William H. Ferris

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William Henry Ferris (July 20, 1874 – 1941) was an author, minister, and scholar.


He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of David H. and Sarah Ann Jefferson Ferris. His grandparents were free at the time of his father's birth. His father joined the Union Army voluntarily at the age of 17. His mother's father escaped from captivity on plantation and later purchased the freedom of his wife and children.

A graduate of Yale University (1895) with a BA, Ferris subsequently took on the role of writer and lecturer. He was a Harvard Divinity School student from 1897–99, graduating Harvard with an MA in journalism in 1900. After teaching at Tallahassee State College, Florida Baptist College (1900–01) he worked for a number of newspapers from 1902–03. He continued teaching during the years 1903-5 at Henderson Normal School and Kittrell College in North Carolina. Ferris became pastor of Christ Congregational Church from 1904 to 1905. In 1908 he wrote a book entitled "Typical Negro Traits". From 1910 to 1912 he was given charge of the "colored" missions of A.M.E. Zion Church of Lowell and Salem, Massachusetts as a lecturer at white churches. He went on to write The African Abroad; or his Evolution in Western Civilization: Tracing his development under Caucasian Milieus in 1913.

The African Times and Orient Review published an article by Ferris in which he praised an article previously contained in the same journal by Marcus Garvey.

Ferris worked with William Monroe Trotter and the Boston Guardian, W. E. B. Du Bois and the Niagara Movement, and John Edward Bruce and the Negro Society for Historical Research.

He held positions as Assistant President General of the UNIA-ACL and Associate Editor of the Negro World.

In 1922 was working on a volume entitled The African in Western Lands.


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