Archive for the ‘Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward’ Tag

Feast of Julia Williams Garnet, Henry Highland Garnet, Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, and Theophilus Gould Steward (February 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Partial Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JULIA WILLIAMS GARNET (JULY 1, 1811-JANUARY 7, 1870)

African-American Abolitionist and Educator

first wife of

HENRY HIGHLAND GARNET (DECEMBER 23, 1815-FEBRUARY 13, 1882)

African-American Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist

second husband of

SARAH J. SMITH TOMPKINS GARNET (JULY 31, 1831-SEPTEMBER 17, 1911)

African-American Suffragette and Educator

sister of

SUSAN MARIA SMITH MCKINNEY STEWARD (MARCH 1847-MARCH 17, 1918)

African-American Physician

second wife of

THEOPHILUS GOULD STEWARD (APRIL 17, 1843-JANUARY 11, 1924)

U.S. African Methodist Episcopal Minister, U.S. Army Chaplain, and Professor

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The nation has begun its exodus from worse than Egyptian bondage; and I beseech you that say to the people, “that they go forward.”  With the assurance of God’s favor in all things done in obedience to his righteous will, and guided by day and night by the pillars of cloud and fire, let us not pause until we have reached the other and safe side of the stormy and crimson sea.  Let freemen and patriots mete out complete and equal justice to all men, and thus prove to mankind the superiority of our Democratic, Republican government.

–Henry Highland Garnet, addressing the United States House of Representatives, February 12, 1865; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 604

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This post began with one name, that of Henry Highland Garnet, which I found in A Year with American Saints (2006).  As I took notes, however, I added two wives, a sister-in-law, and her second husband to the post.  I have, after all, established emphasizing relationships and influences as a goal of this project, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Julia Williams came from a free African-American family.  She, born in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 1, 1811, moved with her family to Boston, Massachusetts, when she was a child.  At the age of 21 years, Williams began to study at Prudence Crandall‘s Female Boarding School (for African Americans), which opened in 1831.  After hostility in Canterbury, New Hampshire, forced the school to close, Williams continued her studies at Noyes Academy, Canaan, New Hampshire (extant 1835).  There she met Henry Highland Garnet.

Henry Highland Garnet, born a slave, became an abolitionist.  He, born in New Market, Maryland, on December 23, 1815, fled with his family in 1824, first to Delaware, then to Pennsylvania.  The family had to keep moving, to evade slave-catchers.  Eventually, Garnet wound up in New York City, where, from 1826 to 1833, he studied at the African Free School then at Phoenix High School for Colored Youth.  Our saint helped to found the abolitionist Garrison Literary and Benevolent Association in 1835.  He and Julia Williams were students at Noyes Academy, Canaan, New Hampshire, in 1835.  Local racists forced the school to close then destroyed the building.  Next, they founded a whites-only school.

Williams and Garnet studied at the Oneida Institute (1827-1843), Whitesboro, New York.  Garnet, who graduated in 1839, became a teacher in Troy, New York.  He also began to study theology.  Williams, having joined the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society in the 1830s, was a delegate to the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, New York City, in 1837.  Garnet suffered a severe sports-related injury in 1840; he lost one leg, amputated at the hip.  He and Williams married in 1841.  The couple had three children.  Only one child, a daughter, survived to adulthood.

Garnet, the first African-American graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, became a Presbyterian minister.  He served at Liberty Street Presbyterian Church, Troy, New York, from 1842 to 1848.  He had already become simultaneously revolutionary and conservative, by abolitionist standards.  Our saint had, in 1840, helped to found the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (AFASS), which broke away from the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS).  The AASS, with William Lloyd Garrison as a prominent member, opened leadership positions to women and made the connection between the rights of slaves and the rights of women.  The AFASS, however, focused narrowly on slavery and reserved all leadership positions for men.  Yet Garnet, an abolitionist journalist since 1842, proved too radical for William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass in one way in 1843.  That year, addressing the National Negro Convention, Buffalon, New York, Garnet called for a slave insurrection:

Brethren, arise, arise!  Strike for your lives and liberties.  Now is the day and the hour.  Let every slave throughout the land do this, and the days of slavery are numbered.  You cannot be more oppressed than you have been–you cannot suffer greater cruelties than you have already.  Rather die freemen than live to be slaves.

Garrison and Douglass persuaded Garnet to to moderate his position.

Garnet’s activism continued.  By 1849, he openly supported African-American immigration to Mexico, Liberia, or the West Indies.  This position led him to found the African Civilization Society in 1858.  He, associated with the free produce movement, which favored an economic boycott of slavery, traveled and lectured in the British Isles in 1850-1852.  The Garnets were missionaries of The Church of Scotland to Jamaica in 1852-1855; Julia led a female industrial school there.  Henry’s health required him to leave Jamaica after three years.  The couple returned to the United States.  Henry worked with Frederick Douglass to recruit African-American soldiers during the Civil War.  Garnet, pastor of Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., from 1864 to 1866, addressed the U.S. House of Representatives on February 12, 1865, after it passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution.  He became the President of Avery College, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (extant 1849-1873), in 1868.  Garnet also served as pastor of Shiloh Presbyterian Church, New York City, and favored Cuban independence from Spain.

Julia, who worked with former slaves in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War, died on January 7, 1870.  She was 58 years old.

Henry remarried, to Sarah J. Smith Tompkins, in 1879.

Sarah J. Smith and her sister, Susan Maria Smith, made history.  Their parents were prosperous farmers, Sylvanus Smith and Ann Eliza Springsteel, of Brooklyn, New York.  Sarah debuted on July 31, 1831.  Susan followed in March 1847.  Sarah’s first husband was Samuel Tompkins, who died in 1852.  The couple had two children, who died young.

Sarah J. Smith Tompkins became an educator.  She taught at the African Free School before becoming the first female, African-American principal in New York City; she led Grammar School Number 4, starting on April 30, 1863.

Susan, a musician and a music educator in the District of Columbia, pursued a career in medicine after one of her brothers died of cholera during an outbreak in Brooklyn.  She studied at the New York Medical College for Women in 1867-1869, and graduated as the valedictorian.  She became the first African-American female physician in the State of New York and the third in the United States.  Our saint practiced medicine in Brooklyn from 1870 to 1895, cofounded the Brooklyn Women’s Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary, and practiced medicine at the Brooklyn Home for Aged Colored People.  In 1871, Susan married the Reverend William G. McKinney (d. 1894), a Methodist minister.

Sarah, owner of a seamstress shop in Brooklyn from 1883 to 1911, was also a suffragette.  She founded the Equal Suffrage League in Brooklyn in the late 1880s.  Starting in 1896, she served as the Superintendent of the National Association of Colored Women.

Henry Highland Garnet, briefly the U.S. Minister to Liberia, received his appointment in late 1881.  He, aged 58 years, died in Monrovia, on February 13, 1882.

Theophilus Gould Steward was a minister, an academic, and an activist.  He, from free African-American stock, was a child of James Steward and Rebecca Gould.  Our saint, born in Gouldtown, New Jersey, on April 17, 1843, became a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1863.  He planted churches in Georgia and South Carolina after the Civil War.  Our saint, from 1868 a pastor in Macon, Georgia, presided over the construction of a new edifice after the suspicious burning of the first one.  He, a graduate of the Episcopal Divinity School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was active in Haiti, and the eastern United States from 1872 to 1891.  Our saint, recipient of a Doctor of Divinity degree from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio, in 1881, joined the United States Army as a chaplain in 1891.  He served in the 25th U.S. Colored Cavalry until 1907.  Steward spent time in the U.S. West, in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and in the Philippines after that war.  His first wife, Elizabeth Gladden, died ini 1893.  The couple had eight children, from 1872 to 1883.

Susan Maria Smith McKinney married Theophilus Gould Steward in 1896.  They went to work at Wilberforce University in 1907.  Theophilus was a professor of French, history, and logic.  Susan was a physician.  In 1911, she and her sister, Sarah, attended the Universal Race Congress, New York City.  Susan presented a paper, “Colored American Women.”

Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, aged 80 years, died on September 17, 1911.

Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, aged 71 years, died on March 17, 1918.

Theophilus Gould Steward, a cofounder (with Alexander Crummell) of the American Negro Academy (1897-1928), died on January 11, 1924.  He was 80 years old.

The United States of America is better than it would have been otherwise because these five saints made their contributions to society.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 17, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BLESSED JUTTA OF DISIBODENBERG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND HER STUDENT, SAINT HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF GERARD MOULTRIE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZYGMUNT SZCESNY FELINSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF WARSAW, TITULAR BISHOP OF TARSUS, AND FOUNDER OF RECOVERY OF THE POOR AND THE CONGREGATION OF THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS OF THE FAMILY OF MARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZYGMUNT SAJNA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1940

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness and care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

with you and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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