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Power of One: An Excerpt from "History of the American Negro and His Institutions" Georgia Edition


Picture of Dock Columbus Bracy

Rev. Dock Columbus Bracy, a successful Baptist minister residing at Buckhead, in Morgan county, though born a slave and confronted by many discouraging conditions, has won success both as a minister and a farmer, and may properly be classed as one of the substantial public-spirited citizens of the community. His father, Abram Bracy, was a Baptist minister before Emancipation, and his mother, Epsy (Daniel) Bracy. They lived near Eatonton, and it was here on June 11, 1859, that Dock Bracy was born.

On account of prevailing conditions after the war, the boy's educational opportunities were very limited indeed. His parents, just emerging from slavery, were not only very poor, but being themselves unlettered did not recognize the value of an education for the boy. Notwithstanding these adverse conditions, he made good use of his odd moments, noon hours and night schools.

He was converted at the age of seventeen, and immediately felt called to the work of the ministry. This call changed the whole course of his life; for with it came the realization that he must fit himself for his life work. He did not hesitate, but in 1885 sold all he had and went to Atlanta to enter Atlanta Baptist College. This was done in the face of the fact that he had a wife and two children at the time, while his parents and friends told him frankly that he was playing the fool. He remained a student at the Baptist College for six years. In 1891 his health failed and he had exhausted his money, so he was forced to leave college without completing the course. Since that time he has justified the effort and expenditure he then made.

It was during the vacation period of 1889, when he was earning money by teaching a summer school in Putnam County, that he was called to take charge of a large church known as Jefferson. He has served that church continuously from that day to this. Later he was called to Sanders Chapel, which he has served for seven years. From this it will be seen that he has good wearing qualities and grows in the confidence of those who know him best. Ebenezer Baptist church at Athens he served one year. At Jefferson a good building has been erected under his pastorate. Other improvements in that neighborhood under his leadership include a good two-story school house. At Smyrna, another of his pastorates, where he has served seventeen years, both a church and school building have been erected. He does not content himself with merely preaching to his people, but appreciates the value of pastoral work, and is a constant adviser and helper of the people whom he serves.

On January 5, 1882, he was married to Miss Ella Terrell, a daughter of Asbury and Susan Terrell, who were reared as slaves. Of the nine children born to them, the following now survive: Dock, Jr., Paul S., Susie E., Hattie M. and Ella L. Bracy.

In attending conventions and in the course of his other religious work, as well as for comfort and pleasure, Mr. Bracy has travelled rather extensively. Such time as he has found for reading has been devoted to the Bible and miscellaneous good books and papers. For a number of years he taught school in addition to his ministerial work, and he also operates a successful farm. He is a man of good practical common sense, who gives careful attention to the details of his own varied work, and takes a deep interest in all that concerns the welfare of his neighbors. He votes with the Republican Party, but is not otherwise active in a political way. He is Worthy Master of his Masonic lodge, a member of the Brethren and Sisters of Benevolence and of the Woman's Mission Clubs of his churches, and, to use his own expression, "a strict member of the Sunday- school," which no doubt has a great deal to do with the success he has had in his churches.

Asked as to how in his opinion the welfare of his race in the state and nation might be promoted, he puts first and last, good strong men of sound morals. He says they need education, and they need money and other property; but if given that kind of men there is no other need that cannot be supplied. Notwithstanding his disadvantageous start in life, and the fact that twenty-nine years ago he sold all that he had and spent six years at college in preparation for the great work of proclaiming the glad tidings of Salvation, such have been his energy and his efficiency along various lines since that he has not only accomplished much for others, but is also himself the owner of property assessed at three thousand dollars and worth more. He is conscientious and punctual in the discharge of his business obligations.

He is a member of the Executive Board of the State Baptist Convention, and chairman of the Executive Committee of the Madison Association, of which he has been moderator for thirteen years. More than two thousand souls have been added to the church through his ministry.


Citation: Caldwell, A. B. (1917). History of the American Negro and His Institutions. A.B. Caldwell Publishing Co.

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