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Sister Gertrude Morgan

A former street preacher who became an artist, poet, and musician, Gertrude Morgan painted biblical themes to illustrate her gospel teachings. Born on April 7, 1900, in Lafayette, Alabama, Morgan moved to New Orleans during the late 1930s following a separation from her “earthly” husband. In New Orleans she became affiliated with the Holiness and Sanctified denomination, a loosely organized religious group that praised God through music and dancing. Morgan adopted the title “Sister” during the early 1940s when she became associated with two other street missionaries, Mother Margaret Parker and Sister Cora Williams. As a result of contributions and offerings from their combined street preaching, the three women purchased land, built a chapel, and opened a child-care center in the Gentilly section of New Orleans. For more than twelve years they furnished food and shelter to orphans, runaways, and children of working mothers. The center was destroyed by a hurricane in 1965. After the center closed, Morgan moved to St. Bernard Parish and became the nurse-companion of an elderly woman who owned the tiny house that later became Morgan’s Everlasting Gospel Mission.

In 1965 Morgan had a vision of the Holy Ghost that revealed she was the chosen bride of God. After that, Morgan wore only white to symbolize her spiritual marriage—a crisp nurse’s uniform, nurse’s oxfords, white stockings, and a small peaked cap perched on her mixed gray hair.   — Smithsonian American Art Museum



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