Man With a Mission | Community Notebook | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

News & Politics » Community Notebook

Man With a Mission

by

comment

Page 3 of 3

When Father Divine relocated from New York to Philadelphia, his Hudson Valley visits ended. Without the guidance of this charismatic leader, the local communities deteriorated. By the late 1950s, five Peace Mission properties in Ulster County had been sold off. By the man’s death in 1965, the glory days of Father Divine’s movement were a memory, traceable in Ulster County only by a handful of extant buildings on whose outside walls one could detect the word “peace” in fading paint. An encampment named Kingston Mansion lasted the longest, since people from Divine’s Philadelphia temple would periodically visit. But the building, located in the Wilbur neighborhood of Kingston, closed in1985.

If the Ulster County communities had never existed, Mabee says, the movement would have not been diminished; Divine communities flourished on the West Coast, as well as in Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany, despite the fact that Divine never visited them. The Universal Peace Mission Movement continues today in Philadelphia.

However, in addition to making strides toward modern desgregation, the Divine followers provided a boost to Ulster County business when it was most needed.

“In a place like High Falls, the economic community was virtually made by Father Divine for several years during the Depression,” Mabee says. “It saved High Falls is one way to look at it.”

Historian Carelton Mabee. - JENNIFER MAY
  • Jennifer May
  • Historian Carelton Mabee.
Among Father Divine’s progressive causes was an anti-lynching bill, which was brought before Congress. - JENNIFER MAY
  • Jennifer May
  • Among Father Divine’s progressive causes was an anti-lynching bill, which was brought before Congress.
Many Divine settlements were easily identified by the word “peace” appearing on buildings, such as this barn in west park circa 1941 - JENNIFER MAY
  • Jennifer May
  • Many Divine settlements were easily identified by the word “peace” appearing on buildings, such as this barn in west park circa 1941

Add a comment

Latest in News & Politics

  • Three Republicans Have Filed to Challenge Antonio Delgado in 2020
  • Three Republicans Have Filed to Challenge Antonio Delgado in 2020

    A look at the candidacies of Anthony German, Ola Hawatmeh, and Mike Roth.
    • Aug 16, 2019
  • Feeding the Community: The Work of Hudson Valley Food Pantries
  • Feeding the Community: The Work of Hudson Valley Food Pantries

    For some Hudson Valley residents, eating is all about choice. Unfortunately the choice is whether or not to pay their rent or buy food to feed their families. Thankfully, there are many food pantries in the Hudson Valley that can make the choice a little easier for these hungry residents.
    • Aug 16, 2019
  • Editor's Note: Back from Paradise
  • Editor's Note: Back from Paradise

    In some ways, Grey Fox Music Festival can be seen as an alternative model to our current world—a sweet, self-contained social experiment (punctuated by world-class Bluegrass performances) where we're all a bit kinder.
    • Aug 1, 2019