Levi and Jewell Terrill Collection
Scope and Contents
This collection contains the papers and collected materials of the Reverend Levi Maurese Terrill and his wife Jewell Ann (Middlebrooks) Terrill, leaders in the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia (GMBCGA) and later in the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. (NBCUSA) The majority of the collection consists of items related to the organizations that Terrill was associated with, documenting the various programs and associations of the GMBCGA. Terrill’s personal materials contain general correspondence, class coursework from when he was a student, curriculum and teaching materials from his tenure as a professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center, and memorabilia from his travel and participation in various conferences around the world. Of note of in the Reverend’s materials are newspaper clippings documenting his work and advocacy for the Baptist church, along with handwritten sermons.
Jewell Terrill’s materials contain correspondence, memorabilia from travel, and programs, papers, and speeches from women’s institutes and associations of the GMBCGA and NBCUSA. Photographs document trips of the Reverend and Mrs. Terrill, notably one to London, and other images of people from the GMBCGA.
A bulk of the collection materials document the work of the GMBCGA and its various presidents and directors including C.C. Crawford, S. S. Broadnax, James H. Gadson, and D. A. Arnold. These materials contain a large amount of programs, reports and minutes of the numerous boards, auxiliaries, and associations associated with the GMBCGA. Of note in these materials are reports, land deeds, and correspondence relating to the creation and subsequent turmoil over the closing of Central City College in Macon, Georgia that was organized by the GMBCGA. Materials that document the NBCUSA are also contained in this collection with a variety of organizational materials and published works.
- Majority of material found within 1883 - 1976
All materials in this collection are either protected by copyright or are the property of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Levi Maurice Terrill (1899-1971), a Baptist minister, educator, and active member of the General Missionary Baptist Convention was born in Moberly Missouri September 18, 1899. He was the youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. William Terrill, who were the parents of another son, Louis, and a daughter Lola. Terrill moved with his family to Kansas City, Kansas at a young age, was converted to the Baptist church, and baptized at the age of five. It was said he was dedicated to God by his mother before he was born and was preaching to chickens before he was baptized. He joined the Walnut Grove Baptist Church and remained a member there until he came to Atlanta, Georgia in 1922 to enter Morehouse College, receiving a B.A. in 1928. Before attending Morehouse, he completed elementary and high school in Kansas City, and received a degree from the School of Pharmacy in Moberly, Missouri. He practiced pharmacy in Atlanta at the old Gate City Drug Store while attending Morehouse to help with expenses. He furthered his education later in life, receiving a B.D. in 1950 from Morehouse College, and a M.A from Atlanta University in 1951.
He was ordained into the ministry in Athens, Georgia at the First Baptist Church. His first pastorate was the Tremont Temple Baptist Church, Macon, Georgia from 1928-1936. While at Tremont Temple he was called to the Union Baptist Church in East Macon for a few months. He moved to the First Bryan Baptist Church in 1936 and served there until he was called to the Zion Hill Baptist Church in 1943. He remained at Zion Hill until his death, January 31, 1971.
His activities aside from the active pastorate included serving as Vice President of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia for twenty years and as President from 1959 until his death. He was also the first Director of the Morehouse School of Religion for several years, and Professor of Baptist History and Polity at the Interdenominational Theological Center from 1953-1962. He was elected Vice President of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A, Inc. in 1969, a promotion from assistant secretary- a position he held for many years.
Jewell Evelyn Middlebrooks (1907-1984) was born March 4, 1907 in Griffin, Georgia to James M. and Victoria Middlebrooks, and was baptized by Reverend William Bivins, pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Griffin at an early age. During her developing years she was a pianist for the Sunday School and the Baptist Young People’s Union, eventually being brought in as pianist with the Senior Choir, a position she held from 1919-1929. She attended the Normal School at Atlanta University where she graduated with a certificate and attended Savannah State College for one year.
On January 12, 1929, she married Levi Maurice Terrill, who was then the pastor of Macon’s Tremont Temple Baptist Church. They went on to have three children and many grandchildren. For forty two years she was a pastor’s wife, the first lady of the Tremont Temple Church, Savannah’s First Bryant Church and Atlanta’s Zion Hill Baptist Church. For twelve years she was the first lady of the 500,000 member General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, Inc. She established a strong record of service, while serving as president of the Women’s Department of the Atlanta Baptist Association; eleven years as the President of the Women’s Department of the Original Metropolitan Baptist Association; eight years on the faculty of the National Baptist Sunday School and B.T.U. Congress; Lecturer in the Young People’s Department of the General Missionary Baptist Sunday School and B.T.U. Congress; assistant recording secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A, Inc.; Secretary of Fraternal Council of Church Women; President, 5th district, Women’s Division of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, Inc.; and President of the Georgia State Association of Minister’s Wives, Interdenominational. Her husband (January 1971) and daughter Victoria (October 1978) preceded her in death. She died in 1984.
Levi and Jewell Terrill had deep ties to Black Baptists in Georgia, which has been the largest African American religious group since the late 18th century. This group started when travelling preachers first brought the Baptist message to Georgia during the American revolution (1775-1783). Worship was mixed at first, but quickly became segregated, leaving Blacks to worship clandestinely, only becoming organized and independent during reconstruction. A Georgia convention was organized in 1870 and is perpetuated in some degree in the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia (GMBC) and the New Era Baptist Convention. Founded in 1870 in Augusta, Georgia, The General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia is the largest organization of African Americans in the state of Georgia. The original purpose of the Convention was to bring Black Baptists together for Christian education and fellowship throughout the state. GMBC is affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. which represents over 8.6 million Black Baptists throughout the world.
References: Biographical materials in collection http://okra.stanford.edu/transcription/document_images/Vol03Scans/367_14-Sept-1956_To%20L%20M%20Terrill.pdf
50.7 Linear feet (collection containing 50.7 linear feet of manuscripts (51 manuscript boxes and 27 oversized boxes), and 3 audio recordings.)
Language of Materials
Collection is arranged in six series: Reverend Levi Maurese Terrill, Jewell A. (Middlebrooks) Terrill, General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, National Baptist Conference, U.S.A., Printed and Published Materials, and Audiovisual Materials.
Oversized materials have been separated to appropriate housing.
The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment for Humanities - Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Implementation Project Grant in supporting the processing and digitization of a number of its major archival collections as part of the project: Spreading the Word: Expanding Access to African American Religious Archival Collections at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library
- Levi and Jewell Terrill collection. 1883-1976
- Finding aid prepared by Jessica Leming, March, 2017
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository