Ned Sullivan Ashton’s 48-year long service began as a pastor and ended as a pastor of both small and large churches in North American Division. In between he was an academy Bible teacher, conference and union president, leading the church through difficult years of growth with organizational and social challenges.
Charles Bowles, a prominent African American Baptist preacher in New England during the first half of the nineteenth century, reportedly proclaimed the Second Advent message near the end of his life (1843).
Thomas H. Branch and Henrietta Paterson Branch were some of the first African Americans to be sent as missionaries to Africa by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, and were pioneers of the church’s work among African Americans in Colorado and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Lambert Wellington Browne was a pioneer missionary to Sierra Leone.
Geneva Bryan, a teacher and nurse, was the first black woman to serve as a General Conference departmental officer.
Eva B. Dykes, the first African American female to complete requirements for a Ph.D., was a respected scholar and educator at Howard University and Oakwood College (now a university), where she founded the school’s renowned choral ensemble, the Aeolians.
W. H. Edwards was the 14th treasurer of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and held several other positions of high responsibility in financial and business administration during his 52 years of denominational service.
Elijah B. Gaskell, the seventh treasurer of the General Conference (1873-1874), also contributed to the work of the church as a canvasser and as a missionary in South Africa.
Jessie Dorsey Green was an Adventist educator who, with Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, cofounded the Voorhees Industrial Training School, today Voorhees College, a historically black liberal arts college in Denmark, South Carolina.
William Hawkins Green headed the North American Negro Department of the General Conference from 1918 to 1928 and was the first African American to hold that position.
C. Dunbar Henri, pastor, evangelist and administrator, served as a missionary in Africa for more than two decades and as a vice president of the General Conference (1973-1980).
Dr. James M. Hyatt was the first Adventist missionary to work in Sierra Leone and the church’s first black missionary to enter both the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana) and Nigeria.
A. B. Oyen’s service with the Seventh-day Adventist church lasted only about 13 years but it took a wide variety of forms including editor, college teacher, publishing house manager, and secretary of the General Conference.
James Elisha Patterson was the first black Seventh-day Adventist to go out from the United States as a foreign missionary.
Louis B. Reynolds was a pastor, editor of Message magazine, associate Sabbath School director and then field secretary at the General Conference, and an historian of the African American Adventist experience.
Thomas Milton Rowe pastored several large urban churches and, in 1947, became the first president of the Central States Mission (soon thereafter Central States Conference).
William Henry Sebastian, a pioneer of the black Adventist work, joined the work of the Southern Missionary Society led J. Edson White in 1900, and later ministered in the Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Virginia conferences.
Harold Douglas Singleton, Sr., served as a Seventh-day Adventist minister, editor, church administrator, and regional conference pioneer.
Almira S. Steele, educator and philanthropist, was founder of the Steele Home for Needy Children, regarded as the South’s first orphanage for African Americans.
Ruth Janetta Temple, M.D., was the first Black graduate from what is today the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, the first Black female physician licensed to practice in the state of California, and a lifelong public health crusader.