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Reverend John T. Enwright papers

 Collection
Identifier: AMN 1087

Collection Overview

The collection contains sermons, speeches, correspondence, organizational records, programs and other items related to the personal life and pastoral work of Reverend John T. Enwright.

The collection is divided into five series:

1. Personal Papers include Enwright's correspondence, financial documents, programs and invitations, and other material related to his non-professional activities and family life.

2. Ministerial Work includes sermons and speeches, correspondence, programming, and administration relating to Enwright's position as pastor of Beecher Memorial United Church of Christ and Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ. Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ is heavily represented, and includes materials relating to Enwright's acceptance of the pastorate and transition from New Orleans, Louisiana to Charleston, South Carolina; the construction of a new building and the church's relocation from 41 Pitt Street to 124 Spring Street in Charleston; Sunday services, special programming, and annual anniversary celebrations; and other materials. A significant portion of this series reflects Enwright's involvement in the Congregational Christian Churches and United Church of Christ, as well as the Convention of the South, Southeast Conference, and Georgia-South Carolina Association -- regional bodies within those organizations. These materials relate to the unification of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church; meetings, conferences, and conventions; domestic and international missionary work; and social and racial justice, especially through the Board of Homeland Ministries.

3. Civic Involvement represents Enwright's association with a number of community organizations in Charleston, South Carolina. Correspondence, organizational records, and other materials relate to his work with the Shaw Community Center; Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA); Concerned Clergy Committee; Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance; Political Action Committee; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Economic Opportunity Commission; and Community Organization Federal Credit Union, of which he was co-founder. Materials also document Enwright's involvement in statewide initiatives, such as the South Carolina Council on Human Relations and South Carolina Commission for Farm Workers, Inc.

4. Audio Material includes long-playing (LP) records containing religious music and speeches, sheet music collected throughout Enwright's lifetime, and music used in children's church programs.

5. Publications and Clippings includes publications and newspaper and magazine clippings relating to the interests of Reverend John and Eula Enwright, such as religious and inspirational publications; clippings related to Charelston-area events and people; the deaths of Harry S. Truman and Henry Ford; and 1950s women's advice columns.

Collection Arrangement 1. Personal Papers, 1935-1975

2. Ministerial Work, 1884-1975

3. Civic Involvement, 1949-1974

4. Audio Material, circa 1960s

5. Publications and Clippings, circa 1940s-1960s

Dates

  • 1884-1975

Creator

Language of Materials

Material is in English

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Reverend John T. Enwright

Reverend John Thomas Enwright (1904-1975), an African American minister, was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He received a Bachelor of Science from Clark College in 1925 and a Bachelor of Divinity from Gammon Theological Seminary in 1932, both in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1929, he married Eula Chatfield. The couple had one child, Florence Enwright Miller. Enwright served the pastorate at the First Congregational Church at the Dorchester Center in McIntosh, Georgia; the First Congregational Church in Greensboro, North Carolina; Beecher Memorial Congregational Church in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1949, Rev. John Enwright was called to the pastorate at Plymouth Congregational Church (now known as Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ), where he served until retirement. One of Enwright's largest endeavors was to move the church from its location on Pitt Street northwest in order to attract more members. The new building at 124 Spring Street was dedicated on April 6, 1958.

In 1957, the Congregational Christian Churches and Evangelical and Reformed Church merged to form the United Church of Christ. Enwright was active in both the Congregational Christian Churches and the United Church of Christ, attending conferences and maintaining regular correspondence with professionals from many regions of the United States. In the early 1950s, Enwright served as president of the Convention of the South of the Congregational Christian Churches (known later as the Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ).

Enwright was heavily involved in the community, and his work especially focused on improving the lives of the least privileged families in Charleston. He was involved in a number of youth-oriented community organizations, including the Shaw Community Center, of which he was director, and the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), and worked to address issues of juvenile delinquency within the city. He was also involved in a number of social justice organizations, including the Concerned Clergy Committee (especially in response to the 1969 Hospital Workers' Strike), the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, the Political Action Committee, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Interested in economic security, he was an active member of the Economic Opportunity Commission and co-founder of Community Organization Federal Credit Union. He also was involved with the South Carolina Council on Human Relations and South Carolina Commission for Farm Workers, Inc.

In 1974, after 25 years of service to Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Reverend John T. Enwright retired. He died the following November.

Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ

In 1861, shortly after the commencement of the Civil War, the Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, South Carolina was destroyed by fire. Frustrated by lack of voting rights within the church, the African American portion of the congregation did not return to worship after the structure was rebuilt. In 1867, these African Americans established the Plymouth Congregational Church, which was originally comprised of former members of the Circular Congregational Church.

In 1868, Plymouth Congregational Church held its first service in the chapel of the Avery Normal Institute, and in 1872, the congregation dedicated its first building at 41 Pitt Street. Plymouth Congregational Church had close ties to the Avery Normal Institute: many of its ministers were principals of Avery, and sometimes services were conducted in Avery's chapel when the regular church building was unavailable.

In 1957, when the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches of the United States merged to form the United Church of Christ, Plymouth's name changed to Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ. In 1958, under the direction of Reverend John Thomas Enwright, a new structure was erected at 124 Spring Street, where, as of 2011, the congregation continues to meet.

Extent

8.0 linear feet (16 archival boxes)

Abstract

Reverend John Thomas Enwright (1904-1975), an African American minister, served the congregation at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Charleston, South Carolina from 1949 to 1974. A public figure as well as a religious leader, Enwright was also heavily involved in Charleston-area community organizations.

The collection documents Reverend Enwright's personal life, ministerial work, and civic involvement from the 1930s to 1975. Personal papers document Enwright's non-professional activities and family life. includes sermons and speeches, correspondence, programming, and administration relating to Enwright's position as pastor of Beecher Memorial United Church of Christ and Plymouth Congregational Church (later Plymouth Congregation United Church of Christ), and includes sermons and speeches delivered throughout his career. Major topics related to Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ include the relocation of the church, Sunday services, and special programming. A significant portion of this series reflects Enwright's involvement in the Congregational Christian Churches and United Church of Christ, as well as the Convention of the South, Southeast Conference, and Georgia-South Carolina Association -- regional bodies within those organizations. These materials relate to the unification of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church; meetings, conferences, and conventions; domestic and international missionary work; and social and racial justice, especially through the Board of Homeland Ministries. Correspondence, organizational records, and other materials relate to Enwright's work with racial and social justice organizations and youth programs, such as the Concerned Clergy Committee (especially in response to the 1969 Hospital Workers' Strike); Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance; Political Action Committee; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Economic Opportunity Commission; and Community Organization Federal Credit Union, of which he was co-founder. Materials also document Enwright's involvement in statewide initiatives, such as the South Carolina Council on Human Relations and South Carolina Commission for Farm Workers, Inc. A small portion of the collection contains church-related audio recordings, religious sheet music, publications, and newspaper clippings.

Collection Arrangement

1. Personal Papers, 1935-1975

2. Ministerial Work, 1884-1975

3. Civic Involvement, 1949-1974

4. Audio Material, circa 1960s

5. Publications and Clippings, circa 1940s-1960s

Special Formats

Oversized Paper Folders: 1087-OPF/1 through 4

Audio Recordings: 1087-LP/1 through 5B

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Farrell with Amanda Ross, Andrew Grimball, T.J. Fielder, and Mia Fischer, May 2011

Encoded by Jessica Farrell, May 2011

Edited by Amanda Ross, May 2011

Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the collection processing and encoding of this finding aid.

Title
Inventory of the Reverend John T. Enwright Papers, 1884 - 1975
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by: Jessica Farrell with Amanda Ross, Andrew Grimball, T.J. Fielder, and Mia Fischer; machine-readable finding aid created by: Jessica Farrell
Date
© 2011
Description rules
DACS
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English
Sponsor
Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the collection processing and encoding of this finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository

Contact:
125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States
843-953-7608