A Deliverer of Believers
William Dinkins loved the Lord from the time he was seven years old. He loved the Lord all of his long life. It was said that during his lifetime he delivered more than seven thousand believers to the altar, built or improved forty-seven churches and one school, the Harriet Holsey Industrial School of Dublin.
William Anderson Dinkins, Jr. was born to Anderson and Minda Dinkins of Houston County on September 15, 1867. His father, a mullato native of South Carolina, was a minister of the Congregational Methodist Episcopal Church for more than four decades. The elder Anderson pioneered the growth of the C.M.E. Church in the decades following the end of the Civil War. Six of his nine sons followed in his footsteps and became clergymen, one of whom joined the Baptist faith.
Young Dinkins got the best education he could in the village of Fort Valley, Georgia before moving to a better school in Perry, where he was taught by Dr. Duffy, a white teacher who was said to be a friend of the colored race. With nothing more than a meager education, Anderson Dinkins, who accepted the faith at the age of seven, kept his focus on his goal of becoming a minister. By the age of 15, William Anderson Dinkins, Jr. achieved his goal, left the family farm in the Lower Town District of Houston County, and moved to South Carolina in the mid 1880s, where he had the great fortune of being under the tutelage of Bishop Lucius H. Holsey, one of the greatest leaders of the C.M.E. Church in the late 19th Century. Bishop Holsey assigned the 19-year-old minister to serve as Presiding Elder of the Charleston District, making him one of the youngest presiding elders in the history of the denomination.
Before removing to his father's native state, Rev. Dinkins took the hand of Miss Mamie Collins, of Perry, in marriage. Mrs. Dinkins, a student of Atlanta University and a teacher for most of her life, was given a great part of the credit for her husband's successes. Dr. Dinkins once said, "All men should appreciate, respect, care for and love their wives, and be perfectly willing to carry out in good faith the sacred promises that were made at the altar, both in the presence of man and of God."
After one year in South Carolina, Rev. Dinkins returned to accept the pastorate of Holsey's Temple Church in Augusta, where he served for five years. While he was preaching in Augusta, Dinkins took advantage of the educational programs at nearby Paine College. In 1893, after five years of preaching and studying, Rev. Dinkins was granted a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the church's most prestigious educational institution.
Anderson Dinkins was somewhat of a consummate musician. In addition to his seminary studies, Dinkins completed a four-year course in instrumental music. Those who heard him ranked the preacher as one of the best in the denomination. During his commencement exercises Dinkins played all of the musical selections. For six years he was the official organist of the Georgia State Conference. Rev. Dinkins left Augusta and moved to Savannah in 1897 when he succeeded Dr. I. S. Person as the minister of Saint. Paul Church.
Savannah was the place where Rev. Dinkins began to achieve fame as a deliverer of believers. Often cited as one of the greatest events of his life, Dinkins' stirring sermons induced more than five hundred persons to confess their faith and join the C.M.E. Church.
Any successful church needs funds to operate. And, Dinkins was known as a master fund raiser too.
From 1898 to 1902, Dinkins was assigned to supervise districts around the state. When he returned to Fort Valley, he added 375 members to the church in his first year.
Another highlight of Dinkins' career and of special importance to the citizens of Dublin, Georgia came in 1905, when Dinkins helped to found the Harriet Holsey Industrial College on the northwest corner of East Jackson Street and South Decatur Street. Named in honor of the wife of the reverend's mentor, the college was the city's first college and was established to teach black students in the arts of agriculture, technology, and home making. As always, Mamie Dinkins was by her husband's side contributing to the early success of the project. Their daughter, Miss Mamie F. Dinkins, also a talented musician and a student of the Boston Conservatory of Music, was in charge of the music at Harriet Holsey Normal and Industrial School. She later worked as a teacher and music director in the city schools of Augusta, Ga.
During his nearly fifteen years in Dublin, Rev. Dinkins served as the editor of the Christian Herald, the statewide newspaper of the C.M.E. Church.
During his long ministerial career, W.A.Dinkins served as President of the Epworth League of the State of Georgia for six years. Dinkins did double duty for a decade and a half in the pulpit and the classroom, being one of a few licensed black teachers in Georgia. He was Secretary of the Farmers' Home Company of Augusta, Ga. The company owned more than six thousand acres of land, which it planned to use to establish the first Congressional Industrial School in the State of Georgia. Rev. Dinkins was active in fraternal circles as a Master Mason, Odd Fellow and Knight of Pythias.
Dr. Dinkins was the recipient of many high and esteemed honors. Atlanta's Morris Brown College conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. This accolade is significant in that it came from an African Methodist Episcopal Church, and not from the Congregational Episcopal Church.
Dr. William Anderson Dinkins was known and respected throughout the state as preacher, lecturer, editor, musician, financier, and a man who worked for the Lord with all of his heart and soul.