February 11, 2021

As best as our records show, the first female African-American student to graduate from our school was Mrs. Annabelle Knight, Class of 1951. There is not a lot of information about Mrs. Knight, but a story from the school’s publication, The Living Word, published just two years after her graduation, is one of inspiration and sadness:

“We were shocked to receive a wire from Washington, D.C., informing us of the Home-going of Mrs. Annabelle Knight ’51 on December 24th. No particulars of her illness or death were given.

Mrs. Knight came to O.B.I. (Omaha Bible Institute) already accepted by her denominational mission board for service in Liberia. Though she worked her way through school, first in night school for several years and then completing in the day school, she never lost her vision of the field to which she felt called.

Her student days were prolonged by very serious surgery and hospitalization, but this did not daunt her. Her employment was night work and she came from it, usually without breakfast, and sat through classes until noon. Yet never was there a word of complaint from her.

During the last year of her schooling here, she worked in a hospital, endeavoring to prepare herself for practical nursing on the mission field. Her plan, when she left here, was to learn to fly in order to be able to pilot a plane when she got to Liberia. Nothing seemed too much for her. We are confident that this devout Child of God had an abundant entrance into the presence of her Lord.

One of the things we remember most about dear Mrs. Knight was her unfailing cheerfulness and radiant love of the Lord. Continual praise was on her lips” (The Living Word, Volume 27, 1953).

What an amazing testimony Mrs. Knight left behind! We should all be inspired by her devotion to Christ, her joy, and her perseverance! Of all the graduates our school has had over the last 100 years, Mrs. Knight’s testimony is one that certainly belongs in our “Hall of Faith.”