Dr. Vada Somerville, Dr. Harold Kingsley, and Clarence Muse at a dinner event, probably for Pilgrim House, 1950s
- Dr. Vada Somerville, Dr. Harold Kingsley, and Clarence Muse at a dinner event, probably for Pilgrim House, 1950s
- Alternative title
- Somerville community activities (1)
- Sheffield Photo
- Date Created
Miriam Matthews Photograph Collection
Harold M. Kingsley was a Congregational minister and political activist. Born in Mobile, Alabama, he was the son of a wealthy white man and a poor black woman. He graduated from Talladega College (1908), and Yale Divinity School (1911). He was the pastor of Bethel Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the Union Congregational Church in Newport, Rhode Island (1911 to 1913), then with the American Missionary Association (AMA) (1913-1920). After serving as a pastor in Cleveland, Kingsley went to Good Shepherd Church in Chicago (1927-1943) where he led the church in providing social welfare services and encouraging community development. Kingsley then moved to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles where he served as director of Pilgrim House (1943-1951). He arrived when nearly all of the Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals were in internment camps, and was a vocal opponent of their incarceration and made strides to reintegrate the group into the community upon their return. Kingsley continued to be active in California race relations for the remainder of his life and actively promoted harmonious race relations between blacks, whites, Chicano, and Japanese.
Dr. Vada Somerville (born Vada Jetmore Watson) of Pomona graduated from USC, married dentist John Alexander Somerville (1912), was the first African American woman and the second African American person to graduate from USC School of Dentistry (1918), and was the first African American woman certified to practice dentistry in the state of California. She was a civil rights activist, highly involved in several civic and community organizations.
Clarence Muse was an African American vaudevillian, actor, singer, screenwriter, director, composer, and lawyer. Muse was the first African American to "star" in a film. He acted for more than sixty years, and appeared in more than 200 movies.
Dr. Vada Somerville seated at a banquet table (2nd from left), beside Dr. Harold Kingsley, founder and director of Pilgrims' House. The actor, Clarence Muse, and his wife Willabelle Verble, are in the front row of standing people (4th and 3rd from right).
- 1 photograph
- Portrait photographs
- Subject topic
African American actors
African American dentists
African American civil rights workers
African American businesspeople
Somerville, Vada, 1885-1972
Kingsley, Harold M., 1887-1970
Verble, Willabelle, 1895-1982
Pilgrim House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
- Subject geographic
- Los Angeles (Calif.)
- Resource type
- still image