Jesse Moorland, minister, community organizer, and civic leader
On this date in 1863, Jesse Moorland was born. He was a Black minister, community executive, and civic leader.
Jesse Edward Moorland came from Coldwater, Ohio, the only child of a farming family. When he was an infant, his mother died and his father left him to be raised by his maternal grandparents.
Moorland attended Northwestern Normal University in Ada, Ohio. Upon graduation, he taught in the public school system of nearby Urbana before moving to enroll in the Theological Department of Howard University. Moorland received his master's degree in 1891, was ordained a Congressional minister, and appointed secretary of the Washington, D. C., branch of the YMCA all in the same year.
Two years later he relocated to Nashville, TN, for a pastoral appointment at Howard Chapel, and in 1896, he became pastor of Cleveland’s Mount Zion Congregational Church. As the 20th century approached, Moorland was involved in the movement to make Protestantism “relevant” to the current social conditions. In 1898, he accepted a post as an administrator and fund-raiser in the Colored Men’s Department of the YMCA.
While in this position, Moorlands developed many programs for cultural self-improvement, including lectures, debates, Bible classes, workshops on job skills, literacy classes, and sports. In 1914, he became senior secretary, continuing to build and strengthen the YMCA into a national institution. He retired from there in 1923.
Moorland then devoted himself Black social organizations such as the National Health Circle for Colored People, and he helped found the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History with Carter G. Woodson in 1915. That same year he donated his personal library on Black history to Howard University. This collection formed the foundation of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Jesse Moorland died in New York in 1939
National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United States.
Moorland, Jesse Edward
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