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3 Prominent African American Baha'is

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

In the history of the Baha'i Faith, there are thousands of eminent and important figures. Here are 3 who have impacted the world and the Baha'i community in their own ways.

The Second African American to go into Space

Dr McNair was born on 21st October 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina, and had to battle with racism and discrimination from a very early age.

The second of three boys born to Carl, a mechanic, and Pearl, a teacher, McNair displayed an early aptitude for technical matters, earning the nickname "Gizmo." READ MORE >

The first African American Baha’i in America

Robert Turner (1855-1909) was one of 19 Disciples of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the first African American Baha’i in America.

Robert first heard of the Bahá’í Faith while accompanying Phoebe Hearst (his employer) on a trip to Paris when Lua Getsinger visited Phoebe and spoke about the religion. He listened to Lua while serving tea, and remained to hear her talk, and both Phoebe and Robert became Bahá’ís in July or August 1898 after returning to California. READ MORE >

The first African American Rhodes Scholar

Alain LeRoy Locke (1885-1954), the first black Rhodes Scholar and a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, became a Bahá’í in 1918. Locke is arguably the most profound and important western Bahá'í philosopher to date. Gayle Morrison rightly calls him "the outstanding black intellectual" among the early Bahá'ís. READ MORE >

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