Rev. William Moncure Alexander:

First-Rate, Second-Tier Leadership

As with their counterparts in other cities, at other times, there existed among Baltimore's black elite a hierarchy of leadership. While the divisions of rank were neither hard nor fixed, recognition of such divisions imparts a deeper understanding of the interrelations of elite groups. Within the cadre of pastors serving the city's black communities, intradenominational clout often translated into the secular world. As such, men like Rev. William Moncure Alexander (left) often allowed deference to their mentors in the Baptist faith, Rev. Dr. Harvey Johnson, for example. Each man made sizeable and significant contributions on their own. But because of the intradenominational power structure, Alexander was often perceived as part of a second-tier of Baptist activists, behind Johnson. Image Source
William Moncure Alexander (1852? - 1919) came to serve the burgeoning community of African Americans in northwest Baltimore at the point when that section of the city was opening to them in the 1880s. For more than thirty years, from his base at Sharon Baptist Church, he worked for their spiritual and material well-being. While much of his activity took place on a smaller stage than some of the older, more established leaders, the quality and importance of his service was recognizable to all. His activity and activism reached not only into the lives of the poor and young of Baltimore City, but across the seas to the lands of Africa and the islands of the Caribbean.

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Copyright February 03, 1998 Maryland State Archives