While our physical offices are closed until at least April 13 due Austin's COVID-19 "shelter-in-place" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Peggy Hardman

GRIGGS, ALLEN R. (ca. 1850–1922). Allen R. Griggs, Baptist minister, was born a slave, the son of Elbert and Brailla Griggs of Hancock County, Georgia, about 1850. He was brought to Texas at age nine. Griggs joined the Baptist Church in 1869 and was ordained as a missionary five years later. In 1870 he married, and he and his wife had eight children. Their son, Sutton Elbert Griggs, became a noted minister and novelist. In the early 1870s Griggs received his first pastorate at the New Hope Baptist Church in Dallas, a position he held for nearly ten years. He later served as pastor at Mount Gilead Baptist Church in Fort Worth and First Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Aside from his church duties, Griggs devoted himself to the education of black Texans. He helped raise funds to establish Bishop College and served that institution as a trustee. He was cofounder of North Texas Baptist College in Denison and several other institutions. He has also been credited with establishing the first black high school in Texas and Texas's first black newspaper. In 1891 Griggs was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree by the State University of Kentucky. In 1873 he was made a member of the World's Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, and in 1905 he was selected as a delegate from Texas to the Pan-Baptists Congress meeting in London, England. Further religious activities include years spent as corresponding secretary of the National Baptist Educational Board and chief organizer and president of the Texas Baptist State Sunday-School Convention, and chief organizer of the Texas Baptist Foreign Mission Convention and the Texas Negro Biographical and Historical Society. For twenty years he served as moderator of the Northwestern Baptist Association and was moderator of the State Missionary and Superintendent of Missions for Texas for twenty-eight years. Griggs also served as editor for several newspapers including, the Baptist Journal, Baptist Preacher, Centennial Dollar Reporter, Dallas Christian Leaflet, National Baptist Bulletin, and the Western Star, which he served as an associate editor. At the time of his death he was dean of North Texas Baptist College. Griggs died on May 7, 1922, in Denison. He was buried in Dallas.

Denison Herald, May 12, 1922. Josie Hall, Hall's Moral and Mental Capsule for the Economic and Domestic Life of the Negro as a Solution of the Race Problem (Dallas: R. S. Jenkins, ca. 1905).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Peggy Hardman, "GRIGGS, ALLEN R.," accessed April 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgrax.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...