Yes. One noteworthy individual was Marietta Webb. Her first experience with Christian Science was in 1897, when she called a practitioner to help her young son, who was very ill. He was quickly and permanently healed, and she began attending services in The Mother Church. Her testimony, detailing his healing and other experiences, was published in August 1906 in The Christian Science Journal,1  and appears today on page 612 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, in the chapter “Fruitage.” Webb joined The Mother Church in June 1899. In 1911, she decided to become a Christian Science nurse, but soon after changed her mind and became a practitioner instead. In June 1933, she invited local black Christian Scientists, who were not always welcome at branch churches, to hold Sunday services in her home, and the informal group was soon organized as “Christian Science Society, Colored, of Los Angeles.”

Another early practitioner who was African American was Leonard Perry, Jr. of Washington, D.C. Perry joined The Mother Church in November 1900, and was first listed in the Journal in 1906. He served the movement until his passing in 1949. Lulu Knight was the first African-American teacher of Christian Science, in Chicago. Some of the earliest Christian Science churches with large African-American memberships were: Eighth Church, Chicago; Seventh Church, Washington, D.C.; and Twelfth Church, New York City.

Practices regarding segregation were left to each branch church. However, in The Christian Science Journal from 1922 to 1956, branch churches that were largely comprised of blacks were noted as “Colored,” in parenthesis. It appears some branches were composed entirely of blacks while others had a mixture of races but segregated activities such as church services and Sunday School.

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  1. Marietta T. Webb, “Long before I heard of Christian Science…,” The Christian Science Journal, August 1906,  http://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/wqyvskf874?s=t.