MCKINNEY, WADE HAMPTON (19 July 1892-18 Jan. 1963) and RUTH BERRY (24 Sept. 1900-4 Dec. 1966), were religious and civic leaders in Cleveland. As pastor of ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH, McKinney was a powerful figure among the city's black population. Ruth McKinney, an activist in church circles, was also an important speaker and leader. Wade was born in Cleveland, Ga., to Wade and Mary Brown McKinney. He attended Atlanta Baptist College Academy, Morehouse College, and Colgate Rochester Theological Seminary. He served in the U.S. Army in WORLD WAR I. In 1924, while serving as pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Flint, Mich., he married Annie Ruth Berry, born in Birmingham, Ala., daughter of Rev. Samuel and Ada Virginia Berry. Ruth Berry was educated at Spelman College and Columbia University. The couple moved to Cleveland in 1928 to lead the fast-growing Antioch Church.

Rev. McKinney was president of the CLEVELAND BAPTIST ASSOC. and Cuyahoga Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. An outstanding orator, Rev. McKinney was frequently spokesman for Cleveland's black community and was the first black foreman of the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury. Rev. McKinney was an organizer of Quincy Savings & Loan Co. and of FOREST CITY HOSPITAL, and he led many voter-registration campaigns. He also helped to establish the FUTURE OUTLOOK LEAGUE and the Cleveland Business League.

Annie Ruth Berry McKinney was a college teacher when she married. As the wife of Antioch's minister, she became active in the affairs of religious organizations in Cleveland and across the nation and was in great demand as a speaker. Beginning in 1952, she broadcast 1-minute radio "Thot-O-Grams" under the auspices of the United Church Women of Cleveland.

The McKinneys had 4 children: Wade H., III, Samuel B. (Rev.), Virginia Ruth (Henderson), and Mary Louise (Miles).

Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding aid for the Reverend Wade H. and Mrs. Ruth B. McKinney Papers, WRHS.

Finding aid for the Wade Hampton McKinney Family Photographs, WRHS. 

Article Categories