Alexander Crummell, abolitionist, Episcopal minister and missionary

Click thumbnail to view larger, or here to view full size.
NYPL: psnypl_scg_504
Portrait Collection


circa 1890s


Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Alexander Crummell was a student at the Mulberry Street School at the same time as Peter Guignon; the two remained lifelong friends. After graduation, Crummell attended Noyes Academy in New Hampshire and Oneida Institute in upstate New York with Henry Highland Garnet for a short period of time. Setting his sights on becoming an Episcopal minister, Crummell encountered stiff resistance from the church hierarchy, but was finally ordained in 1844. Soon thereafter, he left for England where he matriculated at Queen’s College, Cambridge University, and received a Doctorate of Divinity in 1853. Crummell then moved to Liberia where he labored as a missionary for the next twenty years.

Crummell returned to the United States in the early 1870s. Although much legislation had been passed during Reconstruction granting civil rights to black Americans, much work remained to be done. As a theologian and intellectual, Crummell spoke and wrote extensively on racial issues. Towards the end of his life, he founded the American Negro Academy. He became the mentor of one of its younger members, W.E. B. Du Bois, and exercised enormous influence over the up-and-coming scholar.


This item has no location info associated with it.


“Alexander Crummell, abolitionist, Episcopal minister and missionary,” Black Gotham Archive, accessed July 10, 2018,