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Dr. Charles E. Bradford
BY STEPHEN CHAVEZ HROUGHOUT ITS HISTORY the Seventh-day Adventist Church has benefited from the impress of many notable members and leaders; men and women who have shaped the movement and built it into the institution it is today. In the last half of the twentieth century one of those leaders has been Charles E. Bradford, evangelist, pastor, administrator, and first African-American president of the North American Division. Elder Bradford, or "Brad," as he is known to many throughout North America, has served the church during some notable times in the church as well as in society. And in the 10 years since he and his wife, Ethel, began to enjoy their retirement in Spring Hill, Florida, his four and a half decades of service for the church are still notable. The Journey Begins Charles Bradford was the last of eight children born to Robert and Etta Bradford. "My dad was an evangelist and pastor," he notes, "so we were almost nomadic." Although born in Washington, D.C., Bradford says his first memories come from the time the family lived in New Rochelle, New York, where the elder Bradford pastored a district of three churches. "As cities go," remembers Bradford, "[New Rochelle] was just about as free of racism as you could get." There were no "White" Adventist churches in the area, so Whites and Blacks worshiped together. But no Adventist school in the area meant that Bradford and his siblings attended public school. New Rochelle being a suburb of New York City, its White population, Bradford recalls, was not "threatened" by Blacks. They were "gracious people, genteel society people," he recalls. "The school principal was a fine gentleman who would ask if we were being treated right." Still, it was in New Rochelle that Bradford got his first taste of racism. "I was kind of a sensitive little kid," he reflects. "There were a few bullies in school who would insist on calling me racist names. Sometimes I'd run home weeping, and my mother would say, 'What's the matter?' And I'd say, 'They called me "Blackie.'" And she'd say, 'Well, you are; you surely are.' Then she'd say, 'Look at your father; he's the finest man I know, and he's Black. You ought to want to be like him.' "So when I went back to school, I'd say, 'Sure, I'm Black, just like my daddy,' and I never felt in awe of anybody. That was the end of that." Bradford got his secondary and college education at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. When asked about the people who influenced his life, in addition to his parents, college professors, and pastoral mentors he remembers the Ebenezer Adventist Church in Philadelphia, which he attended as a youth. "I was in a church that took care of its young people," he says. "They had clubs, groups of women who would say, 'Our kids are going to Oakwood. We will pay their train fare, send them little care packages, and bring them back home.' You can't beat that; a young person remembers that." Although he grew up in a pastor's home, Bradford didn't entertain thoughts of being a minister at an early age. "I came to be a minister only gradually," he observes. Encouraged to pursue a career in medicine, he went to Oakwood, and once there eventually became convinced that God wanted him to enter the ministry. During Bradford's last year at Oakwood the evangelist W. S. Lee came to present messages for the school's Week of Prayer. On Sunday Lee had been invited to preach at one of the Protestant churches in town. As he walked past the outdoor basketball courts where young men were shooting baskets, he stopped and asked, "Anybody like to go with me and have the prayer?" Bradford answered, "I'll go." And after the service, on the way back to campus, Pastor Lee asked Bradford to join him as an intern in the Arkansas- Louisiana Conference. Bradford helped Lee with a series of evangelistic meetings in New Orleans, then he was assigned a district that covered the cities of Baton Rouge, Hammond, and Covington, Louisiana, in the newly organized Southwest Region Mission. After six years in pastoral ministry in Louisiana and Dallas, Texas, Bradford was called to the Central States (Regional) Mission as an evangelist and departmental director. After an evangelistic series, when the pastor of one of the St. Louis, Missouri, churches retired, Bradford was asked to provide leadership to that congregation. He remembers that some of his well-meaning colleagues thought leaving departmental work to pastor a local congregation was "beneath" him, that it would sidetrack his career path as a departmental director. In response he told them, "The local church is where I cut my eyeteeth. This is where I was born. I was under that old school that said, 'Whatever the brethren ask you to do, you do.' " Click Here A few years later B
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, nr. 1613/2, 1927-1928 . Photo: Atelier Badekow-Grosz, Berlin. German stage and film actor Werner Krauss (1884-1959) became a worldwide sensation as the demonic Dr. Caligari in the classic of the German expressionist cinema, Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari/The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919). He appeared in several silent masterpieces, but his magnificent film career was later overshadowed by his appearance in one of the most notorious propaganda films of the Third Reich. Werner Johannes Krauss (Krau? in German) was born in Gestungshausen, Germany, in 1884. He was the son of a clergyman. He ran away from home and joined a travelling theatre company. In Berlin he became a film actor. Among his first films were Die Pagode/The Pagoda (1914, Joe May), Nachte des Grauens/A Night of Horror (1916, Richard Oswald, Arthur Robison) with Emil Jannings, Hoffmanns Erzahlungen/Tales of Hoffmann (1916, Richard Oswald) and Opium (1919, Robert Reinert) with Conrad Veidt. In 1916, he met the noted theatre director Max Reinhardt And went to work for him. Krauss had been trained to do exaggerated gestures for the stage, and the German expressionist cinema was but a short stylistic step further for him. In 1919, he became a worldwide sensation for his demonic portrayal of Dr. Caligari in Robert Wiene's Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari/The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919). Dr. Caligari is a a sinister hypnotist who travels the carnival circuit displaying a somnambulist named Cesare (Conrad Veidt). In one tiny German town, a series of murders coincides with Caligari's visit. Krauss was just 35 at the time he appeared in the film, but his heavy makeup made him seem older. Doug Tomlinson at Film Reference: “In The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Krauss epitomizes the German Expressionist performance aesthetic which would dominate the next decade: an obvious external expression of interiority. Throughout the central part of the film, Krauss hobbles through nightmare sets, his crippled walk an expression of a crippled mind, his dark and menacing facial and body makeup of the rot within, his sparse and erratic white hair of his overall decrepitude. His posture, rounded inward to symbolize mystery and enclosure, refuses the spectator any sympathetic identification. At the film's end, when Caligari is shown to be the head of an asylum and the film the rantings of an inmate, Krauss expressionistically softens all aspects of posture and characterization to appear the epitome of benevolence. “ Krauss’ heavy, declamatory technique was perfect for such roles as Bottom in Ein Sommernachtstraum/A Midsummer Night's Dream (1924, Hans Neumann) and Jack the Ripper in Das Wachsfigurenkabinett/The Wax Works (1924, Paul Leni) opposite Emil Jannings and Conrad Veidt. He also played Iago in a 1922 adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello (1922, Dimitri Buchowetzki). Hal Erickson writes: “Even without the benefit of sound, the 1922 German adaptation of Othello seems more operatic than Shakespearean. This may be due to the casting of Emil Jannings, to whom restraint and subtlety were strangers. Werner Krauss, of Cabinet of Dr. Caligari fame, is on hand as the duplicitous Iago. Appearing as the unfortunate Desdemona is Lea Von Lenkeffy, better known as Lya de Putti. Produced on an elaborate scale, Othello may not be true to the letter of Shakespeare, but is undeniably a smorgasbord of visual delights.” Krauss was again prominently featured in such silent masterpieces as Variete/Jealousy (1925, Ewald Andre Dupont), Herr Tartuff/Tartuffe (1925, F.W. Murnau) based on the Molliere play, and Der Student von Prag/The Man Who Cheated Life (1926, Henrik Galeen). He also worked internationally. In France he appeared as the obsessed Count Muffat in Jean Renoir's version of Emile Zola's Nana (1926). Totally submissive to the demands of the exploitative Nana, he ultimately disgraces himself by barking, sitting, rolling over, and playing dead like a dog. His utterly degraded character is reflected in his lumpish posture. By 1926, Krauss had worked with F. W. Murnau, G. W. Pabst, Lupu Pick, E. A. Dupont, Richard Oswald, Paul Leni, and Jean Renoir. He was the leading German film actor of his time, but his obsessed and evil characters had become a cliche. When Adolf Hitler came to power, Werner Krauss clutched the Nazi ideology firmly to his bosom. He only incidentally played in films such as the charming Burgtheater/Burg Theatre (1936, Willi Forst) with Olga Tschechowa. He was made an Actor of the State by Joseph Goebbels, and subsequently played the roles of two stereotypical Jewish characters – Rabbi Loew and Sekretar Levy – in Veit Harlan's notoriously antisemitic Jud Su? (1940) ), a film ordered by the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. Hal Erickson writes in his review of the film: “Leon Feuchtwangler's novel Jud Suss was originally about a powerful ghetto businessman who believes himself to be a Jew. Suss's