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“T” is for Turner, Henry McNeal (1834-1915)

“T” is for Turner, Henry McNeal (1834-1915). Clergyman, politician. Born a free person of color in Newberry, he moved with his family to Abbeville. There, he was hired by a law firm as a janitor. In defiance of state law, local attorneys educated him in many subjects including history, law, and theology. In 1849 Turner had an emotional conversion and four years later was licensed to preach by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He traveled throughout South Carolina and other southern states preaching to both Black and White audiences. In 1858 he moved to Baltimore and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1880 Turner was elected a bishop of the AME Church. During the last four decades of his life Henry McNeal Turner became a vocal supporter of the emigration of African Americans to Africa.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.