From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Wesley, Charles H.

(born: 1891  -  died: 1987) 

Charles H. Wesley was an educator. He received his B.A. from Fisk University in 1911, his M.A. from Yale in 1913, and a Ph.D in history from Harvard. Wesley was the third African American to receive a doctorate in history from Harvard. As a professor, he taught history and modern language at Howard University. He later became president of Wilberforce University and Central State College [now Central State University] in Ohio. Wesley was president of the Study of Negro Life and History, 1950-1965, and executive director up to 1972. He was an AME Church minister and elder. Wesley wrote a number of articles on the problems of Negro education in the United States. In 1927 he published Negro Labor in the United States, 1850-1925, and, in 1935, Richard Allen, Apostle of Freedom. Wesley wrote the history of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity for seven decades. His last book was The History of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs.

Charles H. Wesley was born in Louisville, KY. He was the son of Matilda Harris Wesley, who was mistakenly listed as a widow in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census when she and her son Charles lived on 9th Street with Matilda's father, Douglas Harris, and other family members. Matilda Harris Wesley was not a widow in 1900; her husband (or ex-husband) Charles Snowden Wesley is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as a single man; he was living with his parents, Mary H. and J. H. Taylor, on 9th Street in Louisville and was employed at an undertakers' business. Charles S. Wesley died in April of 1902, according to information provided to Ms. C. P. Uzelac of the Dorothy Porter Wesley Center, Inc. His death date is given as April 28, 1904 in the Kentucky Death Index for Jefferson County, KY. 

For more see Who's Who Among Black Americans, 6th ed.; Notable Black American Men, by J. C. Smith; and Current Biography. Additional information provided by C. P. Uzelac, Executive Director of the Dorothy Porter Wesley Center, Inc.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

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Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Negro labor in the United States, 1850-1925; a study in American economic history
NKAA Source: Richard Allen, apostle of freedom
NKAA Source: History of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs
NKAA Source: Who's who among Black Americans
NKAA Source: Notable Black American men
NKAA Source: Current biography (annual)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Wesley, Charles H.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 31, 2021,

Last modified: 2020-07-17 14:21:34