Tobias, Channing H. (1882-1961).

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Channing Heggie Tobias was born 1 February 1882 in Augusta, Georgia. He was educated in the public schools of Augusta, and went on to earn a B.A. from Paine College in 1902 and a B.D. from Drew Theological Seminary in 1905. Gammon Theological Seminary (Atlanta, Geo.) conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1924. Most of Tobias's career was devoted to the YMCA. After serving for twelve years as student secretary of the International Committee of the YMCA, he was appointed as senior secretary of the YMCA's Colored Work Department in September 1923, a position he held until 1946. During these twenty three years, he also held a number of other YMCA positions relating to race relations, including member of the Executive Committee of the National Interracial Conference and associate director of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. After leaving the YMCA in 1946, he became the first black director of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, a foundation devoted to the improvement of educational opportunities for African Americans. He retired in 1953.

From the description of Channing Tobias papers, 1911-1961. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62694497

Channing H. Tobias, a religious and civic leader, was the senior secretary of the Colored Division of the Young Men's Christian Association (1911-1946), the first black president of the Phelps-Stokes Fund (1946-1953), and Chairman of the Board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (1953-1959).

Tobias' work with the YMCA commenced in 1911 when he became secretary of its National Council in Washington, D.C., a position he held until 1923; from 1923 to 1946 he was senior secretary of the Colored Division of the National Council, with headquarters in New York City. Tobias also served as a trustee (1939-1953) of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, a New York City foundation devoted to the improvement of educational opportunities for African Americans, and in 1946 was hired as its first African-American director. Tobias was elected a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1943, and resigned in 1953 from the Phelps-Stokes Fund to become Chairman of the Board of the NAACP, a position he held until his retirement in 1959. In 1951 he was elected to the United Service Organization's (USO) Board of Governors.

From the description of Channing H. Tobias collection, 1937-1983. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 144652095

Channing H. Tobias, a religious and civic leader, was the senior secretary of the Colored Division of the Young Men's Christian Association (1911-1946), the first black president of the Phelps-Stokes Fund (1946-1953), and Chairman of the Board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (1953-1959).

Tobias' work with the YMCA commenced in 1911 when he became secretary of its National Council in Washington, D.C., a position he held until 1923; from 1923 to 1946 he was senior secretary of the Colored Division of the National Council, with headquarters in New York City. Tobias also served as a trustee (1939-1953) of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, a New York City foundation devoted to the improvement of educational opportunities for African Americans, and in 1946 was hired as its first African-American director. Tobias was elected a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1943, and resigned in 1953 from the Phelps-Stokes Fund to become Chairman of the Board of the NAACP, a position he held until his retirement in 1959. In 1951 he was elected to the United Service Organization's (USO) Board of Governors.

From the guide to the Channing H. Tobias collection, 1937-1983, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Channing Heggie Tobias was born 1 February 1882 in Augusta, Georgia, the second child and only son of Fair and Belle (Robinson) Tobias. He was educated in the public schools of Augusta, and went on to earn a B.A. from Paine College in 1902, a B.D. from Drew Theological Seminary in 1905, and did special work at the University of Pennsylvania. Gammon Theological Seminary (Atlanta, Geo.) conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1924.

Most of Tobias's career was devoted to the YMCA. He joined that organization in 1911, after a six year stint as professor of bible literature at his alma mater, Paine College, serving for twelve years as student secretary of the International Committee of the YMCA. He was appointed as senior secretary of the YMCA's Colored Work Department in September 1923, a position he held until 1946, when the YMCA abolished separate programs for black men. During these twenty three years, he also held a number of other YMCA positions relating to race relations, including member of the Executive Committee of the National Interracial Conference and associate director of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. He was a delegate and a speaker at the 1926 World Conference in Finland, and traveled to YMCAs throughout the world during his career. After leaving the YMCA in 1946, he became the first black director of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, a foundation devoted to the improvement of educational opportunities for African Americans. He retired in 1953.

In addition to his extensive work through the YMCA movement, Tobias held numerous civic and volunteer positions in the area of race relations. During World War II, he was a member of the National Advisory Committee on Selective Service and the Joint Army and Navy Committee on Welfare and Recreation. President Truman appointed him to the Committee on Civil Rights in 1946. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the NAACP and elected its chairman in 1953. In 1953, he was alternate representative to the United Nations for the United States. He served on the boards of the Marshall Filed and Jessie Smith Noyes Foundations, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, the American Bible Society, Hampton Institute, and Palmer Memorial Institute. He received numerous awards in recognition of his work, including the 1948 Spingarn Medal, awarded annually to an African American for distinguished achievement.

Tobias married Mary Pritchard in 1908. The couple had two daughters. After the death of his first wife in 1949, Tobias married Eva Arnold in 1951. He died on 5 November 1961 after a long illness.

From the guide to the Channing Tobias papers., 1911-1961., (University of Minnesota. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. [ymca])

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Scott, Emmett J. (Emmett Jay), 1873-1957. Emmett J. Scott collection, 1916-1951. Morgan State University
creatorOf Tobias, Channing H., 1882-1961. Channing Tobias papers, 1911-1961. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn SPECIAL CHRISTMAS PROGRAM National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Colored Work Department records., 1871-1946. University of Minnesota Libraries. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. [ymca]
creatorOf Tobias, Channing H., 1882-1961. Channing H. Tobias collection, 1937-1983. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn William Hastie photographs, 1905-1994 Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
creatorOf Channing Tobias papers., 1911-1961. University of Minnesota Libraries. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. [ymca]
creatorOf National Council of the Young Men's Christian Associations of the United States of America. Colored Work Dept. Colored Work Department records, 1871-1946. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Channing H. Tobias collection, 1937-1983 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
referencedIn Lincoln University (Pa.). Office of the President. Walter L. Wright records, 1922-1945 (bulk 1932-1942). Lincoln University, Langston Hughes Memorial Library, Langston Hughes Memorial Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Harlem (New York, N.Y.)
Harlem (New York, N.Y.)
United States
Subject
World War, 1939-1945
Young Men's Christian associations
Young Men's Christian associations
African American civic leaders
African Americans
Civic leaders
Civic leaders
Race relations
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1882-02-01

Death 1961-11-05

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