John Chavis: African American Patriot, Preacher, Teacher, and Mentor (1763-1838)

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McFarland, Jan 17, 2001 - Social Science - 216 pages
John Chavis had a profound impact upon the history of North Carolina, the life of African Americans, and the course of religion in America. Born in 1763, Chavis fought in the American Revolution and studied at Princeton, becoming the first black person ordained as a missionary minister in the Presbyterian church. Many of those who learned from his teachings were white, and many of the students in his Latin grammar school were the sons of prominent North Carolinians. His lifelong relationship with his students created connections with some of the most powerful individuals of the nineteenth century, and his religious writings can still stir the soul more than 150 years after his death. Chavis's story illustrates the power of faith, intelligence, and determination to overcome the precariousness of life for a free black man in this era. This account of Chavis's life, the result of research by one of his descendants, presents a thorough examination of his life, his work, and the world in which he lived. Also included is the full text of John Chavis's Letter Upon the Doctrine of the Extent of the Atonement of Christ (1837), long considered lost by many of his biographers.
 

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great preacher

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Born in 1763, John Chavis fought in the American Revolution, studied at Princeton, and became a missionary minister in the Presbyterian Church.
Chavis also ran his own Latin school, teaching the
sons of some of the most prominent North Carolinians and forging ties to some of the most powerful individuals of the 19th century. His religious writings are still read, more than 150 years after his death.
But just how clearly Chavis stood out among men might have been most evident to those of his day who met him: John Chavis - teacher, minister, patriot, and influential citizen - was a free black man.
This is an inspiring account of Chavic's life, the result of painstaking research in a multitude of primary documents, undertaken by one of his descendants.
 

Contents

Foreword by Minister Benjamin F Chavis Muhammad
1
His Life and Legacies
7
A Black Man Drinks Deep
33
Chaviss Christian Ministry
48
A Trailblazer in the Teaching Profession
63
Mentor Confidant and Astute Business Man
72
Saga of the Chavis Family
87
In Search of His Gravesite
96
The Legacies of John Chavis
111
The Letter Upon the Doctrine
117
Letter Upon the Doctrine of the Extent of the Atone
129
Early Documents of the Chavis Family
143
A Gallery of Family Portraits Some
171
Bibliography
191
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Helen Chavis Othow is a professor of English at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. A previous department chair and outstanding faculty award winner, she has written extensively in the areas of African American culture and literature. She lives in Oxford, North Carolina.

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