Dr. Arenia Cornelia Mallory - Educator
President of Saints Industrial School
Historic Reflections - Educator
Above & Below:   Dr. Arenia Cornelia Mallory Receiving The C. H. Mason
Award From Dr. Christopher C. Owens, President Of The
Religious Workers Guild, Inc. Of The COGIC
Dr. Mallory was born in Jacksonville, Illinois December 28, 1904 where
she attended local public schools.  She was an advocate for civil rights and
the poor in Holmes County, Mississippi.  She received a bachelor's degree
from Simmons College in Kentucky (1927), a master's degree from Jackson
State University, a master's degree from the University of Illinois
at Urbana, Champaign (1950), and a doctorate of law degree from 
Bethune Cookman College (1951).  Dr. Mallory was best known as
head of the Saints Industrial and Literary School, a private secondary school for students 
grades 1 - 12 in Lexington, Mississippi.  The school was later renamed and
called Saints Academy.  She was president of the school from 1926 - 1983
with a brief 2 year intermission.  In 1975 she was the only black college president.
The school was actually founded by the COGIC, and it is yet run under the
Church of God in Christ.  Mallory was an active member of the the church
and participated in the Women's Department and was a leader
in the National church.
From 1952 - 1955 she was on the board of directors of the Regional Council of
Negro Leadership, a pro-self help civil rights organization led by T.  R. M. Howard
from Mound Bayou, Mississippi.  
She was also an advocate for the provision of health welfare to sharecroppers in Holmes
County, Mississippi.  She was also instrumental in orchestrating several programs
in the county to raise money, books and clothing for her students.
In 1934 Mallory hosted the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Health Project.
The sorority consisted of rural teachers in neighboring areas.  Additionally
she was an advocate for black and women's rights.  She was a member of
the National Council for Negro Women.  She served as Vice President
of this group from 1953 -1957.  she was a consultant for the United
Department of Labor (1963) and the first woman and the first African
American elected to the Holmes County Board of Education.  Mallory has two
facilities named after her:  The Arenia C. Mallory Community
Health Center in Lexington, Mississippi,
and The Arenia C. Mallory School of Religion in Miami, Florida.
Dr. Mallory had a middle class upbringing and because her parents desired
for her to become a concert musician, her mother encouraged her to take piano lessons.  
That dream of becoming a concert pianist neveer came to fruition, for
Arenia Mallory was converted to Pentecostalism at a Pentecostal revival,
became mission minded, and decided that she would like to help those people
who were less fortunate.  
Bishop Mason met Arenia at a meeting in St. Louis, MO of COGIC
ministers and workers of western Missouri and Nebraska, and was very impressed
with her musical ability.  Bishop Mason had hoped that she would fill
in for, and eventually replace James Courts, who was quite ill and couldn't carry
out his duties as principle of the Saints Industrial School.  She eventually did replace
him, but met opposition from some of the leaders of the COGIC denomination
because she was considered to be an outsider from up North coming to the South.
Whatever children attended the Saints Industrial School were pulled out
of school on a  regular basis to help bring in the crops at harvest time.  The conditions
of the school were in a sorry state indeed.  The boys and girls privies were so far
away from the school that the boys toilets were named Memphis and the girls
toilets were named Durant after cities in Memphis and Mississippi.  Water was
carried in pots to boil for bathing, and a hand pump was the water source at 
the school.  To compound the problem, within a month after her arrival at the 
school, the teacher in charge (Mr. Courts), died.  She took on both
administrative and teaching duties.  For a short while she worked, and then,
her personal life and work collided in dramatic fashion.
Her first few years at Saints School were difficult, and to make bad matters worse,
she fell in love and married a man who was a COGIC elder.  It was then discovered
that she had been married before to a non-COGIC member and had not divorced
her first husband.
Click on us to surf to the top or continue to read the story by scrolling down
The story played out in the December 10th and 11th (1928) Convocation minutes.
Mallory had been married to a non- COGIC member:  J. Pullam; after being released
from that liaison, Mallory married Clemmons, a COGIC elder who left her with child and
 went to California to marry someone else.   It was this situation that was being addressed
in the minutes.  By having this double marriage (presumably double
marriage - meaning that her ex=husband was still alive? - her biographer
gave the impression that she divorced her first husband? - either that or
the church ruling that you don't remarry unless the first husband is deceased?),
Mallory had put herself in a position of being disciplined and stripped of her position
at the Saints Industrial School.  As a result, she was asked to leave the school
and Elder Clemmons was excommunicated from the brotherhood until which time
he would repent and seek restitution (it never happened)!
Given the fact that COGIC women's leadership was expected to portray the ideal
holiness woman, Mallory's situation was not in keeping with that image.  The 
separation from the school, despite the problems, was painful.  The process of returning was
fraught with difficulties as well.  In order to prove her repentance, Mallory had to find a
church in which to publicly repent for her marriages and didobedience to the church.
She had doors of churches closed to her by uncooperative elders until a COGIC church
in New York City opened its doors to her; and after her emotional repentance
 service, was reinstated to her position at the Saints Industrial School.
Given the known facts, the punishment seemed rather harsh by the 
standards of this present day, but for the Church of God in Christ, and especially
for the Women's Department, this was the standard operating procedure.
Public repentance and confession were important not only to cleanse oneself,
but as part of the sanctification process, to re-pledge
obedience to leadership in the church.
Dr. Mallory's biographer and personal secretary, Dovie Simmons, recounts that
this is how the famous "Yes Lord" of the COGIC came about through
Dr. Mallory's extemporaneous singing of it during her repentance service!
There seemed to have been a discrepancy about who initiated the "Yes Lord Praise",
for many were under the assumption that Bishop Mason himself brought about this
famous praise, simply because he often sang this praise
(as it is expressed on an office door in Mason Temple). 
We'll assume that Dovie Simmonds had recorded an accurate account of
this matter since she witnessed its birth at this special repentance service.  
The fact that it was such an anoited praise, its easy to understand why
the song spread like wild fire and has remained as a popular signature song of
the Church of God in Christ for so many years!
So then, after disentangling herself from the marriage, and after two years had
elapsed, with Dr. Mallory publicly repenting at a church in New York, and popularizing
the "Yes Lord" Praise, she returned to her leadership position at the
Saints Industrial School.
You and I both know that Dr. Mallory was considered even more as an outsider
now that she was considered as a bigamist.  But by this time the
Great Depression had begun, causing the church board to recommend that the
school should be closed due to the dire financial pressure.  
Dr. Mallory poured herself into the school during the early Thirties, facing the problems
of lack of funding, supplies and clothing for the children who attended the school.
At that time the school received very little in the way of contributions from the  COGIC.
The teachers took a cut in pay and Dr. Mallory decided to take a girls' quintet
on the road in search of funds.  She and a music instructor, Ms. Emma Mae Lashley,
taught the girls ("The Jubilee Harmonizers") spiritual songs and they traveled throughout
the South and the North singing for money and food
(many times borrowing transportation and gas money). 
Pictured Below we see Dr. Mallory's "Jubilee Harmonizers"  
She is seen in the center of the photo; eventually male voices were added
to the group

The Harmonizers were (through Dr. Mallory's connections and coaxing) invited to

sing at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York headed by Adam Clayton

Powell, Sr., for two Sunday services and a Monday night service, and raised 

$8000; this was quite an accomplishment during the Depression.   The proceeds

were used to go into the construction of the first brick building 

on campus (Faith Hall).  

Dr. Mallory's persistance and relentless travel with the

Jubilee Harmonizers began to bring funds and recognition for the Saints Industrial School.

Raising funds and collecting clothing for the students through clothing drives,

Mallory began to build new buildings on the campus and fund

schooling for the children attending the school.  Modeling the Jubilee

Harmonizers after the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the students had the opportunity to, not only serve, but to see another side of life different from the harsh conditions 
in Lexington.  The new openness to other churches and groups outside of the COGIC,
began in a very deliberate way, to introduce the young in the church to new ideas
and ways of behavior.  The Whole Truth, the COGIC's newspaper, began to
run articles about the work of Dr. Mallory, and the sacrifices
she and the other teachers made in order to keep the school open
(one such article from the Whole Truth may be seen below).
"The school has passed through a great crisis this year, due to the failure of
the farm crop this year, and the low price of cotton.  The destitution in
Mississippi this year has been very acute.  The leading white schools have had to eliminate
one to two months from their usual nine month schedules.  The tuberculosis sanitariums,
and insane asylums have contemplated closing their doors due to lack of funds.......
In the midst of these great tribulations it did not seem possible to operate our
little school which had no possible way to receive help other than God's grace.  The
board of education suggested closing the school, but Sis. Mallory felt that the
work was too important and that too many sacrifices had been made to give up so easily.
She and the faithful faculty offered their services at a minimum salary and
without probable chance of receiving that in the future".  
Mallory's dedication to the school, despite its problems, helped it to grow from 10
students to over 400 students in the 1930's.
Out of the 400 students attending, only 12 were able to pay their tuition, and the
rest were subsedized without any pay being received.
Traveling extensively for the school, planting crops, overseeing building projects
and the like, Mallory changed from a middle class Black woman into a
hard-working missionary.  
She was responsible in later years for placing it on Bishop O. M. Kelly's mind to
donate a Chapel on the campus in Lexington for the students.
The O. M. Kelly Chapel may be seen at the end of this topic.
By her service, Mallory carved out a place for herself in the top women's leadership
for African American women educators.
More importantly she established ties outside of the COGIC denomination
that would eventually change her fortunes as well as the dynamics of the
of the Women's Department.
Below, Click On Vernon Oliver Price To Surf To the Top Or Continue To Scroll Downward
Adam Clayton Powell's influence garnered Dr. Mallory and the Harmonizers
an engagement at the Riverdale Church.  The group then sang in Oakland, California
where a prominent African American Woman in the sorority (Ida L. Jackson)
was moved by their performance.
Ida L. Jackson was the eighth supreme basilieus of the AKA sorority, the oldest
Black sorority in the United States.  The AKA sisters were the epitome of the
"New Negro":  educated, smartly dressed, intelligent women with a desire
to help the down trodden.
Ida Jackson was only one of 17 African Americans on Berkeley's Campus. 
While at Berkeley,  Jackson founded the Rho Chapter of the AKA's with other
African American women.  She earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from
U. C. Beerkely and in 1926 began teaching in the Oakland, California
public school system, becoming the first African American to do so.
But because she was so impressed with the Jubilee Harmonizers, she wanted to
help the school, and later found herself at Saints College.  
Ida Jackson's  connections at the University of California influenced other sorority
sisters to come to Saints Industrial College.
because of the singing group, Ida Jackson's and Mallory's paths crossed each other.
The differences between the sanctified world and the-upper class AKA members
was obvious in the dress code of the Saints, yet the AKA's acceded to the
practices of the Saints, perhaps out of respect.  There was a great deal of tension between
the AKA's and Dr. Mallory.  It was said that the presence  at the school of women who
were educated much better than she was, challenged Mallory's position at the school,
so much so that she later signed up to complete her education at Jackson
College in Jackson, Mississippi.  According to some of the students, Mallory also
taught the sanctified dress code intermingled with the smart dress code of 
the AKA's.  I personally believe that the combination of the AKA's influence
may partially account for the smartly dressed COGIC women always wearing
sharp suits and dresses, hats gloves, furs and "bling bling".
And if you've ever noticed, the men (from the very first pictures of the saints), have
always been sharply dressed in handsome pin striped suits and hats and modest
"bling bling".  Some people refer to this phenomenon, as seen at the various conventions,
as being a major fashion show; I strongly disagree!  This is a part of our
"sanctified dress code church culture"  stemming from Dad Mason, the founding
fathers, the Bishops and Elders, the Missionaries, Supervisors and Saints at large. 
Smart Dress is all you've ever visualized from the earliest of COGIC pictures
up until the present.
By definition of the scriptures (when adhered to and properly applied), 
God has always desired that the Saints should have an abundant life and should
be prosperous.  
Its difficult, by mere observation of one's dress, to distinguish the less fortunate
Saint from those considered to be upper-class.  Its not about the clothes, but
its about the hearts of men.  I might be somewhat presumptuous concerning God's
mind-set on the "COGIC Ultra Sanctified Dress Culture" , but considering the
opulence of heaven's walls of jasper, its pearly gates, its streets paved with gold,
which we're anticipating, its quite suspect that God is very candid and doesn't have
a problem accepting the opulence of the Saints. So, its imperative
 that we stop knocking the fashion shows!  Dress up or come modestly or
casually clad!  Since God doesn't mind, it doesn't matter.
Come as you are to the throne of grace!
Ida Jackson's connections with the University of California influenced even more 
sororty sisters to come to Saint's College, including two white teachers who decided
to apply for teaching positions at Saints College following their graduation
from Berkely.  
Dr. Mallory welcomed them, but this created problems with the whites within the 
community around the school.  Because of the racism that these teachers
and Mallory faced, according to Ida Jackson, "the two teachers were not permitted
to remain and teach because of the feelings of the white residents in the community
who unhesitantly threatened to destroy the buildings if they attempted to teach
under the supervision of a Nigger. "  According to Mallory's biographer, a group
of white men showed up at her porch to confront her one night.  They said to her:
"Who told you that you could have white teachers out here?  You are one of those smart niggers from the North that don't know your  place, and we came to put you in your place.
We came to lynch you tonight."
They left after one of them said, "Give her a chance to get them away. "  And 
Mallory promised to do so.  As we can see, education, when it is challenged by the
racial conventions of Jim Crow, was a dangerous enterprise; But this only strengthened
the AKA's desires to help Saints College.  Mallory requested the sorority
sisters to come back the following year; and they did, but this time they stressed
better facilities and better health care for the school, and for Dr. Mallory
(for she was the local Midwife), and for the community.  When the community didn't
come to them (because of outside agitators to the sharecroppers on the plantations), 
the sorority sisters said that if the community cannot come to the Saints,
the Saints will come to the community.  They made the health clinics mobile,
driving cars to the plantations.  In  1936, due to the tensions among the
volunteers, the health project moved to neighboring Bolivar County.
Mallory's views concerning education and civic engagement, alongside a
sanctified life would prove to later become very fortunate for the future success
of Saints College.  The emphasis on being a good citizen, in spite of the realities of
Jim Crow, points to a belief in the American Dreams of progress,
social uplift and prosperity.
The Article Below Is From The Scrapbook Archives Of Bishop C. C. Owens  
From the Above Article, She is the President of the Institution.
Contrary to Mother Lizzie Robinson's admonitions for COGIC women to stay away
from political action, the focus of being good citizens as part of sanctified
beliefs, would carry Mallory and the school into a broader realm than that
intended by the founders of the school.  Mallory's alliance with one of the foremost
educators of the time, Mary McLeod Bethune, would later prove pivotal to the 
school's expanded purpose and exposure - making it possible for a greater
variety of charitable benefits and funding from philantropist sources.
Below, Click On Bishop Christopher C. C. Owens To Surf To The
Top Or Continue To Scroll Downward
Mary McLeod Bethune had embraced holiness teachings earlier in life, having
trained at the Moody Bible Institute to become a missionary; she was denied
a missionary post in Africa because of her race, and went on to found
a school for girls in Florida, that later became the Bethune Bookman College.
This college is yet in existence today, and you may see a demonstration of
its famous marching band in competition with other bands
from large Universities if you go to YouTube and type in 
Bethune Cookman Marching Band (2011) - Honda Battle of the Bands.
Bethune went on to found the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), an
umbrella organization that encompassed many of the black women's
organizations that were founded at the turn of the century.  Mallory was a
charter member of the NCNW and it would be safe to say that Dr. Mallory
and Mary Bethune became acquainted somewhere between 1931 and 1935.
In 1935, upon founding the NCNW, Bethune's already prominent position rose as
she was tapped the following year by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as
Director of the Division Of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration,
a position she occupied from 1936 to 1943.  The appointment working with the Negro youth
opened the doors to the White House.
Below,  Mary McLeod Bethune (Left) & Dr. Arenia C. Mallory 
Mary Bethune's friendship with the President's wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, also afforded
her a position on Eleanor's Kitchen Cabinet.  Through Bethune's access to the
White House, Mallory's access was opened as well.
In 1937, Mallory had the opportunity to present her work with the Saint's
Industrial School at the White House to the President and Mrs. Roosevelt
singing for them.  
Below, we see Dr. Arenia C. Mallory and Mother Lillian Brooks Coffey At the White House 
Dr. Mallory was featured in the May 1936 issue of the Crisis Magazine
with the front page article written about her entitled "Mississippi Mud".
The Crisis article lauded her in this manner:  "Florida has its Mary McLeod Bethune,
North Carolina its Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Mississippi its Arenia Corenia Mallory,
who, out of Mississippi mud has made it possible for children born, or yet unborn,
to have a better heritage than chopping cotton."  
By working effectively to make Saints Industrial School viable, Mallory cemented
her significance to the Women's Department and made the outreaches that
were crucial for the next generation of the Women's Department.  Mallory's 
friendship with Mary Bethune brought in new ideas to the Women's Department.
Through the connections Mallory made in their travels, a shift began in the
rhetoric of education and ideals that COGIC women should aspire to.
Articles in the Whole Truth that highlighted her travels on behalf of the school,
began to link the women of the Church of God in Christ to a larger work of
black women's club work, and education.
Ultimately, the major changes that were brought about in the Women's Department,
were accomplished through an internal partnership between
Dr. Arenia Corenia Mallory and Mother Lillian Brooks Coffey.
Below, News Article From The Evangelist Speaks - Another Article
From The Scrapbook Archives Of Bishop Christopher C. Owens
   {1990 - 1995}
"Rebuilding Of The Walls" 
Was A Vision Of Bishop Louis Henry Ford
For Forty Years
Causing The Reopening Of Saints Academy And College
In Lexington, Mississippi
The Saints Industrial School in Lexington, Mississippi was eventually closed, 
but during the reign of Bishop Louis Henry Ford it was revitalized and reopened
(1990 -1995).  Bishop Ford had received the vision of rebuilding the walls of the COGIC
from God 40 years prior to 1990; It is for this reason that Bishop Ford
was characterized as being an aggresive and carismatic visionary with a
"Jonah Complex".  Bishop Ford's
40 year old modernization vision , which included
the revitalization and reopening of Saints Academy and College,
and the rebuilding of the additional COGIC Walls was completely
accomplished in merely four years.  Saints Industrial School was considered
as one of the nations finest private schools, inspite of its shortcomings.
Saints Academy sat on over 380 acres of prime land and was reopened after
every building had been thoroughly modernized with amenities
including central air and heat, newly tiled baths, and
elegantly decorated  interiors.  
The crowning jewel of the campus was the newly constructed, beautiful
and spacious Deborah Mason Patterson Hall.  This multi-purpose building
houses a 1000 seat auditorium, guest quarters, conference rooms,
the student dining room, and several other areas for multi-use activities.
The Saints Academy and College represents the Southern Wall of the COGIC.
Mason Temple stands as the North Wall; Saints Haven
and the McGlothen Shelter serve as the Western Wall.  The work
on the walls will not cease because God reigns.  Our walled city, from which
many additional ministries will flourish, will continue to be built as
The Vision Continues!!
Below Center Front We See Bishop Louis Henry Ford,
The Presiding Bishop Of The Church Of God In Christ (1990 - 1995).
Bishop Ford was one of the prized Saints Industrial students of Dr. Mallory.
Bishop Ford had been given a vision from God to "Rebuild The COGIC Walls"
40 years prior to 1990.  Within 4 years God used Presiding Bishop Louis
Henry Ford, with assistance from the General Board, the General Assembly
and the Bishops, Supervisors, Elders and Laymen to complete the vision of
"Rebuilding The Walls"
Below Top We See The $4 Million Dollar Debra Mason Patterson Hall
Multi ~ Purpose Building On The Saints Academy & College
In Lexington, Mississippi
A Realization Of Bishop Ford's Vision
Above Bottom Far Right ~ We Can See The Chapel Which Was
Donated To The Saints Industrial School By Bishop O. M. Kelly
Whose Church Was Located In New York City.  
Bishop O. M. Kelly was one of the first Commissioners to be appointed
by Bishop C. H. Mason in the early 1950's during Mason's
declining years to assist with the business issues of the COGIC;
You will find an article pertaining to Bishop O. M. Kelly on the
COGIC Pioneer Page of this Web Site.  
Below Left ~ Bishop C. C. Owens Of the Religious Workers Guild, Inc.
Is Presenting An Award To Bishop O. M. Kelly
Below Bishop Christopher C. Owens And His Daughter,Christine Owens-Jones
Pictured In Front Of The Debra Mason Patterson Hall In
Lexington Mississippi.  
They Were Participants In This Celebration Of The Reopening Of The
Saints Academy And College
The Name Of The Saints Industrial School Was Renamed Saints Academy And College
Below, Bishop Christopher C. Owens Is Seen Presenting An Achievement 
Award To Debra Mason-Patterson
The $4 Million Dollar Hall At Saints Academy And College Was Named After Her 
Below Left, Dr. Arenia Cornelia Mallory Will Be Greatly Rewarded In
Heaven For The Dedication And Sacrifices She Made For Humanity, For
The Saints Academy & College And For The Church Of God In Christ, Inc.
She Is Seen Here With Bishop J. A. And Mother Annie Bailey
Below, Click On Bishop Owens  To Surf To The Top