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Collection 386 Oral History Interview with Charles H. Dawson

Identifier: CN 386

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Charles H. Dawson (1916-2000) in which he describes his family background; conversion; involvement in street preaching; jail ministry and other work in the Camden area; involvement in the work of the Afro-American Missionary Crusade; and philosophy of Christian work. Other topics discussed include Dawson's training at the New Jersey Bible School; street preaching; Montrose Waite; Dawson's trips to Africa from the 1960s through the 1980s; training African evangelists; support in the black church in America for missions; the difficulty for missionaries in readjusting to life in America; and the qualifications of a missionary. The approximate time period covered by the interviews is 1916-1988.

Rev. Charles Dawson was interviewed by Robert Shuster at Rev. Dawson's home in New Jersey on February 22, 1988.


  • Created: 1988

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Charles H. Dawson was born in 1916 in Riverton, NJ to James Henry and Betty James Dawson. His parents had just recently moved to New Jersey from Virginia. Shortly after Dawson's birth the family moved to Camden. He was the second oldest of eight children. Both his parents were devout Christians and the Bible and church attendance played a very important part in the life of the family. James Dawson was a laborer and jack-of-all-trades. Charles also worked from a very young age to help support his family. He was very active in athletics at school and was a boxer and baseball player on an amateur and semi-pro level.

He was born again in 1937 and shortly afterward began attending the New Jersey Bible Training School (later called the Grace Bible Institute), from which he graduated in 1945. At this time he was working at various jobs around Camden. By the mid-1940s he was a shipfitter working at the New York naval yard. Also about this time (1942) he married Effie Robinson, whom he had met in 1940. They had three children, all girls. Dawson was ordained in 1944. Already by that time he had been street preaching and regularly witnessing to his co-workers. He soon became a leader in local jail and prison ministries. In 1947 he was one of the founders of the Afro-American Missionary Crusade, which was created by Montrose Waite and others to provide a means for black American Christians to go to Africa as missionaries. In 1960 Dawson became the pastor of the Broadway Bible Tabernacle in Camden, a post he held until 1982, when he became pastor of the Calvary Tabernacle. He continued in all his other Christian activities. In 1967 he went on an evangelistic tour of Liberia for the AAMC and in 1968 he and Jack Wyrzten led a similar preaching tour in Kenya, Tanzania and the Congo. Dawson continued to travel to Liberia to visit AAMC missionaries and to preach in the 1970s and 1980s. He died February 4, 2000.


2.00 Audio Tapes

113 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Arhives by Charles Dawson  in February 1988.

Accession 88-15

May 25, 1992

Robert Shuster

Collection 386 Oral History Interview with Charles H. Dawson
Bob Shuster
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US