Father Divine

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Father Divine, formerly known as George Baker Jr., is believed to have been born around 1879 in Rockville, Maryland. While the early life of his father, George Baker Sr., is unclear, his mother, Nancy, had previously been a slave. After leaving Rockville around 1899, he noticed that African American churches were often not socially active and decided that the influence of the church could be used to enact social change. After years as an itinerate preacher, he settled in New York during World War I and eventually founded The Peace Mission Movement, which provided relief to the poor and sought to break down segregation by eliminating among followers all use of words related to race or color. He also taught his followers to reject the idea of an afterlife. Instead, Father Divine encouraged his followers to strive for eternal life on Earth by finding unity with God's internal spirit. The Peace Mission was and is a celibate community and followers strive to live pure lives in harmony with one another. He and his followers believe that he is the Messiah and Savior of humankind. His first wife Peninniah, better known as Mother Divine, died in 1943, but Father Divine saw her as reincarnated in Edna Rose Ritchings whom he married in 1946. In 1965, Father Divine died; however, his followers believe that he "laid his body down" as a judgment on humankind for ignoring his teachings, Mother Divine and many followers believe that his spirituality is still present and that he made the supreme sacrifice for humans and will eventually resurrect himself.

From the description of Father Divine papers, 1930-1996. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81344796

Father Divine (c. 1876 - September 10, 1965) aka George Baker was an African-American religious leader and founder of the Peace Mission movement. In the 1930s, the period of greatest membership, there were about 160 Peace Missions in North America and Europe, with the bulk of them located in New York. During the Depression the largest Mission was in Harlem. The majority of Father Divine's followers in this mission were black migrants from the South and immigrants from the Caribbean; however, in other areas of the country, such as California, white membership predominated.

From the description of Father Divine collection, 1932-1992. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 700073600

Father Divine (George Baker) was an African-American religious cult leader, working chiefly from New York. His preaching combined fundamentalist Christianity with racial equality.

From the description of Rev. M.J. Divine letter to Mrs. Gail Morrow, 1938. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 49571715

Father Divine, born George Baker about 1880 in Rockville, Md., died, Sept. 10, 1965, in Philadelphia, PA. He was the founder of the Peace Mission Movement that by the 1930s had spread across the nation, attracting a wide variety of followers.

From the description of Letter, 1940 January 20 : to Hon. Henry S. Walman, Judge Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, Elizabeth, New Jersey. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82414035

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Horace Mann Bond Papers MS 411., 1830-1979, 1926-1972 Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries
creatorOf Father Divine. Father Divine papers, 1930-1996. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
creatorOf Father Divine. Rev. M.J. Divine letter to Mrs. Gail Morrow, 1938. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Father Divine. Father Divine collection, 1932-1992. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Father Divine. Letter, 1940 January 20 : to Hon. Henry S. Walman, Judge Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, Elizabeth, New Jersey. Temple University, Blockson Afro-American History Collection
referencedIn Albok, John, 1894-1982. Photographic negatives, [ca. 1930-1970]. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Moore, Dorothy L. (Dorothy Louise), 1928-2009. Dorothy L. Moore papers, 1938-1949. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
creatorOf Peace Mission Movement. The righteous government platform of Father Divine's Peace Mission Movement : as adopted by the International Righteous Government Convention, New York City, January 10th, 11th and 12th, 1936 A.D.F.D. San Diego State University Library, SDSU Library and Information Access
referencedIn Roof, Stephen. The Divine Lorraine Hotel : gateway to North Broad / Stephen Roof. Athenaeum of Philadelphia
creatorOf Father Divine. "I realize" : affirmation made by Father Divine for all his children. San Diego State University Library, SDSU Library and Information Access
referencedIn Williams, Camilla (Mrs. Charles Beaver). Papers. 1944-1979. Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
referencedIn Bender, Lauretta, 1897-1987. Papers, 1896-1966, 1930-1960 (bulk) Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Albok, John, 1894-1982. person
associatedWith Bender, Lauretta, 1897-1987. person
associatedWith Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972 person
associatedWith Moore, Dorothy L. (Dorothy Louise), 1928-2009. person
associatedWith Morrow, Gail, person
associatedWith Mother Divine. person
associatedWith Peace Mission Movement. corporateBody
associatedWith Roof, Stephen. person
associatedWith Waldman, Henry S. person
associatedWith Williams, Camilla (Mrs. Charles Beaver) person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Subject
African American clergy
Sermons, American--African American authors
African Americans--Religion
Prayer
Evangelists' spouses
African American messianism
Church and social problems
Christian sects
African American evangelists
Occupation
Clergy
Evangelist
Function

Person

Birth 1877

Death 1965-09-10

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