From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Bell, J. W.

(born: 1861  -  died: 1947) 

Rev. J. W. Bell lived in Louisville, KY, where he was one of the early pastors of the Center Street Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church. In 1873, he was elected secretary of the CME General Conference. That same year, he was named Book Agent of the CME Publishing House and editor of the Christian Index, the CME monthly news publication. The CME publishing operation had been moved from Memphis to Louisville.

After a month, Bell was limited to editing the newspaper only, and W. P. Churchill of Louisville was named the new book agent.

Bell produced the first issue of the Christian Index in Kentucky; the newspaper was six-years-old, having been first published in 1867. A few months later, a disagreement occurred between Bell and Bishop Miles, and Bell was relieved of his duties at the newspaper and at the Center Street CME Church. He was replaced by Alexander Austin.

In 1884, Rev. J. W. Bell was a pastor in Hopkinsville, KY [source: Proceedings, Sermon, Essays, and Addresses of the Centennial Methodist Conferenceedited by H. J. Carroll et. al., p. 17]. He had also been the pastor of the Israel Church in Washington, D.C. [source: Autobiography and Work of Bishop M. F. Jamison, D.D. ("Uncle Joe"), by M. F. Jamison, p. 170].

Rev. J. W. Bell was born in 1861 in Mississippi, the son of Ed and Bessie Bell [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death, Registrar's #2744]. He was the husband of Millie Bell. He died in Louisville at 510 E. Madison Street on June 12, 1947.

For more see The History of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America, by C. H. Phillips.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Christian County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Hopkinsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Center Street Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church
NKAA Entry: CME Publishing House in Kentucky
NKAA Entry: Miles, William Henry
NKAA Source: The Christian index (periodical)
NKAA Source: Proceedings, sermon, essays, and addresses of the Centennial Methodist Conference held in Mt. Vernon Place Methodist Episcopal Church, Baltimore, Md., December 9-17, 1884 : with a historical statement
NKAA Source: Autobiography and work of Bishop M.F. Jamison, D.D. ("Uncle Joe") editor, publisher, and Church Extension Secretary : a narration of his whole career from the cradle to the Bishopric of the Colored M.E. Church in America
NKAA Source: The history of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America comprising its organization, subsequent development and present status

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Bell, J. W.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2021,

Last modified: 2021-02-03 18:47:31