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Bob Harrison Oral History Interview

Identifier: CN 557

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Bob Harrison (1928-2012) in which he describes his family, grandmother's (Cornelia Jones Robertson) involvement in original Azusa Street church in Los Angeles and association with Aimee Semple Mc Pherson, racial conditions in America and the church, influence of his mother and grandmother, his musical development and experience as a jazz vocalist, conversion, writing When God Was Black; high receptivity of Third World people to black missionaries contrasted with minimal number throughout the world, exposing black churches to missions and igniting their enthusiasm, his experience as a missionary in the Philippines, assessment of white missionaries who didn't embrace native cultural features which could have enriched the indigenous Christianity, American Christians' need to learn from Third World Christians' worship, the influence of Billy Graham, and emphasis on giving all glory to God. The time period covered by the interviews is 1906 to 1998.

Bob Harrison was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on August 14, 1998, during Summit '98 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan.


  • Created: 1998

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Robert Emmanuel Harrison

Birth: January 23, 1928, in San Francisco

Death: March 4, 2012


Parents: Emmanuel Augustus and Leona Schaeffer Harrison

Siblings: Younger sister

Marital Status: Married to Marilyn Miller Harrison, July 6, 1952

Children: Robert Keith (b. 1953), Carol Denese (b. 1955), Adrienne Michelle (b. 1959), David Emmanuel (b. 1960), Steven

Conversion: At an evangelistic service while a student at San Francisco State College


1951 - San Francisco State College, B.A. in music

1954 - Bethany Bible College


1955-1962 - Pastor of Emmanuel Assembly Church, San Francisco

1959 - Led evangelistic meetings in Germany

1961-1962 - Joined Howard Jones under BGEA auspices in evangelistic tour to Africa (Liberia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria)

1962-1965 - Worked with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as an associate evangelist

1965-1966 - Evangelistic ministry in Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore

1966 - Evangelistic crusade in Barbados

1967-1969 - Short-term missionary assignment for Overseas Crusades in the Philippines (including eight-day crusade in Bacolod, eight-day crusade in Davao, and four five-day crusades in smaller Mindanao cities; also included ministry in Okinawa, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ceylon, Democratic Republic of Congo

1970s - Did inner-city evangelism in the United States, working through the Home division of the Assemblies of God

1973-? - Pastor of the Maranatha Evangelistic Center of Portland, Oregon

1990-? - National Representative pf Black Ministries in the Assemblies of God

Other significant information: Joined the army, where he completed his high school education Participated as a BGEA associate evangelist in Billy Graham's 1958 San Francisco Crusade, 1962 Chicago Crusade, 1962 Fresno Crusade, 1963 Los Angeles Crusade, 1964 Omaha Crusade, 1964 Boston Crusade, and 1965 Denver Crusade Attended World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin, 1966 Grandmother, Cornelia Jones Robertson, was actively involved in the original Azusa Street Church ministry in Los Angeles Authored When God Was Black and Salvaging Leftovers.


1.00 Audio Tape

65 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archivesby Bob Harrison in August 1998.

Accession: 98-58

September 12, 1998

Paul A. Ericksen

Collection 557 Oral History Interview with Bob Harrison
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

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