Reverdy Cassius Ransom

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Reverdy Cassius Ransom
Born (1861-01-04)January 4, 1861
Flushing, Ohio, U.S.
Died April 22, 1959(1959-04-22) (aged 98)
Wilberforce, Tennessee, U.S.
Spouse(s) Leanne Watkins (1881–1886)
Emma S. Connor (1887–1941)
Georgia Myrtle Teal (1943–1959)

Reverdy Cassius Ransom (January 4, 1861 – April 22, 1959) was a United States African American Christian socialist, civil rights activist, and he was ordained and served in the African Methodist Episcopal Church as a Methodist Bishop.


Reverdy C. Ransom's father was an unknown Native American, and his mother, Harriet Johnson, was an African American who sacrificed herself in order to ensure Reverdy's education.

In his youth, Ransom married and had a child. His mother raised this child, his first son while Ransom's wife worked, because his mother was dedicated to Ransom's education and future. Ransom began his higher education at Wilberforce University. Although Ransom attended Oberlin College for some small portion of his higher education, he returned to Wilberforce University very soon with renewed appreciation for its many positive qualities.

While studying and preparing for ordained ministry at Wilberforce, Ransom became distanced from his first wife due to a growing intellectual chasm. They eventually divorced, and he remarried. It is recorded that he was not faithful to his second wife.

Reverdy C. Ransom recognized the inequality in American society, blaming it on capitalism and individualism and seeing socialism and Christian faith as means to tackle this evil. He believed that the world had enough resources to care for all humanity, but the distribution of them was wrongly handled. For him, socialism offered a means to help the downtrodden, which was in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Reverdy disagreed with the idea that the African race was inferior to the White, and explained the hardships suffered by his people in the United States as a burden, during which God strengthened them in order that they would be a better instrument afterward to help bring the African race to a rightful position in American society. This can be seen as his answer to the theological question of the problem of evil.

God brought naked barbarians from Africa, put them upon the anvil of American Christianity and Democracy; under the white heat of denial and persecution, He is fashioning them with sledgehammer blows into a new pattern from American civilization.

—Reverdy C. Ransom, The Negro

Reverdy C. Ransom was a featured speaker at the second meeting of the Niagara Movement, forerunner of the NAACP, in 1906 at Storer College in Harpers Ferry, WV.(Lewis, W.E.B. Dubois: Biography of a Race, p. 329).

See also[edit]


  • Lewis, David (1993). W.E.B. Dubois, Biography of a Race. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-3568-0. 
  • Pinn, Anthony (1999). Making the Gospel Plain: The Writings of Bishop Reverdy C. Ransom (1st Edition ed.). Harrisburg: Trinity Press International. ISBN 1-56338-264-4. 
  • Ransom, Reverdy C. (1896–97). The Negro and Socialism (13 ed.). A.M.E. Church Review.