Samuel Ferguson, a pioneering bishop
Samuel David Ferguson, a Black priest and bishop, was born on this date in 1842.
Born in Charleston, South Carolina, he immigrated with his parents to Liberia, Africa, at the age of six. Ferguson received his education in the mission schools under Bishop Payne and became a teacher in 1862. He was ordained deacon on December 28, 1865, and became a priest on March 15, 1868. During his deaconate, he served as assistant minister in St. Mark's parish and became rector of the same parish. He was president of their standing committee for several years, and also business agent of the mission, and superintendent of the Cape Palmas female orphan asylum and girls' school.
Elected missionary bishop for West Africa in 1885, he came to the United States, and was consecrated in Grace Church, New York City, in June 1885. Soon afterward, he returned to Cape Palmas, Liberia, and founded Cuttington College. Ferguson was the first Black member of the House of Bishops, where he served until his death, August 2, 1916.
African American Faith in America
by Larry G. Murphy
Copyright 2003, shorline Publishing Group
Today in American History