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Collection 374 Oral History Interviews with Artis Fletcher

 Collection
Identifier: CN-374
Oral history interview with Artis Edwards Fletcher in which he discusses his childhood, education, and work as pastor of the Mendenhall Bible Church. Also discussed are John Perkins, Voice of Calvary Ministries, the black church in the United States, and racial conditions in Mississippi. The time period covered by the interviews is 1944-1987.

Artis Fletcher was interviewed in by Paul Ericksen at office at the Mendenhall Bible Church, Mendenhall, MS on June 26, 1987.

Dates

  • Created: 1944-1987

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Extent

2.00 audio_tapes

134 minutes other_unmapped

Biographical or Historical Information

Artis Edward Fletcher was born on January 8, 1944, in Lincoln County, MS, a few miles from the Fletcher home in Mendenhall in Simpson County. He was the twenty-second and next to last child of a prosperous black farmer, R.J.F. Fletcher. He lived and worked on the farm through his youth. At the age of seventeen, while a student at the private Prentiss Normal Industrial Institute, he was born again while attending a local church. Soon afterwards he met Rev. John Perkins, who had a great influence on his life and helped influence him to become a minister. In 1961 he traveled with Perkins to California and elsewhere in the country as a helper on evangelistic tours.

After spending brief periods of time at Moody Bible Institute in Illinois andthe Southern Bible Training School in Texas, Fletcher enrolled in the Washington Bible College (WBC) in the District of Columbia. He attended school at night for a year while working at various jobs to pay for his tuition. Later he attended school part-time in the day while continuing to work. While he attended WBC, he helped start a church in Aberdeen, MD, which black people could attend. After the church was on a firm basis and had begun to grow, Fletcher left WBC to work as a pastor full-time.

Fletcher married a woman from Mississippi and then enrolled in Los Angeles Baptist College (LABC, now Master's College) in California, where his new bride Carolyn was also enrolled. He became staff minister at Glendale Presbyterian Church while he attended school and later interim pastor at another church in Los Angeles. In 1974, after finishing at LABC, he and his family returned to Mendenhall at Perkins' request to take over for him as pastor of the Mendenhall Bible Church. While pastoring the church, he was also deeply involved in the work of Voice of Calvary and later Mendenhall Ministry, both of which were begun by Perkins. The church and these organizations, while continuing to witness to the need for every person to find salvation through Jesus Christ, worked toease the suffering and oppression of the poor, mainly black, population. This included setting up medical and legal aid services, interceding with the district attorny, and participating in the political process to try and get every citizen a fair vote. The church and ministries also provided training and other resources for local pastors and church workers. As of 1988, Rev. Fletcher was continuing in this work.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to Billy Graham Center Archives by Artis Fletcher in June 1987.

Accession 87-83

February 4, 1988

Robert Shuster

J. Nasgowitz

M. Wohlschlegel
Title
Collection 374 Oral History Interviews with Artis Fletcher
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

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