Mr. Coleman was converted when a boy of fourteen on the farm and joined the Piney Grove Baptist Church. While in school at Wayland he felt called to preach, and was licensed and ordained to the full work of the ministry in 1903. His first pastorate was the First Baptist Church of Huntington, which he served for two years. He resigned that and took up the work of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in the same city and erected the house of worship. Here as elsewhere his work was that constructive sort which appeals to the best element of both races.
In 1906, he was called to the Bluefield Colored Institute and with the exception of a two years leave of absence, 1917-19, when he was at Glen White as pastor and social worker has been identified with the institution since that time. His special chair is that of history, but he has done much other work at the Institute besides and has been an important factor in making the school what it is today.
His work both as a preacher and as an educator shows him a man of intellectual grasp, with a love of thoroughness, a man of poise and withal a man of clear cut ideals for himself and for those whom he is called to lead.
In June, 1893, Prof. Coleman was married to Miss Amanda Miller. She was educated at Hartshorn Memorial College, Richmond, and was before her marriage a teacher. She passed away in 1906. On June 10, 1908, Prof. Coleman marriedMiss Leveria Holley of Martinsburg, W. Va. There are two children of this union, Charles Lewis & James Dunlap Coleman, Jr. In politics he is a Republican and among the secret orders is a Prince Hall Mason.
All his life he has been an intelligent observer of conditions and for more than a quarter of a century has sought to lead his people in the paths of right thinking and living. He comes to the present with no bitterness or resentment, and for the future, only asks that he and his people be permitted to live and move and work in an atmosphere that is Christian.
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center