Pieces of Our Past
July 20, 2012
Artifact: Photograph, New Members, Saint Philip Lutheran Church (Chicago, Illinois)
Date: 13 July 1924
Significance: This photograph show the Rev. Marmaduke Carter with three boys – Harold, Charles and Donald Graves – at their baptism at Saint Philip Lutheran Church, the first Lutheran mission congregation for African Americans in Chicago. It was 135 years ago on 18 July 1877 that the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, of which the Missouri Synod was a large part, began mission work directed toward African Americans.
About Rev. Carter: Marmaduke Nathaniel Carter (b. 1881; d. 1961) followed in his father’s footsteps as a Lutheran pastor. In 1906 he began serving as a teacher for the Synodical Conference’s Board for Colored Missions (as it was called at the time) and taught in mission schools in North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. In 1917, while teaching in Rosebud, Alabama, Carter was ordained in the Synodical Conference and became the pastor at Rosebud. He was called on to tour the member churches of the Synodical Conference, preaching and lecturing (often in German) about mission work among African Americans in the South before settling in Chicago in 1924 to start a mission there. He remained at that congregation – Saint Philip – until his retirement. Marmaduke Carter’s mission work spanned more than fifty years, thirty-three of which were at Saint Philip.
Carter was the author of Lutheran Customs: A Popular Presentation of Some Practices of the Lutheran Church (Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1946) in which he explained many Lutheran practices that might be unfamiliar to those new to the church, especially African Americans.