Rufus L. Perry was one of the most prominent ministers during the Reconstruction era. Born a slave in Nashville, Tennessee, where because of the liberal attitude of the whites toward the Blacks, he, in spite of his condition, was permitted to attend a free school for African-Americans.
Perry escaped from slavery in 1852 and entered upon the study of theology at the Kalamazoo Seminary in Michigan, graduating with the class of 1861, he was ordained as pastor of the Baptist Church at Ann Arbor, Michigan. He later served as a pastor at St. Catherine’s, Ontario, and at Buffalo and Brooklyn, New York. During his time of service, he convinced the world that he was “very logical, a clear reasoner, and active debater.
He edited The Sunbeam and served as coeditor of the American Baptist. He also later edited The People’s Journal and The National Monitor. His articles always showed his interest in his denomination and his knowledge of general literature. For several years, he served as the corresponding secretary of the American Educational Association and of the American Baptist Free Mission Society. He authored the book The Cushites; or, the Children of Ham. Perry died in 1895.