Benjamin James Whipper, Sr., papers
Scope and Contents
Series 1. Biographical and Personal Documents (1937-1999, and undated)holds papers and images pertaining to Whipper's recognition; writings and speeches; correspondence; education; career at the Charleston Naval Shipyard; business and real estate transactions; family documents; photographs and Reverend Whipper's funeral service.
Series 2. Ministerial Work (1937-2008, and undated)contains administrative documents; financial records; auxiliaries and committees; correspondence; sermons, church and pastor anniversary programs, and religious reference materials as it relates to the two churches Whipper pastored: Saint Matthew and Charity Baptist. The sub-series "Funeral Sermons and Service Programs contains obsequies programs with indivdual names of the deceased parishioners. Of note is the extensive collection of Reverend Whipper's mostly undated handwritten sermons; organized by books (Old and New Testaments), scriptures and occasions. Also included are drafts for a potential book containing selected sermons edited by his wife, Lucille, created posthumously approximately four years (2002) after his death.
Series 3. Religious Associations and Conventions (1949-1998, and undated) holds handwritten notes, correspondence, meeting minutes, financial reports, addresses and speeches, Annual Session minutes and programs, and various documents pertaining to Reverend Whipper's affliation with the Charleston County Baptist Association; the Charleston County Baptist Missionary Association; the Baptist Education and Missionary Convention of South Carolina (BEMCofSC), and the National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Inc., with their related educational institutions (Baptist Educational Center Foundation, Morris and Benedict Colleges), associations and auxiliaries.
Series 4. Churches (1865-1998, and undated) contains a variety of church anniversary booklets, special event programs, and Sunday Order of Worship program from local, state, and national churches. Several folders contain Reverend Whipper's handwritten sermons and/or speeches regarding church dedications, and anniversaries. Includes the sub-series: Charleston Area Baptist Churches; South Carolina Baptist Churches; National Baptist Churches, and Various Denominational Churches.
Series 5. Religious Organizations (1952-1999, and undated) contains Constitution and By-Laws, reports, invocations, typescripts, correspondence, rosters, certificates and event programs from the various religious based groups and educational institutions Reverend Whipper was affiliated with; many of which he held leadership positions in.
Series 6. Board of Directorships and Civic Involvement (1891-2000, and undated) holds Constitution and By-Laws, meeting minutes, reports, financial documents, correspondence, certificates, and event programs. Of note is Whipper's board of directorship is with The Orphan Aid Society/Jenkins Orphanage which contains extensive documents pertaining to property owned by the Society/Orphanage: Gabasie Manor Apartments (1988-1994), and Joseph Paul Apartments (1987-1992) in North Charleston.
Series 7. Artifacts and Audio Visual Materials (1970-2002, and undated) contains Revenend Whipper's altar communion set, and two boxes with audio tape cassettes, and VHS video recording tapes. The audio/visual recordings are from various religious entities including the National Baptist Convention (Annual Session convention proceedings, sermons, board meetings, and musicals) National Baptist Congress of Christian Education; South Carolina Congress; various minister sermons, and commerically published gospel music.
- approximately 1865-2008, undated
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Biographical / Historical
Benjamin James Whipper, Sr. was born on July 6, 1912 in Early Branch, South Carolina to Joseph and Katy Walker Whipper Campbell. He was reared in Charleston by his mother and step-father, Isaac Campbell.
Whipper received his early education in the Charleston County public school system, and studied at Morris College, Benedict College and Florida State University Extension, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Baptist College, in Charleston. In 1967, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Morris College.
The Reverend Whipper began his ministry after his ordination at Charity Baptist Church in 1936. In 1940, he accepted the call to become pastor of Saint Matthew Baptist Church, and in 1949, he became pastor of Charity Baptist. Reverend Whipper served these churches simultaneously until his retirement from Charity in 1996, and St. Matthew in 1997. Whipper was titled Pastor Emeritus, by both churches in tribute to his expansive and distinguished tenure.
Understanding the need for African-Americans to become more involved in the economic life of the community, he organized the B.J. Whipper and Associates for Economic Progress. This organization was created at St. Matthew to create a savings program allowing members to make loans among themselves at low interest rates and provide opportunities for long term investments for member's benefit.
Whipper was a co-founder of the Baptist Education Center Foundation, and served as its president from 1952 to 1962; and as director form 1973 to 1993. Under his leadership, the Center purchased its first building, and extended its educational activities. Among these programs was the training of students for the ministry. At the Center, Whipper served as Director of the Morris College Extension for ministerial students.
Whipper held numerous leadership positions under the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., including its state and local conventions and associations. Locally, he was the Moderator of the Charleston County Baptist Association from 1948 until his retirement in 1993. Under his tenure, the Charleston County Baptist Association became on the State's leading supporters of Morris College and was elected Trustee Emeritus in 1996.
With the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina, Whipper was treasurer intermittently between the years of 1962-1990. Serving on the Executive Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., Whipper held the position of Assistant Secretary of the Convention in 1974 to 1994, when her was elected Assistant Secretary Emeritus.
In addtion to being a pastor, Whipper was an Equal Opportunity Officer at the Charleston Naval Supply Center (1939-1972). Whipper also served the Charleston community in various capacities including functioning as a Board of Director with Jenkins Orphanage (Orphan Aid Society) and Foster Grandparents; member of the City of Charleston Election Commission, and Honorary Chairperson in the 1985 YWCA fund Drive. In the 1960s, Whipper initiated efforts to revitalize the Ministerial Alliance of Charleston. Additional membership affilations include the Suburban Masonic Lodge No. 213, Charleston Coalition for Black Voter Participation, and Beta Kappa Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
As a visionary community leader, Reverend Whipper established Charleston's first Head Start Program, and Operation Catch Up; a multi age tutorial program for adults to pass the GED to acquire their high school diplomas, and after school education for elementary and middle school students. Whipper also createddone of the first bus ministries among the Black churches of the area; and one of the oldest Boy Scout Troops in continuous operation in Charleston County.
Reverend Whipper was married to the late Nancy Bell Jackson in 1935, and parented five children. He married Lucille Simmons Edley in 1957, and raised Benjamin James Whipper, Jr., Ogretta Whipper-Hawkins, Rosmond Whipper-Black, J. Seth Whipper, Cheryl D. Whipper-Hamilton, D'Jaris D. Whipper-Lewis, and Stanford L. Edley.
The Reverend Dr. Benjamin James Whipper, Sr. passed on June 13, 1998.
30.0 linear feet (58 archival boxes )
Language of Materials
Benjamin James Whipper, Sr., (1912-1998), a minister, religious leader, educator, and civic activist. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Reverend Whipper pastored two churches, Charity Baptist (1949), and Saint Matthew Baptist (1940). Whipper was the Moderator of the Charleston County Baptist Association; the treasurer with the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina; and the Assistant Secretary on the Executive Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.(NBC-USA).
Reverend Whipper was the co-founder of the Baptist Education Center Foundation,and served as Director of the Morris College Extension for ministerial students. Additionally, Whipper was an Equal Opportunity Officer at the Charleston Naval Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, (1939-1972). Civically he served on the Board of Directors of Christian Book Stores/Church Furnishings Corporation, and Jenkins Orphanage (Orphan Aid Society); and a member of the City of Charleston Election Commission, among other organizations. As a visionary community leader, Whipper established Charleston's first Head Start Program, and a multi-age tutorial program, Operation Catch Up.
This collection holds seven series (with numerous sub-series) which highlight's Reverend Whipper's ministerial work, religious affiliations, personal life, and Board of Directorships and Civic Involvement. The "Ministerial Work" series details his involvement as a pastor of Saint Matthew and Charity Baptist, with administrative documents, financial records, church and pastor anniversary programs, and religious reference materials. This series also holds an extensive amount of Whipper's handwritten sermons (organized by Bible books: Old and New Testaments; scriptures and occasions). Also included are drafts for a potential book containing selected sermons edited by his wife, Lucille, created posthumously approximately four years (2002) after his death. The "Religious Associations and Conventions" series features Reverend Whipper's work with the Charleston County Baptist Association (Charleston County Baptist Missionary Association); the Baptist Education and Missionary Convention of South Carolina (BEMC), and the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc., with their related educational institutions (Baptist Education Center Foundation, Morris and Benedict Colleges), associations and auxiliaries. The series holds handwritten notes, correspondence, financial reports, speech transcripts, and Annual Session programs. As Reverend Whipper's role as Assistant Secretary for the NBC-USA, there is an significant collection of handwritten Annual Session meeting minutes (1974-1994). The remaining series holds documents pertaining to Whipper's education, career at the Charleston Naval Shipyard, business and real estate transactions, family documents and photographs, various religious organizations, his Board of Directorships and civic involvement, and audio-visual material, mostly related to the NBC-USA, its assoications and auxiliaries.
Other Finding Aids
Lucille Simmons Whipper Papers ANM 1146
- African American churches
- African Americans -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Religion
- Associations, institutions, etc. -- South Carolina
- Baptist Education Center Foundation (North Charleston, S.C.)
- Baptist Educational & Missionary Convention of South Carolina
- Benedict College
- Boards of directors
- Charity Baptist Church (Charleston, S.C.)
- Charleston (S.C.)
- Charleston County (S.C.)
- Charleston County Baptist Association (S.C.)
- Civic leaders -- South Carolina -- Charleston
- Community organization
- Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (Charleston, S.C.)
- Jenkins Orphanage Institute (Charleston, S.C.)
- Morris College (Sumter, S.C.)
- National Baptist Convention of the United States of America
- Orphan Aid Society (Charleston, S.C.)
- Special events
- St. Matthew Baptist Church (Charleston, S.C.)
- Whipper, Benjamin James, 1912-1998
- Whipper, Lucille, 1928-2021
- financial records
- notes (documents)
- Inventory of the Benjamin James Whipper, Sr., Papers, approximately 1865-2008, undated
- Georgette Mayo
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English
Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository
125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States