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Brooks, Robert Nathaniel

by Grady L. E. Carroll, 1979

8 May 1888–2 Aug. 1953

Robert Nathaniel Brooks, Methodist clergyman and educator, was born in Hollis, Cleveland County, the son of John and Louvenia Schanck Brooks. He held degrees from Bennett College in Greensboro, Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, and Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston, Ill. He also studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York and in Oxford University in England. He was ordained a deacon by Bishop Wilbur P. Thirkield and an elder by Bishop E. Hughes.

Brooks's pastoral minstry was limited. He was secretary of the Board of Sunday Schools in 1918, and served as president successively of Haven College, Meridian, Miss.; Central Alabama College, Birmingham; and Huston-Tillotson College, Austin, Tex. For ten years he taught church history at Gammon Theological Seminary (formerly Methodist, now merged with other seminaries as the Interdenominational Theological Center). In 1936 he was chosen editor of the Central Christian Advocate in New Orleans, a position he held for eight years.

In 1944, Brooks was elected to the episcopacy. In addition to presiding over his annual conferences, he served in several other capacities: trustee of various institutions of higher learning, member of the Board of Missions of Church Extension and Board of Lay Activities, president of the Methodist Federation for Social Action, and president of the College of Bishops of the Central Jurisdiction (black). He received honorary degrees from four colleges and universities.

Brooks was married to M. Edith Crogman. He was buried at the Gulfside Assembly, Waveland, Miss.


E. S. Bucke, ed., The History of American Methodism, vol. 3 (1964).

Elmer T. Clark, Methodism in Western North Carolina (1966).

Methodist History, October 1968.

W. W. Sweet, Methodism in American History (1933).

W. W. Sweet and Umphrey Lee, A Short History of American Methodism (1956).

Who Was Who in America, vol. 3 (1960).

Additional Resources:

Short, Roy Hunter. History of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church, 1939-1979. Abingdon, 1980. 96.

Echols, Timothy B. Pioneering in religious education: four decades in the Methodist Church. Exposition Press, 1964. 79, 87.

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