Quida Flora Coley

Quida Flora Coley

Ouida Coley

Ouida Coley (center), Sarah Lee Owens (left), and Silvia Ioas (right).  Baha’i International Conference, Panama Hilton Hotel, Panama City, Panama, 1967. 

Quida Flora Coley

Ouida Coley (1939-2013) was a devoted member of the Baha’i Faith for well over 50 years.   She had served for several years as a member of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Washington, DC, and being fluent in Spanish she had extensive Baha’i pioneering experience having served in Paraguay, South America.  Additional information forthcoming about the Coley family in a later post. 

Knobloch Memorial July 2000

Knobloch Memorial July 2000

Knobloch Memorial

Prospect Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC

8 July 2000

knobloch hannan

L – R. Amelia Knobloch, Alma Knobloch, Carl A. Hannen
Pauline Hannen and Joseph Hannen.

Knobolch & Hannen Story

Amalie Knobloch, her husband and daughters, Fanny, Pauline, and Alma, moved to the United States in 1859 from Germany, and eventually settled in Washington, DC.  Pauline was the first to learn of the Baha’i Faith and soon taught her sisters and mother.  They all became very active Baha’is.

“Mrs. Knobloch and her family consistently visited and hosted Americans of African descent, thus illustrating the quality of racial unity that is central to the Bahá’í teachings…it is a reminder [for us] to further explore the rare and specific guidance from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to honor and inspire the early champions of racial unity in the Bahá’í Faith.”

dc early 1900 2

Washington, DC – Early 1900s

The Knobloch Legacy.  “An eloquent testimony was written on the life of Mrs. Amalie Knobloch in the April 1910 issue of Star of the West*, a national Baha’i newsletter. It announced in three paragraphs the location of the ‘Institution of Baha’i Sunday Schools’ which Amalie’s daughter, Pauline, had introduced to North America, and the [racial] integrated Community Feast which she herself had personally labored for together with her family, considered as true pioneers of this work in North America. Finally, a visitation tablet received from ‘Abdu’l-Baha which all Baha’is who visit Washington are to read to ensure that her legacy based on her understanding [and] demonstrated efforts of the ‘Oneness of God’ and the ‘Oneness of Mankind’, and the importance of raising a family to serve the Baha’i Faith live on forever.”

The following Tablet revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is to be read when visiting the grave of Amalie Knobloch:

He is God! O, thou Pure Spirit, Amalie Knobloch! Although thou didst soar away from this terrestrial world, yet thou didst enter into the immeasurable, illumined Universe of the Almighty. While in this life thou didst hear the Divine Call, beheld the light of Truth, became alive by the Breaths of the Holy Spirit, tasted the sweetness of the Love of God, became the Maid-Servant of the Lord of Hosts and the object of the Bounties of His Highness the Desired one. Thou didst lead the erring ones into the Path of Truth and bestowed a portion of the Heavenly Food to those who are deprived. Thou didst consecrate the days of thy existence to the Service of His Highness the Clement and spent thy time in the diffusion of the Fragrances of the Paradise of Abha. There are many souls perfumed and many spirits illumined through thy services!

O, thou divine, beloved Maid-Servant! Although thou didst disappear from the mortal eyes, yet thou didst train and educate thy daughters, each of whom has arisen to serve the Kingdom like unto thee and is engaged in the guidance of the souls. In the Assembly of wisdom they are the lighted candles; they sacrifice their lives in the Path of God; they are gardening in thy orchard and irrigating thy rose-garden. Happy is thy condition, for thou art enjoying Eternal Life in the Kingdom of Everlasting Glory and hast left in this world kind and loving Remembrances.

Happy are those souls who visit thy luminous resting-place and through thy commemoration receive and acquire spiritual Powers!

Pauline Knobloch

Pauline Knobloch

Pauline Amalie Knobloch-Hannen (1874-1939). She was praised by ‘Abdu’l-Baha for her teaching efforts. Not only did she bring her 2 sisters, mother and her husband into the faith but also her relatives the Barnitz family of Washington D.C. as well; in addition, she introduced the Faith to Louis Gregory and Mrs. Pocahontas Pope, both among the first to become Baha’i in America.

Fannie Knobloch

Fannie Knobloch

Fanny Almine Knobloch (1859-1949) helped to establish the Bahá’í Faith in South Africa. She visited the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, spent time in Cape Town, and made side trips to Mozambique and Rhodesia. She returned to the US in 1926 and then went back to Capetown in 1928 for two more years. In the 1930s she made several teaching trips in the southern and central United States.


Above photo: 6th from left, Carol Coley (blue tie); to his left, his sister, Quida Coley and their mother, Francis Coley.  Second from right: Richard Bond, husband of Barbra J. Eaton-Bond.  All members of the Washington, DC Baha’i community.  Others in the photo are identified in the ‘Judy Moe Document’ listed below.

Rededication Knobloch Gravesite

Knobloch Memorial

On Thursday, June 29, 2000, the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’i’s of Washington, DC by email invited recipients to attend “…a unique event that will pay tribute to a distinguished Baha’i family of Washington DC, the Knobloch family.”



Date: 8 July 2000 Time: 3:30 pm
Location: Prospect Hills Cemetery, Washington, DC



Temperature: 75° Rain: 0%
Sunny: Yes Wind: 2mph

*HISTORY.  Baha’i News, Vol. 1 Chicago, (April 9, 1910) Jalal No. 2.  Jos. H. Hannen.  “The Visiting Tablet revealed by Abdul-Baha for Mrs. Amalie Knobloch has been read over her grave by a large number of the Bahais of Washington on different occasions. March 13, Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm was accompanied to the tomb by a party of the young people; March 27 Mr. and Mrs. Kinney, Dr. Fareed and Mrs. Getsinger were visitors, with the Sunday School children completing the party. The obedience of the friends to this Command to read the Visiting Tablet is notable and a great blessing attends this act.”  


Knobloch Decendants 4

Commemorative Ceremony

The early Knobloch & Hannen family members are buried in a plot at Prospect Hill Cemetery, located just north of Rhode Island Avenue and North Capitol Street in Washington, DC. It was expected that about twenty of the descendants will arrive to hold a commemorative ceremony starting at 11 AM on 8 July 2000. The Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Washington, DC sent out invitations for all to attend, and later to come for a light lunch at the Baha’i Center to meet the descendants of this outstanding family.

The Knobloch Memorial brochure was expanded to include documented references to information and events related to the remarkable service performed by the Knobloch & Hannen family members. It is intended to assist those who desire to acquire a deeper understanding of the impact and extent of services rendered by the family members to advance the Cause of Baha’u’llah. Access PDF file below.


Knobloch/Hannen Descendants

Judy Moe, a Hannen descendant, provided much of the information used to commemorate and document this event.  She and I exchanged photographs and she later compiled and arranged materials for presentation.  Find name identity and additional information contained in the two pdf files listed below.     

001 copy


There is a wealth of information available from various sources about the early Baha’i teaching efforts of members of the Knobloch and Hannen families.  Unfortunately, very little information has been discovered or revealed about most of those whom they taught and much less about the efforts put forth by those new believers to expand the Faith.  However, to guide the reader in exploring possibilities we provide a few links below.  Be aware that you may possibly discover what may appear to be misinformation, conflicting details, or just plain mistakes in that being recounted.  This may be disconcerting but should be expected due to the time period in question, possible lack of quality in notetaking and diverse understandings, perspectives, and memories of those involved.  Much substantial Baha’i history will forever be lost, but conjecture must not be the medium through which these gaps are filled.  Objective, continuous and dedicated scholarship are required to research, analyze and render Baha’i history from its inception and growth and development throughout the ages.  Find additional reading below.

knobloch hannen MAIN

Find A Grave

Location of cemeteries, graves and burial plots of Knobloch & Hannen family members.

cemetery 2

Others Attending

anita ioas chapman2

At the left is Anita Ioas Chapman, daughter of Hand of the Cause, Leroy Ioas and his wife Sylvia. Sylvia Ioas was a member of the International Baha’i Council, the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice.

Note:  Background information relating to those listed above will be made available at a later time.

coley eaton parsons iranian 3

L/R. Quida Coley (former pioneer to Paraguay), Iranian lady, Barbara J. Eaton-Bond (member of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Washington, DC), and Tehmenia Irani Parsons (her parents are buried at prospect Hill Cemetery).


Photo. Prospect Hill Cemetery (PHC Website)
Photo. Knobloch/Hannen (Internet)
Photo. Washington, DC Early 1900s (Creative Commons)
Photo. Pauline Knobloch & Husband (Baha’i Media Bank)
Photo. Fannie Knobloch (Baha’i Media Bank)
Photo. Group photos (bottom two) duplicates from: ‘Judy Moe Document’
Photo. Others by Terry Randolph (ObeisanceBaha Archives)
Judy Moe Document. Prepared by Judy Moe (Hannen descendant)

cemetery 3

Prospect Hill Cemetery

Prospect Hill Cemetery, also known as the German Cemetery, is a historic German-American cemetery founded in 1858 and located at 2201 North Capitol Street in Washington, D.C.

+1 202-667-0676


Prospect Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC

Washington Baha'i Center

Follow Along

Read more about Baha’i teaching and community consolidation efforts and those involved.

Muskegon Michigan Baha’i Temple Site

Muskegon Michigan Baha’i Temple Site

Future Mašriqu-l-‘Aḏkār A site destined for a future Mašriqu-l-‘Aḏkār (Bahá’í House of Worship) is located in the City of Muskegon, State of Michigan, the United States. Mašriqu-l-‘Aḏkār Mašriqu-l-‘Aḏkār is an Arabic phrase meaning “Dawning-place of the remembrances...

Poor Peoples Campaign

Poor Peoples Campaign

Poor Peoples Campaign Members from various Baha'i communities gather to participate in the Poor Peoples Campaign held in the Nations Capital 12 May - 24 June, 1968. 19 June 1968.  Baha'is stand ready to participate in the Poor Peoples Campaign...

Melba Dorsey Wheatley

Melba Dorsey Wheatley

The richly talented and abundant life of Melba Dorsey Wheatley shown forth as a deeply inspired member of the Baha’i Faith, dedicated to its precepts and principles, and the spiritual reality of the oneness of humankind.

Zylpha Mapp Robinson

Zylpha Mapp Robinson

Zylpha Quida

Zilpha Mapp-Robinson

Zylpha Mapp-Robinson (r) is with Quida Coley at the 1992 Baha’i World Congress held at the Jacob-Javits Convention Center in New York City. They are both longtime Baha’i international pioneers, Zylpha for more than nine years in Africa (principally, Uganda), and Quida Coley for approximately six years in Paraguay, South America. Zylpha, as with many others over the years, responded to `Abdu’l-Bahá’s Tablets of the Divine Plan addressed to the followers of the religion in the United States in 1916–1917. The eighth and twelfth of the tablets written on April 19, 1916 and February 15, 1917 respectively, specifically mentioned Africa. `Abdu’l-Bahá’s call for Baha’i travel teachers and pioneers expresses the hope that…”Africa may become vivified with the breaths of the Holy Spirit…”

Zylpha Mapp-Robinson

Born Zylpha Mapp on 25 Aug 1914 in Cambridge, Mass to Alexander Massiah Mapp and his wife, Zylpha Odysell Johnson-Mapp, named for her mother, and after a lifetime of service to advance the cause of humanity, Zylpha Mapp-Robinson passed away at age eighty-six on 12 May 2001 in New York City.*** “A devoted Baha’i, Dr. Mapp-Robinson served in many leadership positions within the Baha’i community and other community service organizations. In 1976, she was elected to the national governing body of the Baha’i community and other community service organizations. In 1976 she was elected to the national governing body of the Baha’is of Uganda where she lived for nine years.”
Bahai Temple Kampala 3
Bahai Temple 2
Portico of the Baha’i House of Worship Kampula, Uganda, Africa


Mašriqu-l-‘aḏkār, an Arabic phrase meaning “Dawning-place of the remembrances of God”, designates a Bahá’í House of Worship, or temple, of the Bahá’í Faith.


There seem to be several discrepancies in the information provided by links.   This concerns who was the first African American woman to accept the Baha’i Faith in the United States. Accordingly, three widely different views are noted: (1) From an article written by Christopher Buck quotes a statement attributed to Abdu’l-baha:  “Render thanks to the Lord that among that race thou art the first believer”.  Buck states that this likely refers to the fact that “Mrs. Pocahontas” was the first African American woman to become a Baha’i (around 1908).  Ref.  Baha’i Teachings. (2) From an article written in ‘joyousjam 2012’ under the title  ‘Robert Robinson – a Jamaican in the USSR’.  Quote:  “…Zylphia Mapp, his wife, was born on August 25, 1914, in Cambridge to Zylpha Mapp Gray and Alexander Mapp; her mother was the first African American woman to become a member of the Bahá’í Faith in the U.S.A”.  Ref. Robinson/Mapp Marriage. (3) Facebook Post:  “In honor of Black History Month, some Baha’is you should know: Olive Jackson of New York City – in 1899 she became the first African American woman to join the Baha’i Faith”.  Ref.  Facebook. These three women are each identified as being the first African American of their gender to have become Baha’i in the United States; the first in 1899, the second around 1908, and lastly, Zylpha Mapp “Gray”.  The third person is actually Zylpha Odysell Johnson, Zylpha Mapp-Robinson’s mother.  She was born in 1891 in Boston, Mass., and married Alexander Massiah Mapp in 1910. Based on a talk given by Zylpha Mapp-Robinson, her mother and father first heard about the Baha’i Faith in 1916 when visiting the home of Harlan and Grace Ober in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  This is recorded under the title ‘Heroines of the Faith’, a talk given by Zylpha Mapp-Robinson, Chapter 17, in ‘Lights Of The Spirit: Historical Portraits of Black Baha’is in North America 1898-2000.  Edited by Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis and Richard Thomas. ISBN-13: 978-1-931847-26-1 (alk. paper).  Note also that this publication provides extensive information on the life of Zylpha Mapp-Robinson.  It is a work well worth reading (available on Kindle). **Boston Bahá’í Community Membership (Feb 1940) includes Alexander & Zylphia Mapp (Box 526, Avon, Mass) and their son, Benton Mapp (51 Summer St., Brockton, Mass). Also noted are Louis Gregory and his wife, Louise (Eliot, Maine). Many of those listed have other than a Boston, Mass. address.  Ref. Early History of the Bahá’í Community in Boston, Massachusetts, by Anise Rideout.

Zilpha’s House

The house that Zilpha had constructed adjoins the Baha’i Temple property in Kampala, Uganda. Zilpha said she purchased the property and constructed the house with proceeds received from her late husband’s book sales.* She stipulated that upon her passing the house would be placed under the receivership of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Uganda.
Zilpha Map Robinson Home in Kampala

References / Comments

*Conversation between Zylpha Mapp-Robinson and Terry Randolph (1992).

Zylpha brought with her a few copies of her (deceased) husband’s autobiography “Red On Black:  My 44 Years Inside The Soviet Union.  When I told her that I wanted to purchase a copy she looked very surprised but went right away to get a copy.  Once the transaction was completed, I asked if she would autograph it for me and this she did without hesitation.  It still remains as a treasured purchase in my library.

On a separate occasion (ca. 1977), Zylphia and Terry Randolph were discussing the impact of Baha’i Teachings in Uganda when she recalled her experience being in the presence of child soldiers, saying “You cannot imagine the look in their eyes, not understanding who they are or what they are doing”.  She visibly shuttered with a hint of fear as she recounted her experience.  She did not say it, but I believe she probably had encountered elements of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that has long operated in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

**Early History of the Bahá’í Community in Boston, Massachusetts, by Anise Rideout. Overview of history 1900-1940. Includes early translations of some 2-dozen tablets of Abdu’l-Baha. Unpublished Articles.

***Some sources list Washington, DC as the place where she died.  Needs clarification.

Baha’i Faith, Uganda.  “Pioneers like Zylpha Mapp served development interests in Uganda in 1971-2 while working as a director of guidance at the Tororo Girls’ School.[76] She was on a leave of absence from the public school system from her work in the States, and was cooperating with the Uganda Ministry of Education in developing a guidance program in other schools of the nation while also began editing the Ugandan National Baha’i Newsletter.”  Wikipedia

Baha’i Faith, Uganda.  “In 1976 Zylpha Mapp-Robinson, the daughter of the first African-American woman Bahá’í, who had pioneered in many places and who lived in Uganda nine years, was elected to the national spiritual assembly of Uganda in 1976.”  Wikipedia

Nation’s Capital

Zylpha Mapp-Robinson arrives in Washington, DC, the nation’s capital (ca. 1978) and settled in with a private family located not far from the Baha’i Center at 5932 16th Street, North West, an area of the city often referred to locally as the “Gold Coast”. At that time the Baha’i Center was undergoing extensive repairs having suffered massive fire damage (ca. 1976) due to a faulty oil furnace. Zylpha learned that plans were being made for the Baha’i Center to have a resident Caretaker.  She requested and was granted permission to take on the position of Caretaker when repairs were completed and the Baha’i Center reopened.

After repairs were completed and the contractors paid a date was set for the Baha’i Center’s second dedication, planned as a major event announced to the public and included special invitations for timed presentations (to a degree, the occasion mirrored the first dedication of the newly purchased facility designated as the first Baha’i community-owned Center in Washington, DC (ca. 1967).  Zylpha and her husband moved into the newly constructed caretakers living quarters located on the second floor just a few days prior to reopening ceremonies.

Zylpha always referred to her husband as “Mr. Robinson” and was extremely protected of him.  He kept to himself and no one knew much about him, certainly not about his extensive background in the USSR.  Zylpha informed the Baha’i administrative body that her husband was organizing his notes for a book he planned to write and have published.  It’s not certain exactly how long they lived at the Baha’i Center, but Mr. Robinson would later receive recognition for his experiences in Russia.  He later passed away in Washington, DC.

See the ‘Addendum’ above right for additional information. Extensive information about Zylpha Mapp-Robinson, her life, service to the Baha’i Faith, and academic and professional accomplishments are found throughout this webpage and its various links, to include the background of her husband (he was not a member of the Baha’i Faith).


We note a few discrepancies in the information acquired from external sources and seek factual clarification for proper rendering.  Also, we do not have access to the Baha’i Archives in Washington, DC and the national Baha’i Archives in Evanston, Illinois.  Perhaps these might be available in the future.  Meanwhile, if you are able to provide verifiable information to help fill the gaps please do not hesitate to contact us.

Email (1 Jun 2018) received from Juanita Torrence-Thompson (Zylpha’s daughter) in response to my query and clarifies events associated with her mother’s passing:  “She passed away Mother’s Day weekend in 2001 in Queens, NY.  We flew her to DC for Burial next to her husband.  The DC Baha’is held a lovely memorial service for my mother at the Baha’i Center.  Yes, when I was editor and publisher of my Mobius [The Poetry Magazine], I held several contests in her name.  I have been thinking about her and dreaming about her a lot lately.  She is sorely missed.  Sincerely,  Juanita Torrence-Thompson”.


Top photo:  Quida Coley (l) and Zylphia Mapp-Robinson (1992 Baha’i World Congress). Threesome, bottom right (1992 Baha’i World Congress) Two photos of the portico, Baha’i House of Worship, Kampala, Uganda, Africa (2001). Middle: The grounds surrounding the  Baha’i House of Worship, Kampala, Uganda, Africa (2001). House Zylphia constructed that adjoins the Baha’i Temple grounds (2001). Photos by Terry Randolph (ObeisanceBaha Archives).
Quida Terry Zylphia

Quida Coley, Terry Randolph, Zylphia Mapp-Robinson, 1992 Baha’i World Congress, The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City.


The narrative continues with two additional components, information about the life of Zylpha’s second husband, Robert N. Robinson, and the accomplishments of Juanita Torrence-Thompson, Zylpha’s daughter from her first marriage.  See the Addendum.

Creadell Haley

Creadell Haley

Creadell Haley

Creadell Haley

Creadell Haley spent several years as a Baha’i pioneer to Venezuela. She had achieved unique status both as a woman, a minority, and as a licensed private pilot. She gave wings to her ambitions which manifested in subsequent accomplishments, and even more noteworthy, because it was during a time when few if any females ventured into the fields of automotive mechanics and piloting aircraft, to which she aspired.  (A Closer Look:  NBR, #4, p.4.)

Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Creadell Haley was born on 4 July 1916 in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. In high school she became fascinated by auto mechanics, stemming from a class she had taken, and upon graduation decided on that field of study as a post-graduate. She soon found that as a young lady she would not easily be accepted as an apprentice into to field of her choice.

True Passion
The difficulties she encountered soon revealed her true passion, wanting to fly, and to learn more about engines and machines. Creadell applied at a local airfield and was accepted into the course. The family had previously moved from Oklahoma to Illinois, and during this time (the late 1930s) Illinois became a mecca for civilian aviation. It was therefore easier for her to arrange for flying lessons than it had been to become a mechanic. She was the only female in the course, and her instructor related that “she was the best of all their students”.
Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC)
In 1941 she was ready to solo for her pilot’s license. However, World War II intervened and all training for civilian pilot licenses were halted when the Army took over the airport. Creadell’s instructor advised her to join the Army. Taking his advice, on 4 Sep 1942, she joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). She was not able to fly, but as a member of the Army Motor Corps her abilities as a mechanic were further honed.  She achieved the rank of “Sergent’.
Education / Flying / Music
After military service, Creadell returned to Illinois, enrolled in Wilberforce University, and also returned to the airfield where she was able to quickly receive her private pilot’s license, thereby, fulfilling her dream. She later left Wilberforce University to enroll in the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, and later continued her music education at San Jose State University.
Baha'i Faith
It was during her time spent in California that she was introduced to the Baha’i Faith. The record is not clear as to how this came about, nor of her immediate activities. However, what is clear is that she was inspired to represent the faith as a pioneer to Venezuela. Here she would remain until her return to the United States in 1999. She then took up residence at St. Mary’s Court Apartments in the Foggy Bottom section of Washington, DC.
Unique Status
Creadell Haley achieved unique status both as a woman and as a minority. She gave wings to her ambitions which manifested in subsequent accomplishments, and even more noteworthy because is that it took place during a time when few if any females ventured into those fields to which she aspired.


St. Mary’s Court Apartments that is located at 725 24th Street NW
Washington, DC 20037.  Across from the infamous Watergate Complex.


Baha'i Prayers for Pioneers

“Thou knowest, O God, and art my witness that I have no desire in my heart save to attain Thy good pleasure, to be confirmed in servitude unto Thee, to consecrate myself in Thy service, to labor in Thy great vineyard and to sacrifice all in Thy path. Thou art the All-Knowing and the All-Seeing. I have no wish save to turn my steps, in my love for Thee, towards the mountains and the deserts to loudly proclaim the advent of Thy Kingdom, and to raise Thy call amidst all men. O God! Open Thou the way for this helpless one, grant Thou the remedy to this ailing one and bestow Thy healing upon this afflicted one. With burning heart and tearful eyes I supplicate Thee at Thy Threshold.”

“O God! I am prepared to endure any ordeal in Thy path and desire with all my heart and soul to meet any hardship.”

“O God! Protect me from tests. Thou knowest full well that I have turned away from all things and freed myself of all thoughts. I have no occupation save mention of Thee and no aspiration save serving Thee.”




[1] Report partly adapted from: Foggy Bottom News, June 2000.[2] Creadell Haley, Baha’i Pioneer to Venezuela, National Baha’i Review, No. 4, ‘Time-Clock Our Foreign Goals’, Americas, Baha’i Year 125, April 1968, p. 4.[3] Photo by Terry Randolph.  Capital Yacht Club, Washington, DC, August 2000.

Additional Research Required

Additional research needs to be done in both the Washington DC Baha’i Archives and archived resources locate in The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University in order to develop a fuller history of the activities of the Baha’i Faith in the Nations Capital and of its membership.

First Meeting

Terry Randolph first met Creadell Haley at a Baha’i Fireside hosted by Hazel Neave (longtime Baha’i pioneer to Thailand) at her apartment during an early afternoon in August 2000. Those in attendance: Barbara Eaton-Bond, her husband Richard, Ouida Coley, and several other Baha’is and their guest. Both Hazel and Creadell resided at St. Mary’s Court Apartments.

It was during Terry Randolph’s visit to the United States from the Philippines in June 2000 that he first heard about Creadell Haley. At that time he had taken temporary residence with the Coley family, located at 6402 16th St., NW, Washington, DC, and completing preparations for departure to Asmara, Eritrea in September of that year. This would be the first stop on his Africa Research Development Project that would eventually include travels to eight Africa nations over a four-year period of time.

From Francis Coley he first learned about Creadell Haley, followed by her daughter, Quida, who explained Creadell’s accomplishments and pioneering experience. She said “Creadell would be attending a Baha’i Fireside this afternoon and if you want to meet her you could also attend. Just contact Hazel Neave because it’s being held at her apartment.” He was very much surprised to learn that Hazel Neave, a Baha’i friend, former caretaker of the Washington, DC Baha’i Center, and long time pioneer to Thailand, and whom he had not seen since visiting that country several years earlier, had returned to the United States, and once again resides in Washington, DC. He stated that he would be very happy to meet and talk with Creadell Haley.

Those attending the Fireside that afternoon included Barbara Eaton-Bond, her husband Richard, Ouida Coley, and several other Baha’is and their guests.

Lunch / Interview
Terry invited Creadell to have lunch together with him and his son, Na’il, the next day at the Oriental East Chinese Restaurant located in the Blair Park Shopping Center, 1312 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, and very near the Giant Supermarket.

 The next day, he went to pickup Creadell at her apartment building. Along with his son, the three of them first stopped to take advantage of a beautiful day by walking around the grounds of the Capital Yacht Club, and where several photographs were taken. Creadell had fun playing with Na’il, then about sixteen months old, and afterward they went to the Chinese restaurant for a delicious meal, and also where the interview took place.

Creadell mentioned that much of what she had to say about her life had already been written in an article by a reporter from the Foggy Bottom News. She also mentioned that her memory was then not so clear, and how happy she was to be able to participate in local Baha’i activities.

The newspaper article mentioned above, together with information acquired during the interview, form the bases for this report.

Terry Randolph departed Washington, DC for Eritrea in September 2000, and made a brief return in November of that year. He then learned the sad news that Creadell Haley passed away on 2 November 2000 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.
Graveside Prayers
Terry Randolph along with his son, Na’il, on 17 November visited the gravesite of Creadell Haley to pray for the beloved departed.
In Memory
A financial contribution was made by Terry Randolph in memory of Creadell Haley to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Eritrea on 19 November 2000.


Creadell Haley, Rank, Sargent, United States Army, was interred 8 November 2000 at Quantico National Memorial Cemetery, 18424 Joplin Road (Route 619)
Triangle, Virginia 22172. Burial Site: Section No. 5, Grave No. 258.


Na’il Randolph

Nail haley grave

Velma Owens Ferguson

Velma Owens Ferguson

Velma Ferguston

Baha'i International Pioneer
velma ferguson

Dedicated Service

The Baha’i faith was the anchor of Velma’s life and work. She did important pioneering work in countries in Africa and Asia including: Uganda, South Korea, and China. She was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Korea in 1986 and served for five years. She was an inspiring and transformative leader in several Baha’i communities throughout the world.

Velma Ferguson, age 90, passed away on April 29, 2016 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States.


I first met Velma Ferguson around 1968 at the Baha’i Center in Washington, DC. Recently purchased and dedicated, the building is located on upper 16th Street in the North West section of the city. On one of her infrequent visits home to visit family in Baltimore, Maryland, Velma was invited by the Washington Baha’i community to speak about her pioneering experiences in Africa. I think she was then posted to Uganda.

Note: Velma expressed great love for her sister, Vernice, and the high level of accomplishments she achieved in life. She also stated that “Perhaps I could have done the same but I choose a different path.”

Velma is a robust woman with a full head of white hair, and having a large outgoing personality complements her story telling that vividly captures the imagination as she recounts her experiences while living among and teaching the faith to villagers.

During this time period, pre-1968, there was very little expansion of the faith into the surrounding suburbs and outlying areas of both Washington and Baltimore. The full force of Mass Teaching had not yet arrived. Most Baha’is were still concentrated within the city limits of the two communities and would support each other’s activities. It was then common to see members from each community attending Baha’i events held in their sister community, in spite of the forty-minute drive. In earlier days travel by train between the two communities was the mode of transportation for some Baha’is.

It was due to the growing need for the National Spiritual Assembly to expand Baha’i teaching efforts both locally and internationally that the experiences of dedicated Baha’i pioneers such as Velma would inspire others to heed the call.

The last time I saw Velma stateside was during a meeting (perhaps Baha’i Feast) held at the Washington D.C. Baha’i Center around 1979. Interestingly, two other longtime Baha’i international pioneers were also present: Zilpha Mapp-Robinson (20+ years in Uganda, Africa) and Quida Coley (6 years in Paraguay, South America). Their stories are also recounted on ObeisanceBaha.

I departed for Germany in 1980 and was surprised to learn that Velma was also there. She resided in a community along with two other Baha’i pioneers, Glen Buck and his wife, Tarih. Glen was a retired serviceman (US Army) married to a Korean lady. After losing contact with Velma, I was surprise was to see her in South Korea when I arrived there in 1985.

The Bucks had returned to South Korea and Velma decided to go with them. They were avidly involved in establishing Baha’i communities and follow-on consolidation efforts. Velma was teaching at a local college, but without residency or a long-term visa was required by the Korean government to leave the country at the end of each 90-day period. After a day or two she would return and be granted another 90-day tourist visa. This was a common problem faced by many Baha’i in several countries where respective governments enforced strict visa laws. Not being able to receive an extensive visa they were forced to rely on temporary tourist visa status limited to a 90-day stay, after which they are required to leave the country and then return for another short-term tourist visa. It’s a time consuming and expensive process when no other options were available, and sometimes for several years. There was no other way to remain at your pioneering post.

I returned to the United States from South Korea in December 1991, and once again lost contact with Velma. In 2016 I learned that she had return to the US for medical treatment but was unable to contact her prior to her passing.

I will provide additional information about the Baha’i pioneering work of Velma Ferguson when it becomes available.


Velma Ferguson, long-serving Baha’i pioneer in Africa and South Korea, with notable work in Japan and several other countries, age 90, passed away on April 29, 2016. She was born to Clarence Clyde and Georgina (Owens) Ferguson on December 9, 1926 in North Carolina.

Her Baha’i faith was the anchor of her life and work. She did important pioneering work in countries in Africa and Asia including: Uganda, South Korea, and China. She was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Korea in 1986 and served for five years. She was an inspiring and transformative leader in Baha’i communities throughout the world.

She eventually settled in Colorado Springs, where she became a Volunteer Grandmother to the young people at Cedar Springs Hospital who were most in need of her compassion, generosity and humor. She continued to be a warm and inspiring presence to all who crossed her path.

She is preceded in death by her parents; sister, Vernice; brothers: Clarence Clyde and Albert. She leaves behind four nieces: Cheryl, Claire, Hope and Eve and two nephews: Albert and Vernon as well as many grand- and great- nieces and nephews.

Graveside services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 6, 2016 at Evergreen Cemetery. A reception will follow at the Baha’i Center, 1622 Raineer Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80910.

Donations in her memory may be made to Volunteers of America.


Shrine of Remembrance Mausoleum/Funeral Home
1730 East Fountain Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80910
(719) 634-1597


The above photo is placed to symbolize Velma Ferguson’s pioneering efforts in the Republic of Korea; likewise, her dedicated efforts in Africa that’s symbolized by the Baha’i House of Worship, Kampala, Uganda. Along with Dr. Stanwood Cobb and others, she was invited to participate in the dedication of the newly acquired Baha’i Center in Washington, DC. Next, she’s in attendance at the Baha’i Winter School in South Korea, listening intently to Elaine Losey, a fellow pioneer.

Washington, DC, 1967
Baha’i Center Dedication

Dr. Stanwood Cobb & Velma O. Ferguson

South Korea, 1985
Baha’i Winter Institute

Elaine Losey & Velma O. Ferguson

List of Baha’i Pioneers in South Korea (ca. 1987).
PDF file format.

All photos by Terry Randolph except the top photo (Pixabay)
and the featured photo of Velma Ferguson (Legacy.com).

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