Henry Adams (pastor)

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Henry Adams
Henry Adams (pastor).png
Born (1802-12-17)December 17, 1802
Franklin County, Georgia
Died November 3, 1872(1872-11-03) (aged 69)
Louisville, Kentucky
Occupation Minister

Henry Adams (December 17, 1802 – November 3, 1872) was a Baptist pastor and leader in the black community in 19th-century Kentucky. He was born to free parents in Franklin County, Georgia, and became ordained at age 23.[1] He preached throughout the Deep South before moving to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1829, where he became minister to black members of First Baptist Church.[1]

In 1842, his 45-member congregation eventually withdrew to form First African Baptist Church, which was later renamed Fifth Street Baptist Church.[1] It was the second black Baptist church in the state. He remained pastor of the congregation until his retirement in 1871.[1] He ordained a number of prominent pastors during his term, including, Daniel Abraham Gaddie and Andrew Heath. Heath was also his assistant and successor at Fifth Street Baptist Church

Adams was self-educated and became a respected biblical scholar, and led the black Baptist community in Louisville for decades.[1] Adams stressed that church-related education and self-help were the keys to improvement of the situation of blacks in America.[1] He organized black congregations during the Civil War and served as moderator of the General Association of Colored Baptists[1] on August 3, 1869.[2] He also taught night school attended by many slaves and free blacks before and after emancipation, including William Henry Steward and Bartlett Taylor.[3]

Later in life, he led a movement that culminated in the founding of Kentucky Normal and Theological Institute (later Simmons College of Kentucky) in 1879.[1]

He married Margaret Corbin, sister of Joseph Carter Corbin, in 1842 and they had five children.[1] He died on November 3, 1872.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i *Lucas, Marion B. (1992). "Adams, Henry". In John E. Kleber. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Associate editors: Thomas D. Clark, Lowell H. Harrison, and James C. Klotter. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0. Retrieved 2011-11-02.  p. 2–3
  2. ^ a b Simmons, William J., and Henry McNeal Turner. Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising. GM Rewell & Company, 1887. p798-800
  3. ^ Simmons, William J., and Henry McNeal Turner. Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising. GM Rewell & Company, 1887. p603-607, 626-630

Further reading[edit]

  • Lucas, Marion B. (1992). A History of Blacks in Kentucky Volume 1: From Slavery to Segregation. 
  • Wright, George C. (1985). Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky 1865-1930.