November 2017 – Celebrating Our Rich Shared History
Annika Pfluger | Sep 10, 2018 Albany UU Inclusivity Team logo

November 2017 Inclusivity Team Order of Service Insert

Download the PDF of this insert. (full text below)

Celebrating Our Rich Shared History

To learn more about our shared history with these and many more historical Unitarian Universalists, visit the Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography at

“Bury Me In a Free Land” by Francis Ellen Watkins Harper

I ask no monument, proud and high, To arrest the gaze of passers-by; All that my yearning spirit craves, Is bury me not in a land of slaves.

CREDIT LINE: From the biographies in the Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography, an on-line resource of the Unitarian Universalist History & Heritage Society

Joseph Jordan (1842-1901)
Joseph Jordan was the first African American to be ordained as a minister by the Universalist denomination. He founded the First Universalist Church of Norfolk, Virginia in 1887 and initiated an educational effort for African American children in Norfolk and vicinity. The missions and schools that were his legacy served thousands of children and families in eastern Virginia over the period of a century.

Fannie Barrier Williams (1855-1944)
Fannie Barrier Williams was an African American teacher, social activist, clubwoman, lecturer, and journalist who worked for social justice, civil liberties, education, and employment opportunities, especially for black women. She was a member of All Souls (Unitarian) Church in Chicago. Williams believed that African American women needed to band together to gain confidence, to protect each other “against the libelous attacks upon their characters,” and to teach literacy and domestic and job skills. Williams was a lead organizer for the 1899 NACW convention held in Chicago.

Don Speed Smith Goodloe (1878-1959)
Don Speed Smith Goodloe was a founding principal of what is now Bowie State University, and was the first African American graduate of Meadville Theological School, the Unitarian seminary in Meadville, PA. Although there is no record of Goodloe’s religious affiliation after Meadville, his religious leanings did have an effect on his children. One of his sons, Donald B. Goodloe, was an active member at All-Souls Church, Unitarian, in Washington D.C. And one of his students joined the Goodloe Memorial Unitarian Universalist Congregation.

John Bird Wilkins (ca.1849-1938)
newspaperman. For a year or two he was a Unitarian minister. Little is known of his early life. He was probably born into slavery in Mississippi before the Civil War when official records for blacks were unknown and personal records were often lost as family members were bought, sold, and separated. Most of the details of his early family life and education are either tentative or non-existent.

Thomas E. Wise (b.1868)
Thomas E. Wise was the second African American Universalist minister. After serving with the first African American Universalist minister, Joseph Jordan, at the First Universalist Church and school of Norfolk, Virginia, he founded two other Universalist missions in southeastern Virginia. In 1894, prominent Black citizens of Suffolk, twenty miles from Norfolk, called upon Wise to establish a Universalist mission and school in Suffolk like the one he served in Norfolk

Francis Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911)
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was an African American writer, lecturer, and political activist, who promoted abolition, civil rights, women’s rights, and temperance. She helped found or held high office in several national progressive organizations. Harper first became acquainted with Unitarians before the war, due to their support of abolition and the Underground Railroad. Her friend Peter H. Clark, a noted abolitionist and educator in Ohio, had become a Unitarian in 1868. When Harper and her daughter settled in Philadelphia in 1870, she joined the First Unitarian Church.

David Hilliard Eaton (1932-1992)
David Hilliard Eaton (1932-1992) was the first African American to serve as senior minister in a large Unitarian Universalist church. During his tenure, All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, DC became a center of community service and social action, and was the first congregation within the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to achieve a racially balanced black and white membership.

Peter Humphries Clark (1829-1925)
Peter Humphries Clark, was one of Ohio’s most effective African American abolitionist writers and speakers. He was recognized as the nation’s foremost African American public school educator and was a path-breaking political activist who empowered black voters in Ohio electoral politics. In 1871, Clark, a member of the First Congregational Church (Unitarian) of Cincinnati, represented the congregation at the National Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches in New York City. Clark may have been the first African American to represent a member church at a national Unitarian meeting.

Want to Discover More About Our UU History?

Find the books listed below in the Unitarian Universalist Association Bookstore at:

Black Pioneers in a White Denomination: Third Edition
Mark D. Morrison-Reed

The Selma Awakening: How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Changed Unitarian Universalism
Mark D. Morrison-Reed

Darkening the Doorways: Black Trailblazers and Missed Opportunities in Unitarian Universalism
Mark D. Morrison-Reed

Southern Witness: Unitarians and Universalists in the Civil Rights
Era Gordon D. Gibson

The Arc of the Universe Is Long: Unitarian Universalists, Anti-Racism and the Journey from Calgary
Leslie Takahashi, James (Chip) Roush, Leon Spencer

Black Prophetic Fire
Cornel West, Editor: Christa Buschendorf