In 1906, William J. Seymour, the son of former slaves, was learning to preach in Houston when he met Neely Terry, an African-American woman from Los Angeles. She invited the preacher to her own church, an offer he accepted. Soon members of the church he visited were speaking in tongues for some reason, and several weeks later even Seymour was doing the same. Word of this miracle traveled fast among the Black, Latino, White and Asian residents of LA, who gathered in such crowds the porch of the church collapsed forcing them to regroup in a former stable on Azusa Street. Following near "round the clock" preaching, the church was criticized in a front page story in the LA Times titled "Weird Babel of Tongues" and strange happenings were reported far and wide. The members were called "tangled tonguers" and "holy jumpers". There were reports of the blind seeing and members of various languages being able to converse with each other as easily as brothers. One reporter even described the events as a "...disgraceful intermingling of the races...they cry and make howling noises all day...the people appear to be mad...they have a one-eyed preacher who stays on his knees with his head hidden behind wooden milk crates". That would be Rev. Seymour. Such is the "Azusa Street Revival" which is easy to look up, don't take MY word for it... and which eventually withered and splintered only to regroup later as the Pentecostal movement. Curious beginnings indeed for a church which now claims 500 million members, and who distribute bible publications still from Des Moines, Iowa where this bill originated in 1944.
"Two Ways" Two Dollar Bill, Open Bible Publications 1944 Collection Jim Linderman