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Dr. Barbara King papers

Identifier: aarl016-002

Scope and Contents note

The Collection Consists of sermon notes, journals, books, travel documents, a map, catalogues, flyers, an ID card, invitations, correspondence, programs, Newspaper clippings, writings by various authors, photographs, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, DVDs, and awards of Dr. Barbara King dating from 1945-2016. In addition to physical awards included, there is a listing of names and pictures of additional awards that Dr. Barbara King has received.


  • 1945-2016


Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is available for use only on the third floor (Archives Division) of the Auburn Avenue Research Library. There are no restrictions on research use of the collection.

Conditions Governing Use note

Prior permission from the Research Library must be obtained in writing before any portion of this collection can be published or reproduced.

Biographical/Historical note

Dr. Barbara King was born on August 26, 1930 in Houston, Texas to Lee Andrew Lewis and Mildred Shackelford, both of whom graduated from Wiley College. Her parents, her paternal grandmother, and her maternal aunts were all integral to her early academic and spiritual growth. Dr. King began teaching Sunday school at age 13, and at 15 she delivered her first speech on Women’s Day to her church. She went on to become a straight A student and earned scholarships that allowed her to attend Texas Southern University. Before she graduated, however, she was hospitalized with tuberculosis. She overcame her illness with a firm belief in the “Prayer of Faith” from Unity broadcasts.

After graduation, she went on to earn a master’s degree in social work and moved to Chicago were she dedicated her services to many programs. It was around this time that she met the woman who would become her mentor, Reverend Dr. Johnnie Colemon. Rev. Dr. Colemon encouraged her to follow her dreams of becoming a minister. After the birth of her first child, Michael Lewis King, she moved to Atlanta.

In 1971, Dr. King began holding weekly prayer meetings in her living room with twelve of her friends. What started as a small non-denominational, ecumenical ministry became the Hillside International Chapel and Truth Center. Her mission has always been to practice and demonstrate the ways of Jesus through peace and inclusivity. As her following grew, her and her members raised enough funds to purchase a nearby church complex in 1974. She added a number of programs, classes, and services, including bible study, a metaphysical bookstore, a choir, special interest groups, her television ministry, and in 1977, the Barbara King School of Ministry opened its doors. Her church continued to grow to such a degree that she initiated the building project that would expand the original four acre property into a thirteen acre sanctuary, which now includes classrooms, a music suite, offices, a hospitality suite, and kitchen, among other things. In addition, she is also an entrepreneur and, in the hopes of instilling confidence and positive body image in tall women and teens, she created a line of clothing made especially for them. Dr. King has encouraged the continued education and development of the youth in her community through the academic scholarship that is awarded in her name. In 2012, she herself earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary.

Dr. King has ministered throughout the United States and the world. Her experiences at home and abroad have provided her with the material to author nine books. She has also appeared on several national television shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, and featured in newspapers throughout the world. Dr. King has been honored by being read into the U.S. Congressional record, has been involved in legislative resolutions in three states, and has received the keys to five cities. Her portrait hangs in both the Smithsonian Museum as well as in the International Hall of Honor in the Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel at Morehouse College and her shoes are featured on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. Dr. King is a member of many influential organizations, including the NAACP, the International New Thought Alliance, National Association of Social Workers, and National Women’s Law Center, among others. In the 1980’s, she was elected to serve as a member of the National Rules Committee and as a Democratic National Committee Elector with the Georgia Democratic Party Delegation.

In 2001, Dr. King was given the title of Chief at Assin Nsuta, Ghana. Her stool name is Nana Yaa Twumwaa I, which is a reference to a national hero to the Ashanti people who led hundreds of men against the British army to recapture their sacred stool. Dr. King actively ensures that those in the village have computers and other resources and she is also developing plans to build a Library of African American Literature to honor those who were taken as slaves to America as well as those who were left in Africa. Although she has achieved a wide variety of accomplishments, her ultimate goal has always been to help people recognize their talents so that they can share them with the world in their own way.


15.25 Linear feet



Inventory of the Dr. Barbara King Papers aarl016-002
Finding aid prepared by Processed by Derek Mosley and Jane Shirra
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History Repository

101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta GA 30303