James Solomon Russell

Former Slave, Pioneering Educator and Episcopal Evangelist


In stock

About the Book

Born into slavery on a Virginia plantation in 1857, James Solomon Russell (1857–1935) rose to become one of the most prominent African American pastors in the post–Civil War South. As a minister, educator, and founder of Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia, he played a major role in the development of educational access for former slaves in the South and within the Episcopal Church from the end of Radical Reconstruction to the early 20th century. Indeed, Russell stood as a linchpin binding not only the poles of ecclesiastical racial obstacles, but the social maturity of blacks and whites within his church and in the greater society. This comprehensive biography explores Solomon’s life within the broader context of colonial and Virginia history and chronicles his struggles against the social, political and religious structures of his day to secure a better future for all people.

About the Author(s)

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Worth Earlwood Norman, Jr., has published work on Russell in The Historiographer, The Living Church and the Brunswick Times-Gazette (Virginia). He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

Bibliographic Details

Worth Earlwood Norman, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 250
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6789-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9291-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

Introduction      6

1. Beginnings      11

2. The Colony and the Commonwealth of Virginia      31

3. Influences      55

4. 1877–1885 Annual Councils of the Diocese of Virginia      71

5. 1886–1892 Annual Councils of the Diocese of Virginia      99

6. The Trials and Joys of Black Entrepreneurial Education      121

7. Addressing Challenges      135

8. International Forums and Ideological Differences      157

9. Reconciliation and Russell’s Legacy      171


A. Colonial Statutory Recognition of Slavery      183

B. Colored Churches’ Membership, 1900      184

C. Methodist Churches in the United States, 1900      184

D. Virginia Legislative Assembly African-American Membership, 1872–1892      185

E. Social Uplift Address, 1919      186

F. Summary of the Official Acts of the Archdeacon for Colored Work      191

G. Churches and Missions in the Colored Convocation, Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, 1910      191

H. General Convention [of the Episcopal Church] Opening Session, Portland, Oregon, 1922      192

I. Southern Virginia Resolution, 2009      192

J. Secular Education Funds for Negro Schools in the South, 1860s–1920s      195

K. Conclusion of the Report of the Committee on the State of the Church, 1907      196

L. Statistics of the Two Episcopal Dioceses in Virginia, 1892      197

M. “A Tribute to Lewis Morris,” a Poem by Goronwy Owens      198

N. Brief Biographies      199

O. Timeline of Significant Events Affecting the Life of Russell      209

Chapter Notes      217

Bibliography      228

Index      235