Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. John Saillant

Second Advisor

Dr. Ross Gregory

Third Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Wilson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Brian Wilson


James K. Humphrey was a Baptist minister who joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church shortly after migrating to the United States from Jamaica at the tum of the twentieth century. A leader of uncommon skill and charisma, Humphrey ministered in Harlem, New York, during the period the area became the Black capital of the United States, leading his congregation to a position of primacy in the Greater New York Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Yet Humphrey believed that the African American experience in Adventism was one of disenfranchisement, a problem he attempted to ameliorate with the establishment of the Utopia Park Benevolent Association. When Humphrey refused to abort or alter his plans at the request of Seventh-day Adventist church leaders, his credentials were revoked and his congregation expelled from the denomination. Subsequently, Humphrey established an independent Black religious organization, the United Sabbath-Day Adventists.

This study focuses on the ministerial tenure of James K. Humphrey, as a Seventh-day Adventist and later as a Sabbath-Day Adventist pastor. The study: (a) explores Humphrey's social and political world, (b) examines West Indian-American relations in Harlem during the early twentieth century, (c) traces the African American experience in the Seventh-day Adventist church up to 1930, ( d) investigates the Utopia Park affair, and (e) surveys the church history of the Sabbath Day Adventists both during and after the leadership of Humphrey. Cultural history

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only