Billy Graham Center

Interviews with Dolphus Douglas Weary - Collection 373

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Dolphus Douglas Weary

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection

Brief Description.
Interview describing Weary's childhood, education and religious training in rural Mississippi, conversion, leadership in Voice of Calvary Ministries and Mendenhall Ministries, impressions of John Perkins, and racial conditions in Mississippi.
Vol: 2 Reels of Audio Tapes

Collection 373
[March 23, 2000]
Weary, Dolphus Douglas; 1946-
Interview; 1987
2 Audio Tapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Sketch

Dolphus Douglas Weary was born August 7, 1946, in Sandy Hook, Mississippi, on the southern Mississippi-Louisiana border. When Weary was two, his family moved to D'Lo, Mississippi, where they lived on his grandfather's farm. Around 1951, Weary's father moved back to the Mississippi-Louisiana border area, leaving his family at his wife's parent's farm. The family later moved to Magee, Mississippi, where they sharecropped on the land of a white farmer. After several years, they returned to D'Lo to work on the family farm again.

Weary grew up participating in church life. He became a member of the community church when he was eight; he committed his life to Christ when he was seventeen at a tent revival meeting sponsored by John Perkins, the founder of Voice of Calvary Ministries. Weary graduated from high school in 1965. He attended Piney Woods Jr. College (in a neighboring county) from 1965 to 1967. In 1967 he transferred on a basketball scholarship to LA Baptist College (Los Angeles), from which he graduated in 1969. Entering with one other black student, they were the first black Americans to enroll at the College. After graduation, Weary immediately entered the LA Baptist Theological Seminary, from which he graduated with an MA in Christian education in 1971. While attending seminary, Weary worked part-time as a coach at the LA Bible College.

Weary returned to Mendenhall during the summers of 1968 and 1969 to work with Voice of Calvary to help lead a vacation Bible school program (1968) and coordinate a tutoring program (1969) established in anticipation of the integration of the public schools planned for 1970. In 1970 Weary joined the Sports Ambassadors program of Overseas Crusades, and toured Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines, playing basketball and giving evangelistic messages. Although considering a career as a missionary, he felt called to return to Mississippi to work with Voice of Calvary, which he did after graduation in 1971. Upon returning to Mendenhall, he was given the post of executive director when John Perkins moved to Jackson, Mississippi.

In early 1978, Voice of Calvary explored ways to spin off the Mendenhall aspect of its work into an autonomous ministry. Later that year, Voice of Calvary-Jackson and Voice of Calvary-Mendenhall became two organizations. With that change, Weary added the post of president of Voice of Calvary-Mendenhall to his executive director duties. In 1981, the Mendenhall Voice of Calvary was renamed The Mendenhall Ministries (TMM). Artis Fletcher, pastor of the Mendenhall Bible Church, became TMM's president at that time, while Weary continued to serve as its executive director. He was again appointed TMM's president in 1986. In 1988, he continued to hold the positions of President and Executive Director. Weary also served as associate pastor of the Mendenhall Bible Church.

Weary married Rosie Camper in 1970. They had three children, a daughter and two sons.

Scope and Content

The interview with Dolphus Weary was conducted by Paul A. Ericksen at the Mendenhall Ministries headquarters in Mendenhall, Mississippi, on June 25, 1987. The approximate time period of the events covered in the interview is: #T1: 1948-1973; #T2: 1973-1987.

Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is noted in the margin to the left of the topics discussed. The index is keyed to a cassette copy of the interview, not the reel-to-reel original. The boldfaced entries correspond with the Cross Reference List at the end of this guide and are intended to highlight the topics covered in the interview.

Tape #T1 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:30 Introduction to interview (June 25, 1987).
01:15 Birth, childhood, and family conditions.
05:45 Experiences which developed an awareness of racism.
11:30 Experiences in educational system.
15:15 Church's role in the black community; revival, homecoming and church association meetings.
21:15 Personal spiritual journey: church membership, period of questioning, conversion at tent meeting coordinated by John Perkins.
24:00 John Perkins compared with itinerant pastor.
28:45 First recollections of Vera Mae Perkins.
30:45 Segregation's influence in Christian liberal arts colleges; hierarchy of integration in American society.
33:00 Influence of sports Gospel team; attending L.A. Baptist College on a basketball scholarship.
34:45 Voice of Calvary's vacation Bible schools in 1968; VOC's tutoring program in 1969 in anticipation of 1970 integration of the Simpson County's schools.
38:45 Speaking as a part of a basketball Gospel team.
40:30 Attending LA Baptist Theological Seminary.
42:00 Overseas Crusades' Sports Ambassadors team to Taiwan, the Philippines and Hong Kong in 1970; consideration of missionary service; engagement to Rosie.
44:45 End of Side 1.

Tape #T1 - Side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from Side 1.
03:15 God's call to return to Mendenhall; John Perkins' move to Jackson.
05:30 Mendenhall jailings and economic boycott; Perkins' jailing and torture in adjacent county's jail.
10:30 Weary appointed executive director.
12:00 Difficulties working with John Perkins.
14:15 Advantage of working with Perkins.
15:45 Voice of Calvary's strained relationship with Mendenhall's black community.
17:15 Voice of Calvary's transfer to Jackson; continuous Christian education for college students.
19:20 End of tape.

Tape #T2 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:30 Ministry among college students.
01:15 Transferring Voice of Calvary's headquarters; administrative and ministry developments.
04:00 Plan to separate a Mendenhall ministry off of Voice of Calvary in 1978; accelerated process to divide; feelings of being deserted by Perkins.
09:15 Critical decisions in 1981: forgave Perkins, changed name to The Mendenhall Ministries (TMM), organized a board of directors, and had audit done; difficult circumstances.
11:30 Comparison of Mendenhall Ministries and Voice of Calvary; TMM's strong link to the Mendenhall Bible Church.
13:15 TMM's weakness: leadership development.
14:45 Disadvantages and advantages in using volunteers.
18:30 Weary's radio ministry.
20:15 Administrative rebuilding phase for TMM.
22:00 Relationship between Mendenhall Ministries and Mendenhall Bible Church.
23:15 Weary's working relationship with Artis Fletcher.
25:45 Impact of too rapid organizational growth.
27:00 Children's feelings about the ministry; impact on their education by staying in Mendenhall.
29:45 Self evaluation.
31:50 Wife's role in TMM; philosophy of family hospitality.
36:00 Current racial and social environment of Mendenhall; attitudes toward the white community.
41:45 Evangelicals attitudes toward TMM's integration of evangelism and social action.
44:15 End of interview.


The interview in this collection was received from Weary by the Center in June 1987.

Accession #87-82
October 14, 1988
Paul A. Ericksen
K. Elwell
J. Nasgowitz

Accession #87-82
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

#T1 - Interview with Dolphus Weary by Paul Ericksen. Recorded on June 25, 1987. Original cassette transferred to reel-to-reel, one side only, 3-3/4 i.p.s. Approximately 65 minutes (1 hour, 5 minutes).

#T2 - Continuation of #T1. One side only. Approximately 45 minutes.

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