Lucy Byard — The Real Story

On September 22, 1943, Lucy Byard, a black Seventh-day Adventist woman, was refused treatment at an Adventist hospital due to her race. Since that day, the major details of the event have been subject to the whim of the teller, and variant versions have become embedded in church lore. In the following documentary, Dr. Benjamin Baker reconstructs this pivotal event using primary sources to tell the real story.

WATCH Lucy Byard — The Real Story by Dr. Benjamin Baker:

Dr. Baker’s writings on this subject can be found on the following sites:

The Lucy Byard Story,” Columbia Union Visitor, March 4, 2019

Protest and Progress: Black Seventh-day Adventist Leadership and the Push for Parity by Calvin B. Rock, Andrews University Press, 2018

The Lucille Byard Affair,” Adventist Review, July 31, 2019

Byard, Lucille (1877–1943),” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, 2020

Death by Wasting Away: The Life, Last Days, and Legacy of Lucy Byard,” Journal of Black Studies, June 17, 2020

Special thanks to Kevin Burton for assistance with the production of the video.


Benjamin Baker is the creator of He can be reached at [email protected].

Video and main image courtesy of the author /


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This is fascinating reading, correcting so many myths and errors the story has garnered over the interim years. Although I can see that the church leadership were simply the products of their time, they seemed to have ZERO ZIP NADA knowledge of how Jesus treated people. Their back and forth letters are shocking and contemptible - they had to know this was not the Christlike way. They went forward putting the interests of influential and wealthy patients first, instead of courageously leading with a progressive, Jesus-centered approach which God could have blessed greatly.


Please visit this article on our website to watch the documentary:

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A part of Adventist history I was only vaguely aware of, hardly worth mentioning, you understand.

What a legacy of bigotry and ignorance we’ve set out for ourselves, eh? With this kind of example in our past it will be difficult to do much worse.

Kind of like how we passed pedophiles from one school appointment on to another when I was a kid growing up in the Adventist school system. Us kids knew the teacher/teachers were perverts. So did the adults. But what did they do? Sent them on to another school to repeat their crimes.

Ah, well… We’re The Remnant, don’t you know?

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