Three African American Bishops of the United Methodist Church
Bridwell Library, Entry Hall
The Methodist Studies Archive at Bridwell Library includes the personal papers of three African American United Methodist bishops: Ernest T. Dixon, Jr. (1922–1996), William Talbot Handy, Jr. (1924–1998), and Rhymes H. Moncure, Jr. (1945–2006). These collections are being highlighted as part of the Black Archives Matter at SMU Initiative in the spring of 2018.
The items in this exhibition represent the ministries of three barrier-breaking church leaders. Dixon was the first African American elected to the office of bishop in the South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church (UMC). Handy was the first African American hired in an executive capacity at The United Methodist Publishing House. He later served as the bishop of the Missouri Area of the UMC. Moncure was the first African American bishop to lead the Dallas Area of the UMC. He had previously served the Nebraska Area as bishop. All three bishops worked to dismantle the power of racism in church and society. Their ministries blended religious faith with social justice and concern for the well-being of those on the margins of society.