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Brother Charles H. Wesley

Blake Bowden

Staff Member

Charles Harris Wesley, the author of Prince Hall: Life and Legacy, wrote, “Great men come in schools. They are the answer to some great felt need in society.†Such a man and brother was Charles H. Wesley. Through his writing and leadership, he met the need of African Americans for accurate and positive information about who we and our contributions to the American success story.

Born in Louisville, KY on December 2, 1891, Wesley later graduated from Fisk University at the age of 19 and won a fellowship at Yale University, where he received a master’s degree in 1913. He won a graduate fellowship at Harvard in 1920, but returned to Washington to preach at Campbell and Ebenezer A.M.E. Churches. In 1925, Harvard awarded him a doctorate, and two years later his doctorial dissertation. He accepted a teaching position at Howard University, and continued to preach in Washington until 1938. In 1942, he was named president of Wilberforce University, and later formed Central State University, where he served as president until 1965. He authored hundred of articles, wrote 12 books, and member and historian of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Dr. Wesley’s affiliation began in 1918 at Hiram lodge #4 (PHA) of the Jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. In the late 1920’s, he advance to the 32nd degree, and in 1943, he obtained the highest degree, the 33rd degree. He was also Grand Prior Emeritus of the United Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite (PHA) Southern Jurisdiction. He died on December 16, 1987 in Washington D.C. at the age of 96.