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Eri L. Barr was a Sabbatarian Adventist leader and minister and the first Seventh-day Adventist minister of color.
Charles Decatur Brooks (universally known as “C. D. Brooks”) was one of the most successful evangelists of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and as speaker-director of Breath of Life Ministries for twenty-three years was a trailblazer of religious media.
Lucille Spence, whose refusal for treatment at an Adventist hospital was a catalyst for the organization of regional conferences, was born to Harriett and Jesse Spence on September 22, 1877, in Petersburg, Virginia. Lucy’s parents were both born into slavery in southern Virginia in the 1850s and emancipated with the millions of other African Americans during and at the close of the Civil War. The Spences had eight children in all: five daughters, including Lucy, and three sons. Harriett Spence raised the children, while Jesse Spence made a living as a fireman for a railroad company.
William Foy was a black Free Will Baptist minister who had religious visions and shared them at Millerite gatherings from 1842-1845. Seventh-day Adventists hold that he was the first of three individuals to receive divine visions during this period, followed by Hazen Foss and Ellen G. White.
Frederick Carnes Cohen was a pioneering Jewish Adventist evangelist, administrator, and author in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was probably on his arrival to America that Frederick changed his surname to Gilbert.
Alyne Dumas Lee, world-renowned African American lyric soprano soloist, was born on March 22, 1903, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her parents, Joseph and Clora Dumas, a common laborer and domestic, respectively, were Seventh-day Adventists. When Alyne was five, her mother moved the family to Cincinnati, Ohio, and then at age nine to Chicago, Illinois. Although they lived in poverty, Clora Dumas ensured that, at an early age, her promising daughter developed her musical abilities. By age eight, Alyne was her local church’s organist, and at thirteen, she had obtained a musical diploma and begun teaching piano.
Marcus B. Lichtenstein, the first Jewish convert to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was born in Poland in the 1840s or 1850s—although the precise date remains uncertain. His parents were Orthodox Jews, and he was reared in that tradition. After the “January Uprising” (1863-1865) and subsequent unrest in Poland, Lichtenstein immigrated to the United States in the late 1860s.
Frederika House was the youngest and only single person elected as an officer of the General Conference, and one of only three women to serve as a GC treasurer and GC officer.