Lewis C. Sheafe

An eloquent Baptist preacher and civil rights orator, Sheafe (1859-1938) embraced Adventism in 1896 in part because of the potential levers for racial uplift he saw in the movement’s emphases on health and education. He made his greatest impact in Washington, D.C., where, in addition to his evangelistic success he engaged with other race leaders in advocacy for voting rights, leading to the Niagara Movement and formation of the NAACP in 1909. Conflicts centering on race finally led to his departure from denominational work, but not before he made a formative and lasting impact on the Adventist tradition, pressuring church leaders toward belated and limited yet significant action to address the church’s racial inequities.

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