Morehouse College Sesquicentennial Celebration

Biography - George Sale, D.D

George Sale was 34 years old when left Toronto, Canada, to come to Atlanta with his bride, Clara Goble Sale, in 1890 to be president of Atlanta Baptist Seminary.

Sale was educated in the public schools there. He graduated from Woodstock College, then received a bachelor of arts degree from Toronto University, where he majored in metaphysics. He went on to McMaster University for two years of seminary training. He then became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Montreal, Canada. He also helped his brother to establish a thriving leather goods store in Montreal. When a period of ill health forced him to retire from the church, he regained his strength with a period of camping in the Georgian Bay area north of Toronto and in the Adirondack Mountains. When he was called to Atlanta, he was serving as superintendent of Sunday school of the Jarvis Street Baptist Church in Toronto when he was called to Atlanta.

Under Sale’s administration, the College provided basic instruction in reading and arithmetic, and training for jobs. On the other hand be said that if a small minority of black students showed aptitude and interest in geometry, logic, Greek, church history, etc. they should have the opportunity as white students. "If these studies have value for white students, why should they not have the same value for Negroes?"

Under Sale’s leadership, Atlanta Baptist Seminary became a liberal arts college and was renamed Atlanta Baptist College. But Sale maintained a practical, pragmatic approach and philosophy. He said that contrary to common belief, ‘”'knowledge is not power. A man may know a great many things and be able to do very few things.”  He worked to establish training in carpentry, printing, teaching (at Spelman College), as well as "moral duties” and lectures on courtship, marriage and home.

In 1906, Sale resigned from the College to become superintendent of education for the American Baptist Home Mission Society. He provided supervision through frequent visits to 11 black colleges and 19 secondary schools in nine states, as well as schools in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Cuba. He had become an American citizen by then and continued to live in Atlanta with his wife, Clara and their three children, Margaret, Elizabeth and George.

In 1909, President Taft appointed Sale and two other commissioners  to go to Liberia on the west coast of Africa to assess matters there. Liberia had requested assistance in maintaining its independence. Liberia was an independent republic, originally founded as a colony by the United States in 1847 as a settlement for free Negroes. The commissioners spent two months there and presented a report to President Taft on their return.

In January 1912, Sale lost a battle with cancer and died in a hospital in New York City. He was 55 years old. At his request, he was buried in Atlanta.