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Title: The Revd Peter Stanford (1860-1909) Birmingham’s ‘coloured preacher’
Author: Walker, Paul Frederick
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis describes the life of the Revd Peter Thomas Stanford, Birmingham's 'Coloured Preacher', minister of Hope Street Baptist Church, Highgate, Birmingham, UK, 1889 to 1895. Born in Hampton, Virginia, USA, in 1860, Stanford was part of the last generation of Aftican Americans to be born into slavery, amongst the first to experience freedom. He struggled to educate himself, became a Christian and was helped to attend the Suffield Baptist Institute, Connecticut, by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Revd Henry Ward Beecher. He was ordained in 1878, and ministered to black communities in Hartford, CT, and later in Ontario, Canada. He first arrived in Britain in 1883 and spent time in Liverpool, London and Bradford, before settling in Birmingham. By the 1890s racial violence, especially in the Southern States, was increasing. Stanford was deputed, by anti-lynching campaigners in Birmingham, to return to the USA and report on the problem. Arriving in Boston in 1895 he founded a church for black people, in Roxbury, published, 111e Tragedy of the Negro in America, his book on the history of the black presence in America, the extent and reasons for lynchings. He was briefly minister of churches in New York and Haverhill, Massachusetts, and then established a mission to care for and teach orphaned black children, the Union Industrial and Stranger's Home, in North Cambridge, MA. He died in 1909. How was an African-American ex-slave Baptist minister in the Victorian slums of Birmingham at that time? At first it appeared that his presence was unlikely or even unique, but further research showed that he was neither. Indeed, many African, African American and Caribbean people were involved in churches throughout Britain, a largely forgotten piece of our cultural history. It eventually became clear that Stanford's presence in Highgate was a natural consequence of the long established connections between Birmingham and America through the struggle for abolition and emancipation, and later racial justice. Chapter One tells how this thesis emerged from previous research. Chapter Two is a reconstructed narrative of Stanford's life, based on Stanford's writings, other published versions of his life, and my research into him and the contexts in which he lived and worked. Chapter Three seeks to explain the perspectives and assumption upon which this thesis is based. Chapter Four reflects upon the nature and significance of narrative, especially slave narratives, the literary genre which so influenced Stanford's life and writings. In Chapter Five the long presence of African, African American and Caribbean people in Britain is described and further discoveries of black people who were ministers and church members are recorded. In Chapters Six, Seven and Eight the socio-historical contexts in which Stanford lived and worked - the America from which he came, the Birmingham in which he ministered and the America to which he returned - are described. Chapter Nine aims to draw some conclusions from the foregoing investigation: to reflect critically upon methodology and to give some pointers to possible areas of future research. Appendix A details some of the many black people who are known to have been present for longer or shorter periods in Britain between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many of whose lives need further research. Appendix B contains some of the shorter texts written by and about Stanford to make them available to others in the future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available