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George A. Sewell papers

 Collection — Box: 1-59
Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0103

Scope note

The collection dates span the years from 1881 and 1990. The bulk of the collection dates from 1960 to 1983, and documents Sewell’s career as a professor, pastor, and author. The George A. Sewell papers include materials related to the African Methodist Episcopal Church and his time as pastor and minister in multiple congregations, his time as educator at Morris Brown College, the Interdenominational Theological Center, and Alcorn A.& M. College (Alcorn State University), and his work as an author.

This collection consists of his personal papers including genealogical information, awards, and programs featuring Sewell, along with correspondence and memorabilia from his wife, Lillie Sewell. The bulk of the materials are related to his time as a minister in the AME church, author, and educator, which includes legislative records, reports, committee work, church bulletins, and programs of the AME Church, along with class syllabi, assignments, and course work from his time at Morris Brown College, ITC, and Alcorn A.&M. College (Alcorn State University). Sermons, speeches, book drafts, his personal school work, and articles he authored are also included. The collection also contains writings by others, biographical and subject files on matters of interest to Sewell, printed materials, and photographs.


  • 1881-1990
  • Majority of material found within 1960-1983


Access Restrictions

This collection contains grade books from the University Materials series. These items are restricted papers and not available for review unless the individual has granted permission to the researcher.

Rights Statement

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

Biographical note

George Alexander Sewell (b. 1910-d. 1983) was born in Newman, Georgia to Pearl (Clark) and James Otis Sewell. At the age of two months, his family moved to East Point near Atlanta, Georgia, where he grew up the oldest of four siblings. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1930, he attended Morris Brown College where he earned his A.B. degree in French and Social Science in 1934. While a student at Morris Brown, he became the co-founder and first editor of the Wolverine Observer, the official student newspaper. After graduating from Morris Brown College, Sewell worked as a principal and teacher in the Jackson County Public schools in Jackson County, Florida from 1934 until 1942. He went on to receive his Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Boston University in 1944, followed by his S.T.M. in 1945 and his PH.D. in New Testament and Social Ethics in 1957.

As a professor, pastor, and author, Sewell worked throughout Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee fulfilling multiple roles as an educator and active member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Sewell served as the College Minister at Le Moyne College from 1945-1946. After which, He returned to his alma mater as an instructor of religion at Morris Brown College in 1946. He remained in Atlanta until 1962, where he was appointed Dean of Turner Theological Seminary (1957-1962) and a part-time professor of Greek and the New Testament at Gammon Theological Seminary. He then moved to Mississippi where he taught as a professor of Sociology and Social Science at Alcorn State University from 1962-1976. Sewell moved back to Atlanta after his tenure at Alcorn State and served as Morris Brown’s College Historian until his death in 1983.

Outside of his work as an educator, Sewell was a minister of the Eighth Episcopal District and pastored several churches in Mississippi, including, St. Peter, Fort Gibson, Pearl Street, Jackson, and Bethel AME Church. He was a member of the General Conference from 1956-1980 and chaired the Revisions Committee through the 1976 quadrenium. In 1980, he was elected to the General Conference Commission and served as the Secretary on the General Board of Education for the AME Church.

Throughout his career, Sewell was a frequent contributor to scholarly journals and professional magazines. He wrote numerous sermons, articles and several books including, A Motif for Living (1963), Mississippi Black History Makers (1977), Morris Brown College: The First Hundred Years (1981), and Where are you Going? (1983).

Sewell married Lillie Mae White on June 6, 1942. He and his wife had one daughter, Annita Sewell.


29.5 Linear feet

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into eight series: Personal Papers, AME Church Records, University Materials, Writings by Sewell, Writings by Others, Research Materials, Printed Materials, and Photographs.

George A. Sewell papers, 1900-1989
Finding aid authored by Sarah Tanner, 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


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