National Colored Spiritualist Association of Churches

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National Colored Spiritualist Association of Churches

African Americans were among people attracted to the Spiritualist movement, especially in the years following the formation of the National Spiritualist Association (NSA) (now the National Spiritualist Association of Churches ) in 1893. A few emerged as talented mediums. Because American society was segregated at that time, African American members were organized in "colored" auxiliary societies attached to the association. In the period of heightened racial tension following World War I, the leadership of the NSA decided to create a separate all-black Spiritualist organization for their African American members and appointed president Joseph P. Whitwell to lead a meeting held in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 21, 1925.

Twenty delegates attended the meeting but six withdrew in protest of the establishment of yet another segregated organization. The remaining 14 formed themselves into what became the first convention of the National Colored Spiritualist Association of Churches (NCSAC). It elected Rev. John R. White president; Sarah Harrington, vice-president; Mrs. C. W. Dennison, secretary; and a Mr. Smith as treasurer.

The second national meeting of the NCSAC, held in 1926, adopted a new constitution modeled on that of the NSA and established a loose association of churches, mediums, and healers. It followed the NSA "Declaration of Principles," which affirmed God as "Infinite Intelligence" and the possibility of communication with the so-called dead through mediumship. Happiness in this life came from obedience to the natural and spiritual laws of the universe, according to the declaration.

Churches emerged from the auxiliary societies previously established and the group served the African American community into the 1970s. The NCSAC had strong competition from the Spiritual churches, independent spiritualist churches that also emerged in the 1920s and grew strong over the years. The NCSAC continued into the 1970s but has not been heard from in recent years and its present status is unknown.


Murphy, Larry, J. Gordon Melton, and Gary L. Ward. Encyclopedia of African American Religion. New York: Garland, 1993.

The National Spiritualist Association of United States of America. One Hundredth Anniversary of Modern Spiritualism. The Author, 1948.

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National Colored Spiritualist Association of Churches

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National Colored Spiritualist Association of Churches