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Major J. Divine

Father Divine”) (1865?-1965. Founder of the Peace Mission Movement. Born George Baker into a poor Negro family on Hutchinson's Island, Georgia, he-a former Baptist-was by 1907 claiming to be “God in the sonship degree.” He traveled awhile, then settled in New York City. About 1919, as Major J. Divine, he moved to Sayville, Long Island, and later to Harlem. His socioreligious movement grew rapidly in the 1930s and 1940s as he spoke across the country and published his magazine The New Day. As Father Divine, he ran a massive cooperative agency and employment service, providing low-cost meals and lodgings in his “heavens.” After a court judgment against him, headquarters were moved to Philadelphia. He equated Americanism, Christianity, and democracy, and imposed an exceedingly strict moral code. The interracial movement regards him as God, has over a million members in several states and foreign countries, and is continued by his white widow and heir, Mother Divine.