1867 – 1928
Reverend DeSoto E. Bass was the warmhearted clergyman and teacher known as “Community Pastor” because of his devotion to anyone who needed him, especially children. After attending Wilberforce University and the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, he became pastor of the First Wesleyan Methodist Church at the age of 28. A well-known figure in the city, Reverend Bass often took walks with crowds of children just for the fun of being with them. He frequently visited members of his congregation and provided for them if they were in need, at times even borrowing coal from the church to give to parishioners. A contemporary claimed that in his 33 years as pastor, Reverend Bass made more pastoral calls “than any man you’d meet in a year’s traveling.” On Sunday
afternoons for 27 years, he led singing parties, bringing groups to sing spirituals on the stair landings of hospitals, the workhouse and the jail. In honor of his devotion to his church, race and people, the first public housing development in Dayton was named DeSoto Bass Courts.