Callender was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and studied at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and Boston University, before becoming the first African American to study at Westminster Theological Seminary. He later studied at New York Law School.
For most of his life, Callender lived and worked in Harlem. He was an ordained Presbyterian minister, and also served as deputy administrator of the New York City Housing and Development Administration.
- "Eugene Callender, Harlem civil rights activist, to be remembered". Daily News. 8 November 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Rev. Callender with the Lord". Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- Fox, Margalit (7 November 2013). "Rev. Eugene Callender, Who Saw Potential of School Dropouts, Dies at 87". New York Times. Retrieved 7 December 2013.