Ira David Pinson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ira David Pinson
Photo of Ira David Pinson
I.D. Pinson in 1918
Born(1892-10-03)October 3, 1892
DiedJuly 21, 1939(1939-07-21) (aged 46)
Known for3rd President of Morris College
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work
DisciplineLanguages and philosophy
InstitutionsMorris College

Ira David Pinson (1892–1939) was the son of a Baptist reverend and church leader, who became a professor of languages and philosophy, completing a Bachelor of Divinity at Yale University in 1920. From 1915 he was a member of the teaching faculty of Morris College, becoming its third president in 1930 as it struggled to survive the Great Depression. Within two years, he strengthened and steered the college to expansion. Pinson died in a car accident in 1939, at the age of 46. Pinson had married Bessie Alma Buckner in 1921. They had four sons, one of whom died with his father.

Early life and education[edit]

Pinson was one of two sons of Bessie Anna (Cash) and Reverend James A.S. Pinson.[1][2] James Pinson graduated from Benedict College, Yale University, and Colgate Divinity School, establishing the Shiloh Baptist Church.[2][3] His older brother, Sylvester, graduated from Benedict College and Meharry Medical College, practicing medicine in Pennsylvania.[2][4]

Pinson earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from Benedict College in 1912, and a Master of Arts in 1913.[1] He then gained another BA, from Colgate University in 1918, and a Bachelor of Divinity from Yale University in 1920.[1]


"Humanity needs a faith that love is at the heart of life, that love is superior to hate, that men must become brotherly or they will perish, that a law of service and sacrifice underlies life, that the law of sowing and reaping is in the structure of things, that happiness is an accompaniment or consequence of the good life and never an end, and that the only permanent award of life is Creative Living."

—Ira David Pinson, 1939[3]

Pinson was a professor at Morris College in Sumter, teaching Latin, German, Greek, and philosophy from 1915 to 1930, as well as coaching the baseball team.[1][2]

The small college struggled after the 1929 stock market crash, and a loss of financial aid.[3] Its second president, John Jacob Stark, left to join the faculty of Benedict College in 1930.[3] Morris and Benedict College merged high schools at Morris, and Morris became a junior college, only offering the first two years of college.[3] That further reduced support financial support for Morris College, leaving it with only a year's worth of funds.[3]

Pinson was appointed the third president of Morris College in 1930, a position he held until his death in 1939 at age 46.[3] Within two years, he had restored the senior college and expanded the scope of the college.[3]

Pinson was a member of Omega Psi Phi and the Mt Zion Baptist Church in Sumter, and a powerful orator.[1][3]

Family and death[edit]

Pinson married Bessie Alma Buckner on 22 May 1921.[1] They had four sons, Sylvester Wesley Pinson, Eugene Pinson (a professor of music), James Pinson (an artist), and David Pinson.[5][1] Pinson and one of his sons, Sylvester, died in a car accident near South Hill, Virginia in 1939.[4] He had been driving the family to New York, and his wife and other sons all survived their injuries.[4]

Bessie Pinson, a longtime teacher at Morris College, died in 1970.[5]


African-American businesses in Sumter closed in Pinson's honor on the day of his funeral.[4]

The administration building at Morris College is named in Pinson's memory.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Obituary record of graduates of Yale University deceased during the year 1940-1941" (PDF). Bulletin of Yale University. 38. Yale University (1): 275–276. 1 January 1942. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Hill, Lauritza Salley (2013). African Americans of Orangeburg County. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Pub. p. 40. ISBN 978-0738598802. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Vereen-Gordon, Mary; Clayton, Janet S. (1999). Morris College : a noble journey. Virginia Beach, VA: Hallmark Pub. ISBN 0965375986. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "Funeral tomorrow for Dr. Pinson". The Index-Journal. Greenwood, South Carolina. 26 July 1939. p. 8. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Morris: Hornet[Yearbook]". Morris College. 1971. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Pinson Administration Building - Morris College". Morris College. Retrieved 21 October 2017.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Hill, Lauritza Salley (2013). African Americans of Orangeburg County. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Pub. p. 40. ISBN 978-0738598802. Retrieved 21 October 2017.