REV. M. C. B. MASON
senior corresponding secretary of the Freedmen’s Aid and Southern Education Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born of slave parents near Houma, La., March 27, 1859. In 1857, two years before young Mason was born, his father purchased his own freedom, paying $1,350. The papers were never legally made out and his father had to wait with other members of the family for the Emancipation Proclamation to secure their freedom.
Young Mason was twelve years of age before he had ever seen a school-house, having entered school in July, 1871, and mastered the alphabet the first day. Subsequently he attended a school of higher grade and in 1888 graduated from the New Orleans University from the regular classical course. Two years afterward he entered the Gammon Theological Seminary at Atlanta. Ga., graduating therefrom in 1891. Immediately after his graduation he matriculated in the Syracuse University, at Syracuse, N. Y., taking the “non-resident course” leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
In July of the same year he was elected Field Agent of the Freedmen’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, being the first colored man ever called to such a position. So successfully did he prosecute his work that at the General Committee meeting, which met in New York in 1893, he was elected Assistant Corresponding Secretary, and in May, 1896, at the General Conference in Cleveland, composed of 537 representatives, only 69 of whom were colored, he was elected Corresponding Secretary, with a majority of 104 votes against 11 competitors, all of whom were white. Four years later at the General Conference which assembled in Chicago, Dr. Mason was re-elected and made Senior Corresponding Secretary, receiving the largest vote ever given to any General Conference Secretary in the history of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This is all the more remarkable when it is remembered that there were 14 candidates in a body composed of 701 representatives, of whom only 73 were colored. It will be remembered also that the salary paid a General Conference Officer of the Methodist Episcopal Church is the same as that paid to the Bishops, and Dr. Mason is no exception to the rule.
The Doctor is quite a success as a money raiser and has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars during the ten years he has been connected with this great educational institution of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Freedmen’s Aid and Southern Educational Society has educated hundreds and thousands of men and women of our race, and has an average attendance of over seven thousand young men and women of color in its schools every year. Dr. Mason is thus brought in contact with more young men and women of the race than any other Negro in America. And the whole race is very largely indebted to him for the work which, through this institution, he is accomplishing.
As an orator the Doctor has no superiors, and few equals. He is in great demand all over the country, especially in the North. We are told that he has been offered $6,000 per year with a guarantee for ten years, if he would resign his present position and take the lecture platform. This offer he has constantly refused preferring to remain in the work where he can be more useful to his own people.
During a recent trip to Europe he was in constant demand for lectures in London, Glasgow, Belfast and among the English colony in France.