Landon N. Cheek was an African American Baptist missionary to Malawi. Born in Canton, Mississippi, Cheek was the son of a former slave and Baptist minister; his mother was a Cherokee Native American. He migrated to Bridgeton, Missouri, where he pastored Bridgeton Baptist Church while working as a letter carrier. At the age of 28 he volunteered to the National Baptist Convention to go to Africa as a missionary and eventually arrived in Malawi in 1901. He assisted John Chilembwe, founder and head of the Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) in Malawi, who later led an uprising against the colonial government. Shortly after arriving, Cheek married Rachel Chilembwe, niece of John Chilembwe, and they had three children during Cheek’s term of service. Cheek and fellow missionary Emma B. Delaney set up an industrial-based education curriculum for the PIM more than 20 years before it was recommended by the Phelps Stokes Commission as the best educational method for Africa. Colonial pressure, lack of financial support, and health problems led Cheek to return to the United States in 1906. During the next 50 years he served various as pastor, raised funds for foreign missions, and preached a positive message about his missionary experience.
Rodney H. Orr
Landon N. Cheek, “Reminiscences of a Missionary,” Mission Herald 43 (March-April 1939): 15, (May-June 1939); 16-17, and 44 (September-October 1940): 17-18, and “Adventures of a St. Louis Missionary in Darkest Africa,” St. Louis Globe Democrat, July 12, 1908. George Shepperson and Thomas Price, Independent Africa (1958).
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.