BISHOP JAMES WALKER HOOD
born in Kennett Township, Chester County, Pa., May 30, 1831. His father’s house being near the line between freedom and slavery was a station of the Underground Railroad. Hence, the boy was very early impressed with the evils of slavery and imbibed an intense hatred toward that institution, and an intense love for his afflicted race. This sentiment has been a great factor in shaping his conduct through life. His moral and religious convictions were fixed in early life. He was sensible of a call to the ministry, but hesitated a long time because he felt a lack of necessary qualification. He was licensed to preach in 1856; ordained a deacon in 1860; elder in 1862, and bishop in 1872. He entered upon a course of studies soon after he was licensed, and has been a hard student ever since.
His first appointment was to a mission in Nova Scotia. In December, 1861, he was appointed to missionary work in the South. Following the army, he reached New Berne, N. C., January 20, 1864. As a traveling minister he always had encouraging success, especially in North Carolina, in which State his denomination has a larger following than in any other. Two of its most important institutions are located there, namely, the Publication House at Charlotte and Livingstone College at Salisbury. Bishop Hood is one of the founders of the college, and has been President of the Board of Trustees during its entire history.
He has been married three times, and has six living children, all of whom have been mainly educated at this institution. The Bishop is an untiring worker, and has traveled as much as 20,000 miles a year. He once preached forty-five sermons in thirty-one days, driving from five to twenty-five miles a day. He is a natural presiding officer and governs his conferences with an ease and quietness that is astonishing.
He is an author. His first work was a book of twenty-five sermons. The second a pamphlet, “Know, Do, and Be Happy.” The third, a history of the A. M. E. Zion Church (625 pages).
The fourth a pamphlet, “The True Church, the Real Sacrifice, the Genuine Membership.” His fifth, and most important, is, “The Plan of the Apocalypse.” He has in manuscript, a work on the Millennium; also the material for a second book of sermons, and is now writing an Autobiography.
Bishop Haygood of the M. E. Church South, who wrote the introduction to the Book of Sermons, says: “Bishop Hood has traveled the continent to and fro. His ability, his eloquence, his zeal and usefulness, have commanded the respect and confidence of the best people of both races.
As one of the members of the Ecumenical Conference that met in London in 1881, Bishop Hood made a lasting impression.