Missionary to Africa, Now Lecturing in This Country

February 11, 1905


Reverend William Sheppard returns to Richmond and speaks about his missionary work in Africa at white and black churches.


That of the Negro race in Virginia there should be raised up two such men as Booker Washington and William H. Sheppard is a marvel. Of the two, Sheppard is the more remarkable man. In the centre, almost, of the continent of Africa, the home of the Negro, he and his fellow missionaries have accomplished a work of untold benefit to his race.

On Sunday he told the simple story, eloquent in its simplicity, of his work for the last fourteen years at Lucbo and Ibanj. Congo Free State. He spoke in the morning to an immense audience in the Jackson Street Methodist Church; in the afternoon at the Central Presbyterian Church, and in the evening at Westminster Church. Despite the falling snow the church was filled at an early hour with eager and expectant hearers. Chairs were placed in the aisles and around the pulpit. Many stood along the walls in the galleries. With no attempt to be oratorical he placed before his hearers missionary life in its every day dress. Were he merely a traveller or an explorer the honors of the world would be laid at his feet. As he is simply a missionary the privilege of placing “Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society” after his name is only an incident. But it is significant that this society should confer its honor in recognition of merit wherever found. The Royal Geographical Society is one of the great scientific societies of London. It numbers among its members men eminent as explorers and path-finders of the world. It is also significant that. Sheppard, “the missionary” is heard by intelligent audiences of white people in Lynchburg and elsewhere; who recognize him as one of the true servants of the church in carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth.

His wife is a true help meet in his work. She sang with simple pathos and deep feeling hymns which, though in the dialect of an African tribe were also in the language of the heart.

She speaks this afternoon to ladies and children at the Westminster Presbyterian church.

Rev. William H. Sheppard, the missionary will speak this evening at 8 o’clock in the Diamond Hill Baptist Church, and tomorrow evening at the Jackson Street Methodist Church.

Rev. Sheppard has preached at many of the white churches in this city and absolutely no discrimination has been made against him. He is a pleasing speaker and his recitals are of far reaching interest. We shall deal further with his story. His wife is accomplished and of untold assistance to him. His mother resides in Staunton, Va. and he is a resident of that place. He has been in Africa fourteen years.
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Ryan Shah




“Missionary to Africa, Now Lecturing in This Country,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed January 18, 2022, https://blackvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/317.