Born in Waynesboro, Virginia March 8, 1865, the black Presbyterian minister, William Sheppard studied at Hampton Institute and then at Tuscaloosa Theological Seminary (now Stillman College) in Alabama. He is ordained in 1888.
In 1890, he was sent to Congo after being received in audience at the White House by U.S. President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) and at Laeken by King Leopold II (1835-1909).
He arrived in Congo in 1890 where he was received by the king of Bakuba, Kot aMbweeky. He appreciates the customs and cultural sophistication of language and learns Bakuba language. He received form the sovereign Kuba, the title of "Bope Mekape" and the the nickname which became common in the Congo as «Mundele Ndombe (Black-White)».
In 1899 he discovered the drama "Hand Cut" and in fact a good description shakes the American consciousness.
In 1909, he was accused of slander by the Company dealer Kasai. During his trial in Leopoldville, which caused an uproar in the American press, he is defended by the Belgian Socialist deputy, Mr. Emile Vandervelde (1855-1938).
The trial resulted in his acquittal. Annoyed, he gave up his mission in Congo in 1910 and finally returned to Louisville in Kansas where he died November 25, 1927.
For more details: Jean KANYARWUNGA I.N. Jean, Democratic Republic of Congo. Generations convicted. A Failed pre-capitalist State, Publibook, Paris, 2006.