Charles H. Wesley

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Charles H. Wesley
Born Charles H. Wesley
(1891-12-02)December 2, 1891
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Died August 16, 1987(1987-08-16) (aged 95)
District of Columbia
Occupation Historian, Author
Nationality Black American
Period 1925–1987
Genres History
Notable work(s) Prince Hall Life and Legacy

Charles Harris Wesley (December 2, 1891 – August 16, 1987) was an American historian, educator, minister, and author. He published more than 15 books on African-American history, served as president of Wilberforce University, and founding president of Central State University, both in Ohio.

Early life and education[edit]

Charles Wesley was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the only child of Matilda and Charles Snowden Wesley. He attended local schools as a boy, and went on to graduate in 1911 from Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee. He earned a Master's degree from Yale University in 1913. Continuing with his graduate work, in 1925, Wesley became the fourth African American to receive a PhD from Harvard University.[1] He was awarded a Doctor of Divinity in 1928 by Wilberforce University.[2]

Career[edit]

Wesley became an ordained minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). He also had an academic career as a professor of history and wrote a total of more than 15 books on African-American history and political science. He served as the Dean of the Liberal Arts and the Graduate School at Howard University.

In 1942 Wesley was called as President of Wilberforce University (an AME-affiliated university) in Wilberforce, Ohio, serving until 1947. That year, he founded Central State University across the street from Wilberforce. He served as its president until 1965, when he returned to Washington, D.C.[2]

That year, Wesley became the Director of Research and Publications for the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. He was Executive Director from 1965–1972, later becoming Executive Director Emeritus'. In 1976, he became Director of the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum in Philadelphia. He was also a life member of the American Historical Association.[2]

Wesley was active in African-American fraternal organizations, both during and after college. He was elected as the 14th and a five-term General President, and later National Historian for seven decades, of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established by and for African Americans. He wrote The History of Alpha Phi Alpha (1929), updating it in many new editions. Wesley was also an archon of Sigma Pi Phi (the Boule), the first of all Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLO). He was a Prince Hall Freemason, a Sovereign Grand Inspector General (33rd Degree) of the United Supreme Council (Southern Jurisdiction, Prince Hall); a member of the Odd Fellows, Elks, and many other fraternal organizations.[2]

Wesley died on August 16, 1987, in Washington, D.C. at 12:35 am. He was buried at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, Suitland, Maryland.[2]

Awards[edit]

He was the recipient of numerous awards, including

Books[edit]

African-American history[edit]

  • Negro Labor in the United States, 1850–1925 (1927)
  • Richard Allen, Apostle of Freedom (1935)
  • Collapse of the Confederacy (1937)
  • The Negro in the Americas (1940)
  • Negro Makers of History (5th edition) with Carter G. Woodson (1958)
  • The Story of the Negro Retold with Carter G. Woodson (1959)
  • The Negro in Our History with Carter G. Woodson(1962)
  • Ohio Negroes in the Civil War (1962)
  • Neglected History: Essays in Negro History (1965)
  • Negro Americans in the Civil War: From Slavery to Citizenship (1967)
  • International Library of Negro Life and History, a ten volume set (1967).
  • In Freedom's Footsteps: From the African Background to the Civil War (1968)
  • The Quest for Equality: From Civil War to Civil Rights (1968)
  • Negro Citizenship in the United States: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Negro-American, Its Concepts and Developments, 1868–1968 (1968)
  • The Fifteenth Amendment and Black America, 1870–1970 (1970)
  • Women Builders with Sadie Iola Daniel and Thelma D. Perry (1970)

Greek-letter fraternity[edit]

  • The History of Alpha Phi Alpha: A Development in Negro College Life (1929)
  • The History of Sigma Pi Phi (1954) ...
  • Henry Arthur Callis, Life and Legacy (1977)

Prince Hall Freemasonry[edit]

  • The History of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Ohio 1849-1959: : An Epoch in American Fraternalism (1961)
  • The History of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Ohio 1849-1971: : An Epoch in American Fraternalism (1972)
  • Prince Hall: A Life and Legacy (1977)

Other professional and fraternal organizations[edit]

  • History of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World, 1898–1954 (1955)
  • The History of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs: A Legacy of Service (1984).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon. "Charles H. Wesley". Accessed August 18, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e Proceedings of the 139th Communication of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio, F&AM, August 8 and 9, 1988, Toledo, Ohio. Columbus, Ohio: Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio. 1989. pp. 139–140. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bert A. Rose
General President of Alpha Phi Alpha
1932–1940
Succeeded by
Rayford Logan