her husband Clyde Barrow with their bridal party, Portland, Oregon, January, 1945

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Rev. Jesse Jackson, ca. 1985

Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. Calvin Morris, Rev. Andrew Young and an unidentified man, ca. 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo - Reproduction of a painting of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow and Clyde Barrow's wedding portrait, Portland, Oregon, January, 1945

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow, Coretta Scott King and an unidentified woman

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Photo - High school graduation portrait of Willie Barrow's son, Keith Barrow, ca. 1970

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow's son, Keith Barrow as a toddler, ca. 1950s

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with her son Keith and husband, Clyde Barrow at Operation Push, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Photo - Portrait of Rev. Willie Barrow, ca. 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Rev. Claude Wyatt at an Operation Push event, Chicago, Illinois, mid-1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Rev. Jesse Jackson at Operation Push, Chicago, Illinois, 1984

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, Janine Ramone, Cecil Partee and an unidentified woman, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow, NASA Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, Deloris Jordan and others, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1991-1994

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Leon Davis, ca. 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with military hostages rescued by Rev. Jesse Jackson, Chicago, Illinois, 1999

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Portrait of Rev. Willie Barrow taken for 'N'digo' newspaper, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Rev. Ralph Abernathy and others, late 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Rev. Calvin Morris and unidentified man, Chicago, Illinois, early 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Rev. George Edward Riddick and others at Operation PUSH headquarters, Chicago, Illinois, early 1990s

Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with business entrepreneur Cirillo McSween, Washington, D.C., ca. 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Mr. Celeous(?) Henderson and his wife, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo - Portrait of Jesse Jackson, his wife, Jackie Jackson, and their children

Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Photo - Nancy Jefferson, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Willie Barrow, during Harold Washington's mayoral campaign, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1983-1987

Tape: 6 Story: 21 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with her husband, Clyde Barrow

Tape: 6 Story: 22 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow, Dorothy Height, former congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and C. DeLores Tucker at the Democratic National Convention, San Francisco, California

Tape: 6 Story: 23 - Photo - Portrait of Rev. Willie Barrow

Tape: 6 Story: 24 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow with Bill Cosby and others during his visit to Operation PUSH headquarters, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 25 - Photo - Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow and her older sister, Lula Mae Taplin

Tape: 6 Story: 26 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow, her husband, Clyde Barrow, and an unnamed photographer at Operation PUSH headquarters, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 27 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow and an unidentified woman at a voter registration drive, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 28 - Photo - Rev. Jesse Jackson during his campaign for U.S. President, 1984

Tape: 6 Story: 29 - Photo - Mel Farr, Alvin Boutte, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Cirillo McSween and Howard Brookins, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1983-1987

Tape: 6 Story: 30 - Photo - Rev. Willie Barrow wearing a balloon hat

Tape: 6 Story: 31 - Photo - Willie Barrow's son, Keith Barrow, Chicago, Illinois

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

12$13

DATitle
Willie Barrow describes how Dr King and James Orange inspired her during the Selma March
Willie Barrow details her working relationship with Jesse Jackson
Transcript
Do you have any favorite stories of that training, just before you hit the road?$$I just, I just had James Orange [Rev. James Orange- project leader for SCLC- helped organize Selma March]. There's something about that young man. And I just, every time I see violence, I think about James Orange, and how he communicated with us, not just in words but, but his words had so much fire and spirit in it. And Dr. [Martin Luther] King hardly ever used the word, race. His whole vocabulary to us was man's humanity to man. Where is your humaneness? That's why we had black and white and working together. And we, they coined that song, black and white together, hand in hand together. I mean there was a spirit, something like the 9/11 spirit [ referring to September 11, 2001]. You know, everybody then start walking together. Now, they kind of question -- because they don't know what to do right now. But, but it was the hand-in-hand. We, we were sleeping together, we were eating together, we were walking together,we were riding together. It was, it was that kind of togetherness. And, and I think that's what is happening in our day right now with the fires, with the winds, with the storms, with the terrorists. It means that -- and, and this, this phrase I coined for the new millennium, "We are not so much divided as we are disconnected," -- we are not so much divided as we are disconnected. The Baptists, the Methodists, the Mormons, the, the Catholics, got to come together. I think that's why we have this big stuff that's going on right now. The Catholic Church, it's got -- it's going to be a reform within the Catholic Church with what's going on. It will never be the same. Say, things are going change. And just like now, we got to come together in order to make a difference. I look at my body, my left hand, my right hand. They both have different functions. My nose have a function. My ears have a function. My eyes have a function. Even your eyelashes have a function. Your mouth don't do what your leg does, but it, it comprises the body. And the body-- that's why God compared the church as the body of Christ cause every function makes up the body. And when that function is cut off or stifled, what happened? Then you become handicap (laughter). That's why they have the handicap signs up, because you become-- you, you can't function as well. So that's why we got to come together.$Now, tell me something about your relationship to and with Jesse Jackson?$$Now, when Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] came North, to bring the movement North, he asked, he said, I got to put a woman with Jesse Jackson [Sr.], got to put a woman. And Bill Berry and Bob Lucas and some of those guys says, we know the right woman you need. And that's Addie Wyatt and [U.S.] Congressman [Charlie] Hayes cause he was heavy in the United Food and Commercial Workers Union [UFCW]. And, and they have given Dr. King a lot of money, and they was -- and the Labor Movement was, cause the Labor Movement which used to be the Civil Rights Movement really cause they were fighting for workers. And so, so they said, Charlie said, "No, we cannot lose Addie. We worked too hard to get her on the Board of the AF of LCIO." [AFL-CIO]. And so Addie said, "I know a woman, Dr. King that you could, you can put with Jesse." He said, "Anybody that-- any woman that can stop Jesse from cussing." (laughter). So, so, they said, "Oh, I know the right one, Reverend Barrow, Reverend Willie Barrow." And, and sho nuf -- I had been working for him anyway. So he said, I think you made a good choice and that's why he appointed me and Jesse. And now me and Jesse have been together for thirty-six years.