The St. Clements University College’s School of Divinity (Liberia, West Africa) has been named in honor of the Reverend Alexander Crummell (1819- 1898), an Anglican priest, scholar, and human rights advocate.

Reverend Alexander Crummell

Alexander Crummell was born free in New York City on March 3, 1819. His mother, Charity Hicks of Long Island, New York, was also born free, while his father, Boston Crummell of the Temne people of West Africa, though originally sold into slavery, eventually became free in adulthood.

Coinciding with his marriage in 1841 to Sarah Mabitt Elston, Crummell's career as a public thinker began in earnest. His prominence as a young intellectual earned him a spot as keynote speaker at the anti- slavery New York State Convention of Negroes when it met in Albany in 1840.

Despite race-based resistance, he successfully trained for the priesthood, becoming an Episcopal priest (Anglican) later that same decade. He studied moral philosophy at Cambridge University under William Whewell, whose view of moral reasoning as an intuition of necessary moral truths clearly influenced Crummell's own thought.

After taking his bachelor's degree at Queen's College at Cambridge he resumed his avid participation in the anti-slavery movement. He subsequently went to Liberia taking a position as a professor of English and moral philosophy at Liberia College. His time there was difficult, owing to personal challenges and political opposition, leading him to return to the States after the Civil War. His first book was published in New York, entitled The Future of Africa (1862); in it he solidified much of his early thinking on morality and language. Two subsequent books, The Greatness of Christ (1882) and Africa and America (1891), reflected his more mature thought on agency and moral change.

Late in his life he held a lectureship at Howard University, though his most enduring contribution to black American letters was his co-founding of the American Negro Academy in Washington, DC, in 1897. He helped assemble a number of leading black intellectuals—including Du Bois and, much later, Locke—to publish research on problems facing blacks. During its three decades of existence twenty- two papers appeared. Its disbanding in the 1920s coincided with the Negro Renaissance in Harlem, the rise of Marcus Garvey, and the turn to pragmatism and relativism in American thought.

Rev. Crummell died in Red Bank, New Jersey, on September 10, 1898.

Source: Stanford Encyclopedia

The Rev.Lee A. Ford Memorial Foundation Fellow

Rev. Lee A Ford

Rev. Lee A. Ford (1914 – 2015) was an African American minister of the Gospel. Rev. Ford’s ministry helped to promote racial reconciliation, peace, and the Church in the United States of America, where he exemplified the very excellence in pastoral ministry which the St. Clements Divinity School seeks to replicate in its ministerial training.