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Coppin, Fanny Jackson (1837–21 January 1913), educator, civic and religious leader, and feminist, was born a slave in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Lucy Jackson. Her father’s name and the details of her early childhood are unknown. However, by the time she was age ten, her aunt Sarah Orr Clark had purchased her freedom, and Jackson went to live with relatives in New Bedford, Massachusetts. By 1851 she and her relatives had moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where Jackson was employed as a domestic by ...

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Hirsch, Emil Gustave (22 May 1851–07 January 1923), rabbi and civic leader, was born in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the son of Samuel Hirsch, a rabbi, and Louise Michols. In 1866 Hirsch immigrated with his family to Philadelphia, where his father had been called to the pulpit of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel. Upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 1872, he returned to Europe to pursue advanced work in philosophy and theology at the University of Berlin and then at the University of Leipzig, where he received a doctorate in 1876. At the same time, he embarked upon rabbinical training at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin, studying with such prominent liberal Jewish scholars as Abraham Geiger and Moritz Lazarus. Upon completion of his studies, Hirsch briefly served congregations in Baltimore (1877–1878) and Louisville (1878–1880), before being called to the prestigious pulpit of Sinai Congregation in Chicago, a position he held until his death. In 1878 he married Mathilda Einhorn in Louisville; her father was Rabbi ...

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Kimball, Heber Chase (14 June 1801–22 June 1868), religious leader and businessman, was born near Sheldon Village, Franklin County, Vermont, the son of Solomon F. Kimball, a blacksmith and farmer, and Anna Spaulding. Poorly educated, he farmed, herded sheep, blacksmithed, and manufactured potash during his youth. Crushed by the Jeffersonian embargo and the War of 1812, Kimball’s father resettled the family in West Bloomfield, New York. In 1820 Kimball moved to nearby Mendon to work in his older brother’s pottery business. In November 1822 he married Vilate Murray; they had ten children. Revivalism in Western New York led Kimball and his wife to join the Baptists in 1831....

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Malone, Sylvester (08 May 1821–29 December 1899), Catholic priest and community activist, was born in Trim, County Meath, Ireland, the son of Laurence Malone, a civil engineer and surveyor, and Marcella Martin. He received his early education in a classical academy directed by two Protestant schoolmasters who catered to a mixed clientele of Catholic and Protestant students. As a result, Malone later boasted that, in contrast to many Irish Catholics of his generation, his “early life was toned by [congenial] associations with non-Catholics.” In 1838 Malone met the Reverend ...

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Montgomery, Helen Barrett (31 July 1861–19 October 1934), Baptist church leader, civic reformer, and educator, was born in Kingsville, Ohio, the daughter of A. Judson Barrett and Emily Barrows, teachers. Her school years were spent in upstate New York, first in Lowville, then in Rochester. Her father, who she later said was a dominant influence in her life, left his teaching career to attend Rochester Theological Seminary, later assuming the pastorate of the Lake Avenue Baptist Church in Rochester....

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Morris, John Gottlieb (14 November 1803–10 October 1895), Lutheran pastor, entomologist, and Baltimore cultural leader, was born in York, Pennsylvania, the son of John Samuel Gottlieb Morris, a physician, and Barbara Myers. Raised in a pious middle-class household, Gottlieb, following his father’s death in 1808, lived much of his life in unusually close relationship to his mother and his brother, Charles. After studying at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) and graduating from Dickinson College in 1823, he studied theology at Princeton Seminary and at the infant Gettysburg Seminary. He married Eliza Hay in 1827; they had three children....

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Paul, Thomas (03 September 1773–13 April 1831), Baptist minister and African-American community leader, was born in Exeter, New Hampshire. The names of his parents are unknown. Converted and baptized at age sixteen, Paul began preaching when he was about twenty-eight and conducted an itinerant ministry. In 1804 he settled in Boston. He was ordained on 1 May 1805 at Nottingham West, New Hampshire, and later the same year married Catherine Waterhouse. The couple had three children....

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Walls, William Jacob (08 May 1885–23 April 1975), African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) bishop, civic leader, and author, African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) bishop, civic leader, and author, was born in Chimney Rock, Rutherford County, North Carolina, the son of Hattie Edgerton and Edward Walls. His father died when Walls was only eight years old, leaving Hattie Walls, with the help of relatives and friends, to support and provide sufficient education for Walls and his three younger sisters. In 1899, at age fourteen, he entered the ministry. He was licensed to preach at the Hopkins Chapel AMEZ Church in Asheville, North Carolina, and began as an evangelist. He was ordained as a deacon in 1903 and received full ministerial, or elder, orders in 1905. After attending Allen Industrial School in Asheville, he transferred to the AMEZ-supported Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, where he received a B.A. in 1908. Five years later he received a bachelor of divinity degree from the denomination’s Hood Theological Seminary. During 1921–1922 he studied philosophy and journalism at Columbia University. While in New York City Walls also studied the Bible at Union Theological Seminary, which was located near the university. Twenty years later, in 1941, he attained an M.A. in Christian education from the University of Chicago Divinity School....