Sallie Crenshaw was the first black female minister in the East Tennessee Methodist Conference.
Crenshaw was born in 1900 in LaGrange, Georgia. She received her education in the Chattanooga public schools, Tennessee A&I State College, Tennessee Wesleyan College, and the University of Nebraska.
Returning to Chattanooga after working as a missionary among Negro miners in West Virginia, she was appalled by the number of black children left alone without daycare. In 1947, she established the St. Elmo Mission, which was renamed in her honor in 1983. In 1986, the Bethlehem Center has renamed the Sallie Crenshaw Bethlehem Center.
In 1958, when she and Nora E. Young were received into full connection in the East Tennessee Conference, they became not only the first women to be received into full connection in the Central Jurisdiction but also the first two women received into full connection in the Holston Conference and the entire Southeastern Jurisdiction as well.
Sallie served as a missionary to the coalfields of Virginia and also served churches in Bakewell (Hamilton County, Tennessee); Elizabethtown, Tennessee; and Glade Spring and Wytheville, Virginia. She served as Church and Community Worker in the Bluefield District, and as Conference Director of Youth Work for three years.
Sallie Crenshaw retired in 1971 as a member of the Holston Conference and died December 12, 1986, at the age of eighty-six.
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