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In 1879, Islay Walden, born enslaved and visually impaired, returned to North Carolina after a twelve-year odyssey in search of an education.  It was a journey that would take him from emancipation in Randolph County, North Carolina to Washington, D. C., where he earned a teaching degree from Howard University, then to the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, in New Jersey. Along the way, he published two volumes of poetry and founded two schools for African American children. Once ordained, he returned Randolph County, where he founded a Congregational church (Strieby Church) and common school. Despite an early death at age forty, he would leave an educational and spiritual legacy that endures to this day. Born Missionary uses Walden’s own words as well as reports from newspapers and church publications to follow his journey from enslavement to teacher, ordained minister, and community leader. 

Margo Lee Williams is a graduate of Marquette University, and has her M. A. in Sociology from Hunter College, and an M. A. in Religious Education from The Catholic University of America. She is a frequent lecturer for the Family History Centers in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area, and a former editor of the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.  She is particularly interested in the community and family histories of people of color in the southeast, especially those in North Carolina and Virginia. Born Missionary is her third book.


Opening Music: Sweet Mellow Spice by AK Alexander Productions




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