Black History Month – Week 2

Lutherans you should know in black history

WEEK 2: Jim Crow Era - Rosa Young

Portrait of Rosa Young
Portrait of Rosa Young, Mother of Black Lutheranism

Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

SCRIPTURE - Deuteronomy 30:9b, 20

Rosa Young was a Black Women whose strength and determination helped her spread the development of Black Lutheranism in the South during the beginning of the 20th Century. This was in a time that Black Americans faced very harsh racial restrictions.

She resided in Alabama and operated a school for Black American Children. Seeking financial assistance, she wrote a letter to the Lutheran Synodical Conference asking for help. To her surprise being Methodist, the Lutheran Synodical Conference responded and supported the school. They not only supported the school monetarily, but they sent Lutheran pastors to the area to start Lutheran Congregations.

Rosa was committed to lifting up Black people in rural Alabama through education. She was responsible for becoming the driving force behind new Black Lutheran congregations and parish schools across the county. By 1927 there were 29 Black Lutheran congregations and preaching points in the area, and 27-day schools. During this period Wilcox County was the fastest-growing area of Lutheranism in the United States.


A special thank-you to the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America for putting together this resource. 


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