The Right Reverend Henry Beard Delany, 1858-1928

Born to a Methodist family as a slave in St. Mary’s Georgia, Henry Delany attended and graduated from St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, which was founded by prominent Episcopal clergy for the education of freed slaves and where Delany later became vice principal. Ordained a deacon in 1889 and a priest three years later, Delany served as a member of the national Church’s Commission for Work among Colored People from 1889 to 1904, and as Archdeacon for Colored Work in the Diocese of North Carolina in 1908. He was consecrated in 1918 as Suffragan Bishop for Colored Work in North Carolina and charged with the responsibility of serving the Church’s black population, in support of the Church’s plan to establish separate, independent churches for African Americans. As Suffragan, his duties carried over to the dioceses of East and Western North Carolina, South Carolina, and Upper South Carolina.

Delany was a strong advocate for keeping African American Episcopalians united with the Church despite southern Jim Crow laws and practices of segregation within the Church. At the time, his consecration was viewed as an important achievement for African Americans even though a Suffragan Bishop had little authority in the Episcopal Church. [Sources]