January 14, 1905
President Theodore Roosevelt hosted missionary and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society William Henry Sheppard Jr. at the White House. A native of Virginia, Sheppard attended seminary training at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa before traveling to the Congo Free State, today the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with Selma minister Samuel Lapsley. Sheppard spent 21 years in Africa, founding the American Presbyterian Congo Mission and becoming a noted explorer and collector of African art. In 1908, he published an article exposing atrocities committed against the Congolese people by Belgium, leading to diplomatic sanctions and the disgrace of Belgium’s King Leopold II.
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