By Nathan Aaseng
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Free to Dream: Discover Your Divine Destiny. : Albury Press, 2000. Melton, J. Gordon. Religious Leaders of America. 2d ed. : Gale Research, 1999. Turner, Miki. “Bishop Charles E. ” Ebony (July 1, 2007): 36. Boyd, Merle (Kodo Angyo Plum Dragon Boyd) (1944– ) Zen teacher Merle Kodo Boyd is the first African American to attain the level of Dharma Transmission in the Zen Buddhist religion and to be a fully authorized Zen teacher. She was born in 1944 in Prairie View, Texas, where her father was a college instructor.
Mary Jane McLeod was born on July 10, 1875, the 15th of 17 children of ex-slaves Samuel and Patsy McLeod. She was raised on the small Mayesville, South Carolina, farm they had purchased from their owners, in the midst of a large extended family. Hard work was expected of the children, and at the age of nine, Mary picked 250 pounds of cotton a day, and pulled a plow after the death of the family mule. Education was important to Samuel and Patsy, but the public schools in their area did not admit black children.
Boyd had become a widely respected member of the black clergy by the time that the National Baptist Convention, a national organization of black Baptists, was formally established in 1895. The following year he moved to the national headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, where he served as secretary of the group’s Home Missions Board. While there, he founded the National Baptist Publications Board (NBPB). This publishing house produced a wide variety of religious materials that were especially important in countering the stereotypes found in white Baptist materials and affirming black pride and dignity.
African-American Religious Leaders by Nathan Aaseng