Jamison, Monroe Franklin (1848–1918)

By: John S. Gray III

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 25, 2019

Monroe Franklin Jamison, bishop of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (later the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church), son of George and Lethia Shorter, was born into slavery near Rome, Georgia, on November 27, 1848. At age twelve he was sold to Robert Jamison of Talladega, Alabama. By 1870 he had begun his career as a Methodist minister in Alabama. Monroe Jamison moved to Texas in 1872, settling in Marshall. He and several other black Methodist preachers who had moved to Texas from Alabama soon divided the area around Marshall into Colored Methodist Episcopal circuits known as Black Jack Circuit, Hilliard Circuit, Center Circuit, and Antioch Circuit. Jamison, the best known of this group of circuit-riding ministers, was noted for his ability to preach in the "Alabama style," an old-fashioned jubilant style of preaching that appealed to the poor. A staunch defender of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, he was nicknamed Fighting Joe for his readiness to debate doctrine with clergy from other churches. Jamison joined the East Texas Conference of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church under Bishop Isaac Lane in 1873 and was assigned to the Marshall and Longview stations. He married Minerva A. Flinnoy on January 14 of the following year. In February 1875 he was appointed to serve in Dallas. That year under his pastorate the first Colored Methodist Episcopal church was built in that city. At the 1876 Colored Methodist Episcopal annual conference in Dallas, Jamison was promoted to presiding elder. In 1908 Jamison earned a Doctor of Divinity degree from Texas College. Later he established other churches throughout the North Texas area. Jamison also edited the Christian Index, the official organ of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Christian Advocate, a church paper published by the East Texas Conference. He was appointed bishop of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in 1910 and served until his death eight years later. In 1912 Jamison published an account of his life's work, entitled The Autobiography and Work of Bishop M. F. Jamison ("Uncle Joe"). He died at Leigh, Texas, on May 19, 1918, and was buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

Monroe Franklin Jamison, Autobiography and Work of Bishop M. F. Jamison (Nashville: Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South, 1912). Charles Edward Tatum, The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, with Emphasis on Negroes in Texas, 1870 to 1970: A Study in Historical-Cultural Geography (Ph.D. dissertation, Michigan State University, 1980). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 1.

  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Religion
  • Methodist
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

John S. Gray III, “Jamison, Monroe Franklin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 10, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/jamison-monroe-franklin.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 25, 2019

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