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 Father Divine

Father Divine

Original Name George Baker
Birth
Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Death 10 Sep 1965 (aged 88–89)
Gladwyne, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Gladwyne, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 285 · View Source
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Minister. Born George Baker in Rockville, Maryland he was the son of recently freed slaves. Around 1920 he founded what would become his legacy, the International Peace Mission. Early in his ministry he had started being known as "Father Divine" but later he took on his full self given name, Reverend Major Jealous Divine. Around this time he also made claims of being "God". This garnered much criticism from the outside world and lead to his imprisonment. Upon release, Father Divine and his followers moved to Sayville, New York in 1919 and remained there for 12 years before migrating to Harlem in 1932. Here he was able to accumulate a substantial following in the black community as well as great wealth. Father Divine's comfortable lifestyle allowed him to purchase several hotels, which he called Heavens. He allowed members to live and seek jobs inexpensively. The movement also opened several budget enterprises including restaurants and clothing shops. By the mid 1930's he had opened branches of the movement in Los Angeles, California, and Seattle, Washington, and gatherings occurred in France, Switzerland, Canada, and Australia. Around 1942 he moved his headquarters to Woodmont Estate in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. It is estimated that he had nearly 2 million followers, but the true figure is unknown. He stayed there until his death in 1965 and was buried on the grounds of his estate. Father Divine was a very significant part of the early civil rights movement although he opposed the labels associated with race. The infamous cult leader Jim Jones tried to take over the movement in 1971 after Baker's death. Jones claimed to be the reincarnation of Father Divine.

Bio by: Dione Wilson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 285
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Father Divine (1876–10 Sep 1965), Find A Grave Memorial no. 285, citing Shrine to Life at Woodmont Grounds, Gladwyne, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .