Army Archives

African Americans – Advocates of Salvation

"Black Salvationists have been vital in the spiritual development of The Salvation Army from its inception in the United States." – Warren Maye

American delegates to the 1894 International Congress. Ballington Booth sits at the right. “Joe the Turk” stands to the left. Note the unique Star-Spangled uniforms. (A)

After their marriage in 1939, B. Barton and Mildred (nee Bowen) McIntyre put their education and passion for ministry to work for 30 years against social ills. He wrote passionately about the plight of African Americans and called Salvationists to address the issues with a 12 point plan. (E)

Alexander Beck and family. They joined the Army around 1890 after moving out west and became the first territorial evangelists on record. (A)

Performance group at the opening of the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Grand Rapids, MI in 2010. (C)

United Guard and Sunbeam Troops in Detroit, MI, 1952. (C)

Father Lowe was an early Salvation Army convert. (C)

Overseeing feeding program in Chicago. (C)

(Then) Lieutenant K. K. Matthews assisting students in the Detroit Harding Corps Youth Enrichment Institute in 1995. Students committed one year to improving their academic and social skills. (C)

First commissioned band in the United States, 1883. (C)

(Then) Major Israel Gaither assists a young boy with a new coat and cap. Gaither later served as the first African American National Commander. (A)

Delilah Collier was awarded the Order of the Founder in 2002 for her evangelism, local officer training and work on multicultural and related issues. (E)

Brigadier Victor Wilson recieves an award from Brigadier Ernest Holz. Wilson was a long-serving officer in the Washington DC area. (A)

A Disaster Services worker assists a victim of the Midwest Mississippi River flood in 1993. (C)

New Sounds For Christ (1978) was an early group of musicians that used “contemporary” sounds. It was founded by Brett Burton and E. Lewanne Dudley and led by Kenneth Burton. (E)

Pearl Hurdle’s first appointment in 1922 was as assistant officer for the New York #8 Harlem Corps. (A)

Stephen Harper carries a session flag for 1974 Followers of Christ. (C)

A new video documentary series entitled “Oaks of Righteousness,” produced by the USA Eastern Territory’s Mission & Culture Department, will feature perspectives from African American, Hispanic, and Asian cultural committee members on important topics. The first segment in the series scheduled to be released this month will focus on the most racially turbulent period in United States history and the Salvation Army’s response to it.

The documentary highlights the Black Commissioned Officers Meeting of 1969, which convened to examine race relations within The Salvation Army. It was the first of its kind in the Army’s history and gave voice to black officers on significant issues.

Black Salvationists have been vital in the spiritual development of The Salvation Army from its inception in the United States. Black Salvation Army soldiers lived the Army’s “Blood & Fire” motto as they struggled at times to hold fragile communities together, sometimes amid the spilling of actual blood and in the heat of real fire.

Warren Maye – “Soldiers of Uncommon Valor”

Photo Credits

(C) = photo by Central Territory Museum
(A) = photo by National Headquarters Archives
(E) = photo by Eastern Territory

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