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John A. Gregg

John A. Gregg, pictured on leftA.M.E. Bishop, educator.  Born: February 18, 1877, Eureka, Kansas.  Married: Celia Ann Nelson, 1900.  Melberta McFarland, 1945.  Died: February 17, 1953, Jacksonville, Florida.

Born February 18, 1877, in Eureka, Kansas, to Alexander and Eliza F. Gregg, John Andrew Gregg grew up in the Lawrence area.

During the Spanish-American War, Gregg served with the 23rd Kansas Volunteers and within six months was promoted from the rank of sergeant to that of lieutenant, one of few African Americans to reach that rank at that time. In 1898 he entered both the ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the University of Kansas. 

Shortly after receiving his bachelor's degree, he applied for the A.M.E.'s overseas service.  He was sent to South Africa as a teacher and administrator.  He returned in 1906 and served congregations in Leavenworth and St. Joseph, Missouri, before assuming the presidency of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1913.  He served as the president of Wilberforce University from 1920 to 1924 when he was elected bishop of the A.M.E. Church. 

He again served in South Africa, returning in 1928 and assuming responsibility for several episcopal districts.  In the early 1940s the A.M.E. church, along with the C.M.E. church and National Baptist Convention, formed the Fraternal Council of Negro Churches.  As the representative of the Fraternal Council of Negro Churches, Gregg visited all war fronts under the appointment of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  His visits were intended to boost morale of African American soldiers and promote racial harmony.  As a result of his visits, he was awarded the Army's Award of Merit.

Bishop Gregg died in Jacksonville, Florida on February 17, 1953.

Entry: Gregg, John A.

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: April 2009

Date Modified: January 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.