VA-D38 The Rev. Dr. William H. Sheppard (28 May 1865 - 25 Nov. 1927)

Marker text: THE REV. DR. WILLIAM H. SHEPPARD (28 MAY 1865 - 25 NOV. 1927)

Born in Waynesboro to former slaves, William H. Sheppard became a Presbyterian missionary to the Belgian colony of Congo Free State in 1890. He and others opposed King Leopold II of Belgium, who encouraged such atrocities as the amputation of children's hands to intimidate Congolese rubber workers. On 21 Aug. 1904, while visiting his mother here, Sheppard spoke out at Warm Springs Presbyterian Church; reportedly, the Belgian ambassador attended. Later, in Africa, Sheppard published his charges, and the Belgian rubber monopoly sued for libel. After a judge dismissed the suit in Sept. 1909, an investigation verified Sheppard's claims and compelled improvements. Sheppard returned permanently to America in 1910.

Department of Historic Resources, 1998

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