Charles Finney (1792 – 1875) was one of the major ministers contributing to the national revival known as the Second Great Awakening. Born in Connecticut to farmers, Finney was early exposed to fiery revival preaching in the the churches he grew up in. However, it was not until after a radical transformation and conversion experience that he began to study as a minister at the age of 29. A late start did not stop him from immediately becoming a major force. His revivals in the north inspired others across the country and the Second Great Awakening was well on its way.
On top of his evangelism, Finney also denounced slavery and went so far as to refuse communion to slaveowners. In 1835, he also started teaching theology at the Oberlin College in Ohio which was practically the first institution of higher education in America to admit women and people of African descent. Eventually Finney would become the president of the college and even helped facilitate with the Underground Railroad.
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