Father Divine Biography

Civil Rights Activist, Religious Figure (1880–1965)
Father Divine was a prominent African-American religious leader of the 1930s who founded the Peace Mission, an important precursor of the Civil Rights Movement.


Father Divine began his career in 1899 as an assistant to Father Jehovia, the founder of an independent religious group. In 1912 he left Father Jehovia and emerged several years later as the leader of what would become the Peace Mission movement. In 1933 Father Divine and his followers left Sayville for Harlem, where he became one of the most flamboyant leaders of the Depression era.

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