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Black Missionary Baptist Ministers and the burden of the Great Commission.

There is a religious denomination comprised mostly of Blacks who refer to themselves as Missionary Baptists. Their origins trace to the biracial Baptist churches of the antebellum South.

The end of the Civil War delineates the time when many Blacks, former slaves, members of Baptist churches, departed to form independent churches. Some Blacks were members of Baptist churches because of missionary endeavors on plantations. In time, these Black Baptists believed that Christianity was an agent of uplift in their downtrodden condition, and the missionary impulse ingrained in them while in biracial churches directed them, particularly ministers, to pursue missionary activities. Their outreach was to their brethren whom they were convinced needed the gospel of salvation and the influence of Christianity in their life of freedom. This narrative reveals the missionary zeal, endeavors, and problems of Black Missionary Baptist ministers in Southwest Georgia as they sought to manifest the Great Commission.

Black Ministers and the Great Commission

For a brief time after the Civil War, Black and White Baptists in Southwest Georgia worshipped together in the same church. It was around this time, too, that the spirit of togetherness waned and Blacks withdrew from the biracial congregations. Scholars have offered several reasons for the departure of Blacks, notably, the continuation of subordination and the insult of segregated worship. Although subjected to discrimination, Blacks acquired an understanding of Baptist polity. Thus, at the time of their exodus from biracial congregations, they were well versed in Baptist doctrine and comfortable in their religious practice.

Blacks carried with them their Baptist beliefs and forged a denominational identity as Missionary Baptists in their independent churches. Mission was a fundamental feature of the Black Baptist church and was manifested in the evangelical outreach of believers to unbelievers to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Belief in missions stemmed from the Great Commission, the charge to make disciples of men. When Black Baptists transitioned to their independent churches, they brought with them the burden of the Great Commission. Leroy Fitts in A History of Black Baptists asserted that the Black Baptist church was born a missionary movement and the missionary motivation was innate. (1) This conclusion is quite believable. The missionary endeavor was imprinted in their minds while members in the biracial church. Indeed, Black Baptists, former slaves, now in independent churches, were largely products of missionary activities that took place on plantations. It was through missionary work that many slaves accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

In the State of Georgia, independent Black Baptist churches were not the only agents of missionary activity. After the exodus, Black Baptists had sought to fellowship with their White brethren in the Georgia Baptist Association, but found it expedient to form a distinct body. (2) The Missionary Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia organized in May 1870, in Augusta, Georgia, following a statewide invitation from the Ebenezer Baptist Association to form a state convention. Delegates at that meeting selected Rev. Frank Quarles of Atlanta as president, Rev. John A. James of Macon as vice president, Deacon George H. Dwelle of Americus as secretary, and Rev. William J. White of Augusta as treasurer. (3) The primary purpose of the Missionary Baptist Convention was to "take charge of the entire Missionary work in the state " (4)

In the last half of the nineteenth century, Black Missionary Baptist ministers (hereafter referred to as Baptist ministers) were concerned about the salvation of souls, especially those of former slaves who had not received the gospel. As Missionary Baptists, they believed it was imperative to carry the gospel to their people. Imbued with a passion for missions, Baptist ministers looked upon Southwest Georgia as a vineyard in which to labor to fulfill the charge of the Great Commission. Their moment resides in the past.

This narrative examines several questions related to the efforts of Baptist ministers in making disciples of men:

* What can be said about those Baptist ministers and their quest to spread the gospel?

* How successful were they in proselytizing the gospel in Southwest Georgia?

* What sources of support did they rely on to engage in missionary activity?

* How extensive was their missionary work, and what obstacles did they encounter?

* Did Baptist ministers live up to their namesake of Missionary Baptist?

This glimpse of history provides an opportunity to gauge Baptist ministers' fidelity to the cause of missions, missionary zeal, and outcomes of their efforts to manifest the Great Commission among Blacks in Southwest Georgia.

Black Ministers and the Missionary Endeavor

Blacks who departed biracial Baptist congregations embraced missions as work incumbent upon the church and its members to perform. Southwest Georgia's Black ministers considered missions a duty and responsibility and labored to make disciples of men.

Few Black Missionary Baptist church records from the last half of the nineteenth century have survived, making it very difficult to construct a record of Black Baptist church missionary activities. However, approximately twenty Black Baptist associations (some are mentioned in this narrative) organized in Southwest Georgia during this time. These associations held membership in the Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, supported its mission activities, and appointed ministers to engage in missionary work. Association minutes from that time enlighten about Baptist ministers' commitment to missionary pursuits and the challenges encountered: These minutes verify that ministers of the gospel were the vanguard of missionary activities and associations were a driving force. An association was the collective voice of many Missionary Baptist churches, and depended on them to provide financial support. Baptist ministers' entrenched belief in missions found expression in words such as the spread of the gospel as "indispensably necessary," (5) and the "cause of missions claims our highest consideration. There is no higher engagement in heaven or on earth." (6) It was this conviction that prompted them to formulate strategies for domestic missions in order to spread the gospel, which could "save dying men and lead poor sinners to Christ." (7) Indeed, Southwest Georgia, having so many just up from slavery, was a field white for the harvest.

That missions weighed heavy on the hearts of Southwest Georgia's Baptist ministers is also evident in words out of the Thomasville Baptist Association: "The church is to evangelize the world. She is told to preach the gospel to every creature. The church is told to teach all nations. When the church fails to do this, she fails to discharge her most sacred duty for which she was organized." (8) Similar pronouncements appear throughout association minutes; however, ministers were not alone in their missionary zeal. Annie Williams' welcome address to delegates at the 1895 annual meeting of the Southwestern Baptist Association illustrates the broader commitment: "Let us take the Missionary flag and write upon it God's liberty, Missionary Baptists. Let us wave it in the sky and say, 'Hold the fort for we are coming,' and when we die, we want the missionary flag wrapped around us and bury us in honors of war for we are the Missionary Baptists." (9)

Black Baptists' emphasis on domestic missions paralleled their passion for education. Few Blacks emerged from slavery possessing literary skills. Seeking to overcome this deficit, they seized opportunities to become literate. Similarly, there was also a dearth of biblical knowledge among the people because not all slaves were beneficiaries of missionary activities. For Baptist ministers, the spread of the gospel had a twofold purpose for Blacks. It was essential to salvation and redemption of the lost soul, and in view of their previous status, Christianity could instill values and influence moral behavior. (10)

Baptist ministers embraced missions as efforts in this behalf and brought them into compliance with the charge of the Great Commission. Spreading the gospel to their people became a priority for Southwest Georgia's Baptist ministers and the associations to which they belonged. Having appropriated the title of Missionary Baptist, it was important to live up to the expectations of that banner. Heeding the denomination's high calling, Baptist ministers proclaimed that no man is worthy of the name Missionary Baptist who will neither send nor carry the gospel. Rather, he ought to be called Freewill, Primitive, Pedo, or something other than Missionary. (11) Ministers at an annual meeting of the Kiokee Baptist Association articulated the essence of Missionary Baptist: "The duty is too imperative, the value of perishing souls too priceless, the salvation of the world is too important for us to look back or halt for a moment the great work committed to our hands.'" (12) To be Missionary Baptist was to participate in spreading the gospel to those untouched by the word of God.

The word missionary also applied to ministers selected to evangelize. (13) Baptist ministers entered the field, often referred to as "destitute regions," and preached the gospel. Destitute regions were areas where there was no organized worship service or the presence of a preacher to proclaim the gospel. Baptist ministers viewed a destitute region as a place where sinners were perishing for lack of the gospel. In the last half of the nineteenth century, there were many such locations in Southwest Georgia. Thus, domestic missions were tailor-made for those dark places to be set ablaze by the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. (14)

The Mount Zion Weston Missionary Baptist Association rendered a partial missionary job description when it charged Rev. O. C. Kelly to travel the association's bounds to "build up the broken-down places, ordain ministers, license preachers, ordain deacons to administer the Lord's Supper, and hold prayer meetings and all other business he can do in his power." (15) Converting souls and baptizing, organizing new congregations and Sunday schools, soliciting money to sustain missionary work, and preaching the gospel bear inclusion.

Association practice was to appoint a minister from its ranks as missionary for a year. (16) The appointment occurred during the annual meeting, and the appointee was accountable for performing the work and giving an account of missionary activities. Of course, the appointment of a missionary depended on an association's ability to support mission work. There were times when an association was financially unable to compensate a minister and consequently, no missionary entered the field. Indeed, the frequent cry of "send more money for missions" reverberated across the Southwest Georgia landscape. (17)

Association minutes reveal the labors of Black Baptist ministers in their efforts to comply with the Great Commission:

* Rev. Elbert Forrest was appointed missionary for the Thomasville association in 1874. He reported traveling 440 miles, preaching 16 sermons, baptizing 3 converts, attending 3 prayer meetings, visiting the sick, and marrying one couple. (18)

* Appointed missionary in 1885, at a salary of $12.50 per month and what donations he could secure while in the field, Rev. D. J. Slaughter commenced work on March 1 and was in the field for 7 months. Straughter reported $23.35 collected from churches and $6.57 from Sunday schools. Contributions from unions were $2.40, Ochlocknee; $16.50, Quitman; and $9.85, Liberty. His travel expenses totaled $32.75. Missionary work included 36 sermons preached, 33 members added to church rolls, 23 lectures, 11 Sunday schools organized, 4 churches dedicated, 101 new Sunday school scholars, 2 ministers ordained, and 1, 572 miles traveled. (19) Straughter confessed that there were times when it appeared that he would be compelled to leave the field, but found courage knowing that all things are possible. (20)

* G. Givens submitted a missionary report to the Kiokee association in 1891. Givens' missionary labor was 123 sermons, 48 lectures, 29 prayer meetings, 2 ministers and 5 deacons ordained, 42 funerals, 22 visits to the sick, 10 couples married, and 5,087 miles traveled. (21)

* Rev. J. W. Neal engaged in missionary work for the Mount Zion association from July 1, 1893 to September 30, 1893. His report identified 14 churches visited, 30 sermons preached, and $33.28 collected. (22) Neal traveled a total of 636 miles, visited 217 families, wrote 51 letters, and baptized 102 persons. (23)

* In 1898 Elder M. Young reported to the Thomasville association 146 miles traveled, 36 sermons preached, 4 conferences held, 23 baptized, and 6 couples married. Young's report also reflected church contributions: $.50 from New Oaky Grove, $.70 from New Zion, $1.00 from Richland, $3.05 from Centenary, $2.10 from Simmons Hill, $4.39 from Beulah Baptist, $.56 from New Macedonia, $3.00 from Liberty Baptist, and $4.05 from Aucilla. (24)

A Zeal for Missions, But a Lack of Money

Although Baptist ministers were zealous for missions, they encountered obstacles that curtailed their missionary efforts. The stark reality that "missions are much needed among us, but the objects of this work are not carried out in our midst" (25) describes the anxiety about the inability to place missionaries in the field. Money to facilitate missionary work was not in abundance among Missionary Baptists. Although enthusiastic, Baptist ministers struggled to engage in mission activities because they did not have enough financial support. Associations as the primary catalysts for missions experienced problems paying ministers to perform missionary work. The association was the tent under which a number of churches gathered, and the organization depended upon local churches and their members for financial support. The relationship was unmistakable: mission work could not be conducted without money, and that money had to come from church members. (26)

Exasperated with the meager support of missions by church members, brethren in the Mount Moriah association observed that they were willing to spend money for all other purposes, but would refrain from sending money for the cause of missions. (27) Deliberating further on the matter, they asked, "Shall we as missionaries abandon this most needed of all causes? How can we perform the command of our Savior in carrying the gospel to all nations without the aid of the Christians"? (28) To make manifest the title of Missionary Baptist, associations constantly pleaded for member churches to increase their monetary support for missionaries. (29) That the plea was repetitious at association meetings and informed church members', support of the endeavor was altogether insufficient. The Macedonia association's Committee on Missions reluctantly informed its constituents that financial distress prevented the appointment of a missionary for the current year. (30) The statement, "Our missionaries have to evacuate the field on account of mission moneys so small," (31) describes the frustration of the Thomasville brethren. Elsewhere in Southwest Georgia, it was noted that domestic mission efforts were severely constrained and suffering for the want of money. (32)

Ministers in the Mount Moriah association unequivocally placed the blame for their failure to engage in missionary work on church members calling to their attention that it was because of them that "we have been compelled to suspend that much needed branch of our work." (33) Finally, an assessment of the state of missions by ministers in the Benevolence association returned the conclusion that the mission cause was in a deplorable condition, but that the remedy lay in mere time and money. (34)

At times associations were able to employ missionaries, but those appointments were intermittent. Baptist ministers were loyal to missions, but a lack of money was a recurring impediment that prevented their placement in the field on a continual basis. In 1875 the Thomasville association's Committee on Missions reported with regret that there was much destitution in the region, (35) but in view of the financial distress, did not feel at liberty to recommend the appointment of a missionary for the year. (36) The missionary burden shifted to pastors who were to commit one Sabbath out of the month and take the gospel into destitute areas. For a few years the association's ability to appoint a missionary remained unchanged. However, in 1881, there came a jubilant announcement of assistance for missionary work from the Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York, and the American Baptist Publication Society of Philadelphia. (37)

Ministers in the Camilla Baptist Association also sought to comply with the Great Commission. However, like their brethren, they experienced a lack of money. Those who formed the Committee on Missions in 1886 concluded that church members "do not have this grand and glorious cause at heart as they should have." (38) Concerned about the state of missionary activity, association leaders urged pastors to impress upon their congregations the seriousness of the matter, to take up quarterly collections for missions, and ask church members to set aside five or ten cents every three months for the cause. Five years in the making, the pleas appeared to have struck the mark. In 1891 the Committee on Missions hailed the progress made among the people and announced: "We rejoice to say that our people's eyes are opened to this great fact that the Master's Kingdom is to be built up on earth and the dark world brought to the light of knowledge through the channel of mission." (39) Alas, the missionary enthusiasm diminished and by 1893, the association was able to appoint only a half-time missionary. (40)

When it was time for the report on missions during the 1886 Macedonia Baptist Association annual meeting, the response was there had been no missionary in the field for the previous year, so there was nothing to be brought to the body concerning missions. (41) The Southwestern association's Committee on Missions recognized the impact that the lack of money had on missions and concluded that "the interest in missions is languishing." (42) Nevertheless, Baptist ministers were determined to continue missionary activities, buoyed by the fact that there remained a great field of labor and a large number of people who had not had the advantages of the gospel preached to them. (43)

More Money for Missions, Please

Over the years associations proposed various schemes to secure money for missionary activities. What appeared to be reasonable requests often went unheeded by church members. In its 1874 annual meeting the Southwestern association resolved that every pastor preach a missionary sermon once every three months and take up a collection for missions. (44) The Fowl Town association adopted a resolution in 1875 that mandated pastors to collect fifty cents annually from each male member of the congregation and twenty-five cents from females to support mission work. (45)

The 1876 minutes bear the disappointing news that pastors and members had failed to comply with the resolution. The same was true in 1877, and the brethren sighed that the plea to support missions remained unheeded. From the Macedonia association came the recommendation that licentiates fulfill the role of missionary at least one Sabbath each month. (46) This appeared to be sound logic, given that licentiates were not pastors, and ostensibly, had the time to engage in missionary work. Association minutes provided no information about the work of licentiates and their impact on the missionary endeavor.

In 1882 ministers of the Southwestern association recommended that each pastor preach a missionary sermon twice a year and take up an offering for missions. (47) In 1886 the Thomasville association pleaded with its member churches to "give more liberally for the mission work." (48) The brethren appealed to its ministers in 1889 to make an earnest effort to raise at least ten cents from each member for the cause of missions. (49) In 1896 this association recommended that its member churches organize missionary societies whose purpose was to raise money for mission work. (50) Associations' pleas for more money for missions echoed across Southwest Georgia with the hope that the words would reach the minds of church members and become "as daggers to their hearts and compel them to do more to help roll this great wheel of Zion." (51) Yet, the plea to send more money for missions continued to persist in the annual meetings.

Associations had no fixed salary schedule for missionary compensation. What missionaries received for their service fluctuated across associations, ministers, and years. (52) Association minutes do provide insight into amounts of money churches contributed for missions:

* In 1883 the Macedonia association collected $2.75 from its 16 member churches for domestic missions. (53)

* In 1884, 25 churches in the Camilla association gave $20.85 for missions. (54)

* The 36 churches in the Fowl Town association sent $41.05 to the 1886 annual meeting for missions. In 1886, the 46 churches in the Thomasville sent a total of $27.10 for missions. (55)

* Prior to the 1887 annual meeting, 13 churches in the Gum Creek association sent $23.20 for missions. (56)

* In 1889 the Southwestern association's 75 member churches collected $39.74 for missions. The 1892 finance report for the Mount Zion Weston association showed the meager amount of $1.55 collected for missions, although there were 16 churches in the association for that year. (57)

* The Little River association was comprised of 17 churches, which sent $4.05 to the 1897 annual meeting. (58)

These examples make clear the difficulty associations encountered in their efforts to appoint missionaries to engage in mission work. At the arbitrary rate of ten dollars per month for a missionary, associations would not be able to employ a minister from church contributions alone. The examples of church contributions given also make true an observation, perhaps castigation, from the leaders of the Southwestern association. These ministers declared that many professed followers of Christ believe that they have discharged their duties when they have compensated the preacher and settled other church obligations. These brethren expounded further, noting that "they (church members) contribute nothing to Sunday schools, nothing for the poor, nothing to missions. Do they know their duty and do it not? Or, do they thus cultivate the spirit of selfishness in ignorance of the requirements of Christianity? There are churches in this association that send up nothing for missions." (59) The brethren finalized the admonishment by asking why such supreme indifference to what all well-informed Christians must acknowledge as one of their primary duties. (60)

Other Obstacles to Mission Work

Lack of money to support missionary endeavors was the most formidable obstacle, but not the only one that contributed to difficulty in placing and sustaining missionaries in the field. Another problem was ministers who did not faithfully discharge their missionary responsibility. The Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Association's leaders framed the problem: "Most of the missionarys [sic] who are put upon the mission field return to their respective authorities with a statement not a soul converted, not a school organized, not a church organized, not a call for his return upon the field, not a candidate baptized, not a dime in his purse, and not even a report to give for the people which he had visited." (61) Dereliction of missionary duty was not a symptom of one association, as most experienced its impact.

The Thomasville association's executive committee employed Rev. Joshua Gonaky on December 1, 1873, as missionary at the rate of twenty-five dollars per month. The committee asked for a report of activities three months into his tenure. The committee deemed the report unsatisfactory and demanded that he relinquish the title and authority of missionary. The committee then employed Rev. Elbert Forrest. (62) Called upon to render an account of missionary activity at the March 20, 1874 executive committee meeting, Forrest's report did not meet expectations and he experienced the same fate as his predecessor.

When the Mount Zion association met in 1885, mission committee members no doubt expressed chagrin when they reported that "our missionary, DeGraffenried, has failed to make any report at all." (63) Similarly, the Mount Zion association employed William Nichols as missionary from November 20, 1892 to October 6, 1893. Nichols' report revealed a mere seven sermons preached at six churches and contributions of $19.45. (64)

Support of missions by Baptist ministers was not limited to the geographical location of an association's churches. Tb the extent possible, associations supported the Black Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, which also embraced the obligation to send missionaries into the field. From their meager treasuries, associations allocated money to the convention to support missionaries. (65)

Association minutes reveal the presence of missionaries appointed by the convention attending annual meetings. (66) These persons were also required to give an account of their activities. Some convention-appointed missionaries faithfully discharged their duties, while others were not as diligent. The 1882 annual meeting of the Fowl Town association provided the occasion for the brethren to acknowledge the good work of a convention missionary. (67) In contrast, Southwestern association minutes inform of the failure of a convention missionary to embrace the responsibility. (68) Brethren of the Thomasville association, too, experienced disenchantment with their state convention missionary, Rev. J. T. Ibrner. Their observations led to the conclusion that he was unqualified and unacceptable. (69) Turner's missionary shortcomings are not revealed, however; association ministers resolved to ask the Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia to terminate him from the assignment. (70)

Having confidence in a minister to accomplish the work of a missionary weighed on the minds of association leaders. No doubt, ministers' failure after appointment to live up to the missionary responsibility was not uncommon. Having a minister who would perform the duties was a concern in the Southwestern association. This association had the largest church membership and collected more money than its sister unions. (71) Yet, this association struggled to place missionaries in the field. Finding a minister suitable to employ as a missionary occupied the minds of the executive board in 1874, given their hesitancy evident in the statement, "as soon as a good man can be found that he be put in the field as a missionary." (72)

Disillusioned by ministers' failures to fulfill the missionary obligation, brethren in the Mount Zion association asked that, "no more missionaries be ordained or appointed." (73) Their declaration emanated from ministers' lack of fidelity to mission work. While a significant amount of blame rests with ministers for not embracing their missionary duties, association leaders cannot be exonerated of culpability in the matter. Black Baptist associations engaged in the practice of loaning money to delegates and churches that experienced financial exigency. The loan amounts were often never recovered. This practice had an effect on missions and is evident in the 1875 Southwestern association's executive board's admission that because of the way "money has been so arranged" and "being lent out we have failed to get a missionary in the field." (74)

Another factor that interfered with the success of mission work was the missionary's inability to reach the destitute areas. Elder Elbert Forrest alluded to this obstacle in defense of what the Thomasville brethren perceived as a lackluster missionary performance. He asserted in his presentation to the board that it was quite inconvenient making a way into the destitute regions. (75) Forrest invoked the problem of access--it was not easy to reach those who needed to hear the gospel. Primary modes of transportation at the time were train, horse, wagon, and walking. Minutes do not disclose how missionaries proceeded to carry out their charge or the personal transportation resources that were available to them. At the time, railroads provided transportation to major towns of Southwest Georgia, but reaching settlements of Blacks presented another problem. Indeed, missionaries utilizing all the means of transportation would still encounter difficulties reaching Black enclaves. Hence, even with the best of intentions, location and means of transportation stifled missionary efforts to spread the gospel.

Conclusion

Tb Baptist ministers in the latter half of the nineteenth century, spreading the gospel was not an option and missionary endeavor was the vehicle to accomplish the task. They took seriously the words, "to spread the gospel of Christ is the object for which the church was established. Tb send the gospel should be our pleasure as well as our duty." (76) For Baptist ministers, there was no line separating the church and missions. Mission was woven into being a Christian. In fact, mission was central to Missionary Baptists' identity. Tb be Missionary Baptist was to be associated with missionary endeavors. To spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and to evangelize the field of humans untouched by the word was to Missionary Baptist as stripes are to a zebra. Without stripes, there is no zebra. Without missions, there is no Missionary Baptist.

"There are many dark places in Georgia where the gospel of Jesus Christ has not yet been preached" (77) was a compelling reason for Baptist ministers to embark upon missions in Southwest Georgia. For Baptist ministers, no line separated the church and missions. Baptist ministers in Southwest Georgia experienced success and disappointment in their missionary endeavor. Foremost, these missionaries accomplished the great work of leading many to salvation during a difficult time. With success, there is also failure--as Baptist ministers recognized that there was still more that could be done. Although the Southwestern association brethren were glad to report that something was being done for missions, they acknowledged that much more was needed. (78) Baptist ministers were at times pleased with their missionary efforts. At other times, they were disappointed because of what missionaries actually accomplished compared to what could have and should have been done. (79) Given the miles traveled, individuals baptized, plans formulated, prayer meetings, and sermons to advance the cause of missions, Baptist ministers continued to see the need to preach to those who were lost and in a ruined condition. (80) Although Baptist ministers in Southwest Georgia encountered difficulties placing missionaries in the field, they remained committed to spreading the gospel.

What then can be said about Southwest Georgia's Black Missionary Baptist ministers and the gospel of Jesus Christ? That they were zealous for the Lord? That they were true to the cause? That they did the best they could?

If there should ever come a time when Southwest Georgia's Black Baptist ministers are asked to give an account of their missionary stewardship, a fitting response would parallel that given by Elder M. Young in his report to the Thomasville association in 1898: "I have done what I could, not what I desired." (81) In like manner, the Black Missionary Baptist ministers' reply: we have done what we could, not what we desired,

Notes

(1) Leroy Fitts, A History of Black Baptists (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1985), 109.

(2) Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia minutes, 1870, 1.

(3) Ibid, 3.

(4) Ibid, 16.

(5) Mount Moriah Baptist Association minutes, 1887, 8.

(6) Benevolence Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1892, 6.

(7) Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1895, 9.

(8) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1884, 9.

(9) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1895, 25.

(10) For a discussion on the impact of slavery on Blacks' humanity, see James D. Tyms, The Rise of Religious Education Among Negro Baptists (New York: Exposition Press, 1965), 128-129.

(11) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1892, 24.

(12) Kiokee Baptist Association minutes, 1892, 17.

(13) Black Baptist associations in Southwest Georgia selected a minister to perform missionary work for the associational year. Sometimes when more than one minister was appointed. Selection of more than one minister as missionary during the year occurred in the Thomasville association when dissatisfaction caused a minister to be replaced.

(14) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1888, 8.

(15) Mount Zion Weston Baptist Association minutes, 1895, 11.

(16) See Mount Moriah Baptist Association minutes for 1895, 8, and the Little River Baptist Association minutes, 1897, 14. An appointed missionary could be relieved of the responsibility for unsatisfactory performance.

(17) See Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1873, 8; Camilla Baptist Association minutes, 1884, 9; Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1884, 9.

(18) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1874, 4.

(19) Ibid, 1885, 14.

(20) Ibid.

(21) Kiokee Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1891, 12.

(22) Rev. Neal visited several churches multiple times. For example, Neal preached five sermons at Oaky Grove Baptist Church.

(23) Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1893, 9.

(24) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1898, 15.

(25) Chattahoochee River Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1892, 7.

(26) Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1885, 11.

(27) Mount Moriah Baptist Association minutes, 1887, 8.

(28) Ibid.

(29) Flint River Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1885, 8.

(30) Macedonia Baptist Association minutes, 1876, 5.

(31) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1882, 11.

(32) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1891, 27.

(33) Mount Moriah Baptist Association minutes, 1887, 8.

(34) Benevolence Baptist Association minutes, 1893, 6.

(35) Destitution was a term used by Baptist ministers that identified the condition of people living in a location where the gospel had not been preached.

(36) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1875, 5.

(37) Ibid, 1881, 9.

(38) Camilla Baptist Association minutes, 1886, 8.

(39) Ibid, 1891, 9.

(40) Camilla Baptist Association minutes, 1893, 16.

(41) Macedonia Baptist Association minutes, 1886, 8.

(42) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1891, 27.

(43) Ibid, 1873, 7.

(44) Ibid, 1874, 8.

(45) Fowl Town Baptist Association minutes, 1876, 4.

(46) Macedonia Baptist Association minutes, 1878, 3.

(47) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1882, 10.

(48) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1886, 9.

(49) Ibid, 1889, 9.

(50) Ibid, 1896, 22.

(51) Union Missionary Baptist Convention minutes, 1882, 8.

(52) The Thomasville association employed a missionary in 1873 at the rate of $25.00 per month. The association employed Rev. Joshua Gonaky in the amount of $21.00 in 1882. The Macedonia association stipulated a salary of $15.00 per month for its missionary in 1883. In 1885 the Thomasville association appointed a missionary at the salary of $12.50 plus any donations secured in the field.

(53) Macedonia Baptist Association minutes, 1883, 10.

(54) Camilla Baptist Association minutes, 1884, 12.

(55) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1886, 9.

(56) Gum Creek Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1887, 6.

(57) Mount Zion Weston Baptist Association minutes, 1892, 10.

(58) Little River Baptist Association minutes, 1897, 16.

(59) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1891, 27.

(60) Ibid.

(61) Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1886, 11.

(62) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1874, 4.

(63) Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1885, 11.

(64) Ibid, 1893, 9. Nichols' report of activities for a year pales in comparison to Rev. J. W. Neal's three months on assignment report.

(65) For examples of association contributions to the Missionary Baptist Convention, see Camilla Baptist Association minutes, 1882, 7, and Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1890, 11.

(66) See Camilla Baptist Association minutes 1882, 2; Gum Creek Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1884, 6; Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1891, 3.

(67) Fowl Town Baptist Association minutes, 1882, 10.

(68) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1882, 13.

(69) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1891, 8.

(70) Ibid.

(71) Five associations' financial reports were compared for 1885: Camilla $171.45, Fowl Town $232.98, Mount Zion $75.29, Southwestern $538.10, and Thomasville $235.25.

(72) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1874, 10.

(73) Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1886, 11.

(74) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1875, 5.

(75) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1874, 4;

(76) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1884, 15.

(77) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1889, 9.

(78) Southwestern Baptist Association minutes, 1892, 24.

(79) Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1886, 11.

(80) Mount Zion Weston Missionary Baptist Association minutes, 1896, 12.

(81) Thomasville Baptist Association minutes, 1898, 15.

Hang Zou is a senior lecturer at Dalian Polytechnic University in China and visiting research scholar in the College of Education at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Warren Hope is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling and Ph.D. Program Coordinator at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.
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Author:Zou, Hang; Hope, Warren C.
Publication:Baptist History and Heritage
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2015
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