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Biographical Note

Scope and Content


Preferred Citation

Restrictions on Access

Restrictions on Use

Related Material

Subject Terms

Container List [ + ]

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Guide to the Josephine Whitely-Fields Papers

Mark C. Shenise

United Methodist Archives and History Center
General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church
(Published for the African American Methodist Heritage Center)


Overview of Collection

Record Creator: Whitely-Fields, Josephine
Title: Josephine Whitely-Fields Papers
Date Span: 2021
Abstract: Two publications documenting selected Black clergywomen in the United Methodist tradition.
Extent: 0.18 cubic feet

Biographical or History Note

Reverend Dr. Josephine Ann Whitely-Fields, Black American United Methodist Clergy Woman, was born in 1944 at Caretta, West Virginia. Whitely-Fields is the fifth of nine children born to Arthur Thomas and Luella Braggs Whitely and lived in poverty conditions. The family were faithful Methodists. When entering the seventh grade Whitely-Fields help to desegregate the local all-white public school. Within two years the family moved Toledo, Ohio where she graduated from high school and joined the Braden Methodist Episcopal Church. Despite the move to Ohio, she continued to face racism in the local school system.

Upon graduation Whitely-Fields attended Toledo University where racism was still prevalent and continue to shape her life and future career. While attending the University of Pittsburgh Dental School she received a personal call into the ministry. Afterwards Whitely-Fields earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh. By 1975 she decided to professionally train for ordained ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary which culminated in forty years of United Methodist ministry.

Whitely-Fields became a licensed minister in 1976, Deacon (1979) and elder (1986) in the West Ohio Annual Conference. She also served a AME Zion church, churches in the Virginia Annual Conference and finally in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference until her retirement in 2015. Other ministries outside the local church included: Annual Conference staff member, Director of Career Exploration Missions, CEO/Founder of John Wesley Career Exploration Missions Project and Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. She retired from active ministry in 2015.

Whitely-Fields was married to the Reverend Frederick Lee Fields until his death on November 30, 2004. They have four children.

Scope and Content Note

Two publications documenting selected Black clergywomen in the United Methodist tradition. The first publication is titled, Here I Am: Black Clergy Women 1974-2016; Pioneers, Pastors, Prayer Warriors. It is a spiral bound volume that contains additional information not found in the second publication. This hard bound publication is titled Pioneer Black Clergy Women; Stories of Black Clergywomen of the United Methodist Church 1974-2016. It is a condensed version of the larger first publication. Dr. Josephine Whitely-Fields is the editor of both volumes and the latter is published by Westbow Press.


Materials have been arranged in the following manner.

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Preferred Citation

When citing material from this collection please use the following format: Direct reference to the item or its file folder, Josephine Whitely-Fields Papers, African American Methodist Heritage Center - AAMHC, Madison, New Jersey. Do not make use of the item's call number as that is not a stable descriptor.

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding this collection.

Use Access

Detailed use restrictions relating to our collections can be requested from the office of the archivist at the General Commission on Archives and History. Photocopying is handled by the staff and may be limited in certain instances. Before using any material for publication from this collection a formal request for permission to publish is expected and required.

Related Material

First paragraph

Index Terms

Subject Terms
African American Methodists
Women, Methodist
Geographic Terms
Subject Names - Corporate Bodies
United Methodist Church (U.S.)
Genre Terms
Occupation Terms
Added Names - Persons
Bell, Cheryl Jefferson
DeDeaux, Ella H.
Duroseau, Leslie
Johnson, Katurah
Lee, Linda
Lewis, Sharma Denise
Malone, Tracy S.
Mason, Debra
Moore-KoiKoi, Cynthia
Morgan, Edna Mae
Orphe, Martha Marie
Randolph, Diane Curry
Sutton, Tara Renee

Container List

Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
2413-4-8: 01 Here I Am: Black Clergy Women 1974-2016; Pioneers, Pastors, Prayer Warriors 2021
2413-4-8: 02 Pioneer Black Clergy Women; Stories of Black Clergywomen of the United Methodist Church 1974-2016 2021