Document Type

Finding Aid

Publication Date


Inclusive Dates--Span


Inclusive Dates--Bulk


Scope and Content Note

The collection provides first-person stories of the development of the early African American Churches of Christ, race relations, and family histories of many of the early African American evangelists either in their own words or from the memories of people that knew them well.

The papers include interviews conducted by R. Vernon Boyd with Floyd Rose, Mrs. Walter Balloon, John Flowers, R.N. Hogan, and Samuel/Mattie Garner. Processed material includes 5 mini audio tapes, a cassette player/recorder, 15 original cassette tapes containing the interviews (15 copied cassettes of that material), and a disk containing the interviews of Floyd Rose, Mrs. Walter Balloon, John Flowers, and R.N. Hogan. In addition the collection houses paper files that consist of written files, transcripts of interviews, notes, and related materials. The collection also contains Vernon Boyd's personal correspondence and a collection of various church bulletins.

Biographical Note

Reece Vernon Boyd (1932-2016) became interested in Restoration history and the development of African American Churches of Christ through his ministerial work in racial reconciliation in Chicago during the sixties. This interest led him to a study of early African American evangelists from the South and their connection with the growth of the churches particularly in the Chicago and Detroit areas. His first book, Undying Dedication: The Story of G. P. Bowser (1986), chronicled the life of G. P. Bowser, an early African American evangelist in the Churches of Christ. His latest book, A History of the Stone-Campbell Churches in Michigan (2009), traces the establishment and growth of Churches of Christ in the state. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lipscomb University and three degrees in Bible from Harding University Graduate School of Religion. His preaching career took him from his birthplace in Tennessee to Mississippi, Illinois and finally to Michigan. In the late sixties, he was the minister of the Stony Island Church of Christ in Chicago and from 1971 until his retirement in 2001 he ministered at the Strathmoor-Oakland Church of Christ in Michigan. As part of the research for his books, Boyd interviewed numerous prominent African American elders and evangelists beginning in the 1960s. Although many of the tapes were lost due to vandalism of his office in Detroit, he donated the remaining collection of interviews and information he preserved to Abilene Christian University in 2009.

Donor Note

Vernon and Alice Boyd and family


The material remains in the order in which it was received and is housed in seven series:

Series I: Correspondence
Series II: Sermons
Series III: Oral histories
Series IV: Church bulletins
Series V: Personal files
Series VI: Audio
Series VII: Photographs

Content List

See PDF finding aid for folder inventory.


Race relations – Church of Christ, History - Church of Christ, African American history – Church of Christ, Restoration Movement - history, G.P. Bowser, Marshall Keeble, Silver Point School – Tennessee, Southwestern Christian College – history, Southern Christian Institute – history, Christian Echo, Civil Rights, Joseph Campau Church of Christ, R. Vernon Boyd, Norman Adamson, Carl Baccus, Mrs. Walter Balloon, John R. Flowers, Susy Minor Bynam (Mrs. D.J.), Samuel Garner, Mattie Garner, Richard Nathaniel Hogan, Andrew Clarence Holt, Sam Holt, Marion F. Holt, Thelma Bowser Holt, Levi Kennedy, John Kolb, Floyd Rose, G. E. Steward, Carl Swanigan, Orum Lee Trone, John Steve Winston, Robert Woods, Parson Ricks, Alexander Campbell (African American evangelist)



Extent of Collection

30 linear feet (20 boxes)

Manuscript Number

Center for Restoration Studies Manuscripts #73

Physical Location

Center for Restoration Studies

Use Restrictions

Open to researchers. Contact Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives to make an appointment.

Processing Status


Finding Aid created by

Ron Longwell, Mary Lee Bartlett, Audrey Schaffner, Amanda Dietz, Mac Ice, Brady Cox, Avery Reinoehl, Brianna Mullins

Subjects--Personal Names

Hogan, R.N; Rose, Floyd; Balloon, Mrs. Walter; Flowers, John; Busby, Thomas H.


Please contact us with questions about our holdings or to schedule a research visit.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.