Allen R. Griggs, Baptist minister, was born a slave, the son of Elbert and Brailla Griggs of Hancock County, Georgia, about 1850. He was brought to Texas at age nine. Griggs joined the Baptist Church in 1869 and was ordained as a missionary five years later. In 1870 he married, and he and his wife had eight children. Their son, Sutton Elbert Griggs, became a noted minister and novelist. In the early 1870s Griggs received his first pastorate at the New Hope Baptist Church in Dallas, a position he held for nearly ten years. He later served as pastor at Mount Gilead Baptist Church in Fort Worth and First Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Aside from his church duties, Griggs devoted himself to the education of black Texans. He helped raise funds to establish Bishop College and served that institution as a trustee. He was cofounder of North Texas Baptist College in Denison and several other institutions. He has also been credited with establishing the first black high school in Texas and Texas's first black newspaper. In 1891 Griggs was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree by the State University of Kentucky. In 1873 he was made a member of the World's Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, and in 1905 he was selected as a delegate from Texas to the Pan-Baptists Congress meeting in London, England. Further religious activities include years spent as corresponding secretary of the National Baptist Educational Board and chief organizer and president of the Texas Baptist State Sunday-School Convention, and chief organizer of the Texas Baptist Foreign Mission Convention and the Texas Negro Biographical and Historical Society. For twenty years he served as moderator of the Northwestern Baptist Association and was moderator of the State Missionary and Superintendent of Missions for Texas for twenty-eight years. Griggs also served as editor for several newspapers including, the Baptist Journal, Baptist Preacher, Centennial Dollar Reporter, Dallas Christian Leaflet, National Baptist Bulletin, and the Western Star, which he served as an associate editor. At the time of his death he was dean of North Texas Baptist College. Griggs died on May 7, 1922, in Denison. He was buried in Dallas.
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Denison Herald, May 12, 1922. Josie Hall, Hall's Moral and Mental Capsule for the Economic and Domestic Life of the Negro as a Solution of the Race Problem (Dallas: R. S. Jenkins, ca. 1905).
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Griggs, Allen R.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
September 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 6, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: