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Fellowship named for Goodloe

Bowie, Maryland, congregation honors African American pioneer.
By Staff Writer
May/June 2005 5.1.05

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The Bowie Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bowie, Maryland, has changed its name to Goodloe Memorial Unitarian Universalist Congregation in honor of the Rev. Don Speed Smith Goodloe, an educator and the first African American to graduate from Meadville Theological School, a Unitarian seminary.

The name change was prompted by the fact that the congregation draws members from an area larger than Bowie and wanted to honor someone with local Unitarian connections. The name change also better reflects the diversity in the Bowie area.

Goodloe, born in 1878, was a teacher and an African Methodist Episcopal minister before attending Meadville. He was the first principal of Maryland’s first black normal school for training teachers, now Bowie State University.

Like other African Americans of the time, he was discouraged from becoming a Unitarian minister after graduating because of the difficulty of finding a placement for ministers of color.

Goodloe died in 1959. His house is a national historic site in Bowie.

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