Bridwell Library Explores Three African American Bishops of The United Methodist Church

Exhibition highlights 'Black Archives Matter' campaign, lecture set for Feb. 6

Three Bishops

The exhibition highlights UM bishops (from left) Handy, Moncure and Dixon. 

Read the United Methodist News Service feature on the exhibit.

DALLAS (SMU) – Bridwell Library at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University announces an exhibition of documents and images from the personal papers of Ernest T. Dixon, Jr. (1922-1996), William Talbot Handy, Jr. (1924-1998), and Rhymes H. Moncure, Jr. (1945-2006). These archival collections are being highlighted as part of the Black Archives Matter at SMU Initiative.

The exhibition will be open to the public from December 15, 2017 through April 27, 2018 in the entry hall at Bridwell Library, 6005 Bishop Boulevard, Dallas. An online version is available at

The eighteen items on display represent the ministries of three barrier-breaking church leaders. Dixon was the first African American elected to the office of bishop in the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church (UMC). Handy was the first African American hired in an executive capacity at the United Methodist Publishing House. He later served as the bishop of the Missouri Area of the UMC. Moncure was the first African American bishop to lead the Dallas Area of the UMC. He had previously served the Nebraska Area as bishop. All three bishops worked to dismantle the power of racism in church and society. Their ministries blended religious faith with social justice and concern for the well-being of those on the margins of society.

The exhibition will include a special event with the Rev. Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes on Feb. 6 at 4:30 p.m. in the Bridwell Library Blue Room.  Dr. Holmes, pastor emeritus of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church and a former staff member of Perkins School of Theology, will share his memories of bishops Handy, Moncure and Dixon.  A reception will precede the lecture at 4 p.m.  Registration is required by Feb. 1:

For more information, contact Bridwell Library Archivist Timothy S. Binkley,, 214.768.1989.

For more information about Bridwell Library:, 214.768.3483, or

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