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

  • Play For Your Freedom: A Hudson Valley Non-Profit Bringing Wellness, Joy, and Support to Veterans
  • Play For Your Freedom: A Hudson Valley Non-Profit Bringing Wellness, Joy, and Support to Veterans

    Since the organization’s founding in 2014, Play For Your Freedom has expanded its resources to 15 different hospitals and eight different states. Since the first ones were held in 2016, the organization has hosted more than 4,000 veterans at their wellness workshops.
    • Oct 18, 2019
  • Autumnal Activities in the Hudson Valley
  • Autumnal Activities in the Hudson Valley

    The leaves are turning brilliant hues of orange and red. The kids (and the kids at heart) are contemplating their costumes. And all of us are trying to figure out if we need a sweater under that light jacket. It can only mean one thing: Mid-October is upon us. Here’s some stuff to do.
    • Oct 16, 2019
  • Editor's Note: K, bye
  • Editor's Note: K, bye

    Our acting editor Marie Doyon says goodbye, but not before leaving a memorable Chronogram edition.
    • Oct 1, 2019