Date of Award





Master of Art in History

Degree Type

Master of Arts


History and Geography

First Advisor

Gary Sprayberry

Second Advisor

Sarah Bowman

Third Advisor

Joseph Miller


Addie Graves (1922-2007) grew up in Wilcox County, Alabama, which at the time was a center of Lutheran African-American missions. After moving to Columbus, Georgia, in the early 1950s, she became the first black member of a Lutheran church in the city (Lutheran Church of the Redeemer). This is significant because most other churches in Columbus did not desegregate until decades later. It was also prior to any official desegregation action by the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod. She could have joined a different church, but she evidently felt strongly about her Lutheran faith and identity. In 1963, she helped establish Bethlehem Lutheran Church in her neighborhood, seeking to spread the gospel and benefit her neighbors. She did this, not out of an identification with Black Lutheranism, but because of her confessional, theologically conservative Lutheran faith.

Included in

History Commons