Alexander Crummell, Afrikan Pastor, Professor and Afrikan Nationalist


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Alexander Crummell, Afrikan Pastor, Professor and Afrikan Nationalist

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Alexander Crummell, Afrikan Pastor, Professor and Afrikan Nationalist

  1. 1. Page 1 of 4 Alexander Crummell Alexander Crummell (March 3, 1819, New York City, September 10, 1898, Red Bank, New Jersey) was a pioneering *Afrikan pastor, professor and Afrikan Nationalist.*We of the New Afrikan Independence Movement spell "Afrikan" with a "k" because Afrikanlinguists originally used "k" to indicate the "c" sound in the English language. We use the term"New Afrikan," instead of Black, to define ourselves as an Afrikan people who have been forciblytransplanted to a new land and formed into a "new Afrikan nation" in North America. But ourstruggle behind the walls did not begin in America. Alexander Crummell
  2. 2. Page 2 of 4 Born to a former slave, Boston Crummell, and freeborn Charity Hicks, Alexander Crummell was seemingly destined to become an abolitionist. According to Crummells own account, his paternal grandfather was an ethnic Temne born in Sierra Leone, and was captured into slavery when he was around 13 years old.[1] Both parents were active abolitionists, and the first African American newspaper, Freedoms Journal, was published within their home. Boston Crummell also instilled in his son a sense of unity with those blacks still living in Africa. His parents influence and these early experiences within the abolitionist movement shaped Crummell’s values, beliefs, and actions throughout the rest of his life. For example, even as a boy in New York, Crummell worked for the American Anti-Slavery Society. Crummell began his formal education in the African Free School No. 2 and athome with private tutors. He then attended the Canal Street High School. After graduating, Crummell,along with his friend Henry Highland Garnet, attended the Noyes Academy in New Hampshire. Theschool, however, was destroyed by a lynch mob and Crummell enrolled in the Oneida Institute. Whilestudying there, Crummell decided to become a priest within the Episcopalian faith, and pursued that endwith the same enthusiasm he had pursued the rest of his education. Unfortunately, Crummell was deniedadmission to the General Theological Seminary solely because of his race. In spite of such discrimination,Crummell went on to receive holy orders at the behest of several clergymen sympathetic to his positionand was ordained in 1842. As he struggled against ambivalence and low attendance, Crummell took a tripto Philadelphia to petition an audience with the Bishop to argue for a large audience to preach hismessage. Bishop Onderdonk replied that "I will receive you into this diocese on one condition: No negropriest can sit in my church convention and no negro church must ask for representation there." Crummellis said to have paused for a moment, made up his mind and said, "I will never enter your diocese on suchterms."[2]CareerIn 1847, Crummell traveled to England to raise money for his congregation at the Church of the Messiah.While there, Crummell preached, spoke about abolitionism in the United States, and raised almost $2,000.Crummell was also interested in attending either the University of Oxford or that at Cambridge, and whensuch an opportunity presented itself, he grabbed it. From 1849 to 1853, Crummell studied at QueensCollege, Cambridge, sponsored by Benjamin Brodie, Wilberforce, Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, JamesAnthony Froude and Thomas Babington Macaulay,[3][4] although he had to take his finals twice toreceive his degree. Alexander Crummell
  3. 3. Page 3 of 4During his time at the Cambridge, Crummell continued to travel around Britain and speak out aboutslavery and the plight of the black people. Crummell formulated his most central belief for theadvancement of the African race, Pan-Africanism, during this epoch. Crummell believed that in order toachieve their potential, the African race as a whole, including those in the Americas, the West Indies, andAfrica, needed to unify under the banner of race. Racial solidarity, to him, was the solution to slavery,discrimination, and continued attacks on the African race. To that end, Crummell decided to move toAfrica to spread his message.He arrived in Liberia in 1853, at the point in that countrys history when Americo-Liberians had begun togovern. Crummell came as a missionary of the American Episcopal Church, with the stated aim ofconverting the native people. Though previously against colonization, experiences in Liberia changed hismind and he became convinced of its benefits (see Civilizing mission). Crummell wove colonization intohis Pan-African ideology, preaching that "enlightened," or Christianized , Africans in the United Statesand the West Indies had a duty to come back to Africa. There, they would help civilize and Christianizethe continent. When enough native Africans had been converted, they would take over converting the restof the population while those from America and the West Indies would continue to educate the peopleand run a republican government. Crummell’s grand scheme never came to fruition, with interest incolonization waning and the failure of "enlightened" blacks to perform the duty he had laid out for them.While he did successfully serve as both a pastor and professor in Liberia, Crummell was never able to setup the government and society he dreamed of. In 1873, he returned to the United States.Once back on American soil, Crummell took on the task of running St. Mary’s Episcopal Mission. Hewas rector of St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Washington, D. C. from 1875 to 1894. Despite priorfrustrations, he never stopped working for the racial solidarity he had advocated for so long. Throughouthis life, Crummell continued to work for black nationalism, self-help, and separate economicdevelopment. He spent the last years of his life setting up the American Negro Academy, which opened in1897. Alexander Crummell died in Red Bank, New Jersey in 1898.InfluenceThough most of his work never produced the intended results, Crummell was an important voice withinthe abolition movement and a vocal leader of the Pan-African ideology. His achievements, which includea college education, becoming a priest, and setting up the American Negro Academy, are nothing lessthan impressive. His contributions to the academic world, via his sermons and written works, leave theimpression of a well-educated, well-spoken, and well-written black man who believed deeply andfervently in the Pan-African idea and worked most of his life to achieve it. Crummells legacy can be seennot in his personal achievements, but in the influence he exerted on other black nationalists and Pan-Africanists, such as Marcus Garvey, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Du Bois paid tributeto Crummell with a memorable essay entitled "Of Alexander Crummell," collected in his 1903 book, TheSouls of Black Folk. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Alexander Crummell on his list of 100Greatest African Americans.[5] Alexander Crummell
  4. 4. Page 4 of 4VenerationCrummell is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) onSeptember 10.References 1. Moses (1988), p. 11 2. Du Bois, W.E.B The Souls of Black Folk pg 139. 3. Crummell, Alexander in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958. 4. Twigg, John A History of Queens College, Cambridge, 1448-1986 (1987), pp. 268-71 5. Asante, Molefi Kete (2002). 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Amherst, New York. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-963-8.  ilson eremiah Moses: "Alexander Crummell." American National Biography Online. 2000. Oxford University Press. 5 Feb 2008.  Wilson Jeremiah Moses: Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.  Rigsby, Gregory, U.. Alexander Crummell: Pioneer in the Nineteenth-Century Pan- African Thought. New York: Greenwood Press, 1987.  Wahle, Kathleen OMara. "Alexander Crummell: Black Evangelist and Pan-Negro Nationalist." Phylon 29(1968): 388-395. Alexander Crummell