Fort Greene

Henry Weldon McMillan


Mr. Henry Weldon McMillan, November 8, 1914 – July 31, 1989. Born in Laurinburg, North Carolina and migrated to New York City, he eventually became a member of the 369th Army Unit, notably an all Black unit. Mr. McMillan and his family were founding members of The Church of the Open Door. “Brother Mack,” as the members of the church called him, loved Black History and nature, which he portrayed in the church. Diane and Loretta McMillan, the two beautiful and loving daughters of Mr. McMillan, emphasized his caring, hardworking, helpful, straightforward and intellectual personality. With this personality, it was only natural that children felt safe and drawn to him.

His two daughters, his granddaughter Monique Cumberbatch and church members Deacon Darlene Page, Priscilla Douglas, Christine Caraway, Lorraine Brandt and Pamela Ingram, mentioned that Mr. McMillan served as a Deacon and sang on the Senior Choir in addition to teaching Sunday School, baking classes and working with children. He would always have meaningful conversations with children and create a safe place for them. 

“Hold your head up high, look a person in the eye,” is a quote he frequently used.  He also had a green thumb, a love for nature and what nature had to offer. He created the Church’s garden and would be seen planting flowers regularly around the neighborhood, “Keep your community clean and America beautiful again.” He raised people around him to perform at their highest level; Diane is a prime example, his passing encouraged her to go back to the church. He was an amazing example of a “Godly Black Man.

Portrait by

Tracie Williams

Tracie Williams is a documentary photographer, visual artist and filmmaker who divides her time between the central New Mexican desert and the urban landscape of New York City.

Text by

Sashana Kinghorn Bodley

Sashana Kinghorn Bodley is a high school senior on her way to pursue her future career. She has a love for music, new opportunities and experiences.

Special thanks to Henry McMillan’s community for gathering on April 26, 2021 to share his story:

Lorraine Brant, Christine Caraway, Monique Cumberbatch (granddaughter), Priscilla Douglas, Pamela Ingram, Diane McMillan-Cumberbatch (daughter), Loretta McMillan-Staten (Daughter) and Darlene Page.

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