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Samuel Jules Celestine Edwards

(c. 1857—1894) Methodist evangelist and journal editor


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(1857–1894). Campaigning Christian evangelist, author, journalist, and Pan-Africanist born in Dominica but educated in the neighbouring West Indian island of Antigua. An influential friend in Antigua was the Revd Henry Mason Joseph, later president of the African Association in London in 1897. In 1870 Edwards stowed away on a ship and over the next few years he travelled the world as a seaman visiting North and South America and Europe. He landed in Sunderland and thereafter lived briefly in Edinburgh and Newcastle, and worked with a group of black entertainers. At some point he was converted to Christianity, and as a Primitive Methodist worked as a temperance evangelist in Lancashire and Cheshire. He had ambitions to go to Africa as a missionary but gravitated to east London, where he ran a weekly Bible class for men and regularly preached in Victoria Park. Some referred to him as ‘the Black Champion of Christianity’. Edwards studied theology at King's College London and enrolled at the London Hospital. He was a frequent speaker at large meetings in London and in other towns and cities. At some of these he condemned racial discrimination and harsh British Imperial policies in Africa.

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From The Oxford Companion to Black British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.


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