Elias Morris was born into a family of slaves on this day in 1855. At the close of the Civil War, his parents moved from Georgia to Tennessee and then on to Alabama. There Elias learned the shoemaking trade, and his natural organizational skills resulted in turning his employer’s small business into a financial success.

At the age of nineteen, Elias was born again and was baptized upon his profession of faith. Soon he was licensed to preach, and he moved west, spreading the gospel among the blacks wherever he found them. Eventually he was called and ordained as pastor of the Centennial Baptist Church in Helena, Arkansas. His godliness and knowledge of the Bible became so well-known that besides pastoring, he strengthened other churches, both black and white. He also founded the Arkansas Baptist College in which he served for twelve years and he encouraged other blacks to write and publish their sermons and articles.

Brother Morris would have nothing to do with churches which didn’t insist on a personal faith in Christ and which didn’t practice immersion in water for believers, requiring baptism prior to church membership. In his day each black church was totally independent, and yet they acted in unison in supporting missions. History shows that Elias Morris believed and practiced what our church does today. It is a joy to see Brother Morris’ ministry being carried on by others yet today.