The Journal of Negro History, Volume 7, 1922
Author: Various
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Dr. Willis became his successor in 1911. At first many of the members questioned his ability to fill such a position so that there developed much trouble in the congregation and much anxiety among the people at large. There followed a schism which resulted in litigation in the courts and the secession of a group of members who established the Florida Avenue Baptist Church, now in the charge of Dr. Taylor. Dr. Willis, however, was established as pastor with the support of a large majority of the members of the church. He filled the position with such distinction and attracted to him such a following of willing workers that the church prospered under him as it did under his predecessor. In recognition of his valuable services the congregation gave him a trip to the Holy Land at a cost of $3,000. It then purchased adjoining property upon which it erected a monument to Dr. George W. Lee.

According to a recent report rendered by the clerk and treasurer, the congregation has during the pastorate of Dr. Willis raised more than $68,000 for general expenses and $1,850 for their Old Folk's Home. This does not by any means account for the amount raised for charitable purposes, which include home and foreign missions. The support given needy members and institutions of learning, traveling ministers, and the like, has amounted approximately to $35,000 or $40,000. The church, moreover, has been very generous in the support of home missions, a duty decidedly emphasized by Dr. Willis in contradistinction to the inclination of Dr. Lee, who emphasized foreign missions.[36a]

Baptists in another part of the city were planning an additional organization. The First Baptist Church of South Washington was organized on Sixth Street between G and H Streets, Southwest, in 1866. Alfred Bolden was the first pastor. Two buildings have been erected on the present site. One Mr. Lee afterward served as the pastor until the coming of Henry C. Robinson, who exhibited energy that promised a bright future. Early in the history of the church, as an outcome of an internal agitation, however, 54 excluded members organized the Virginia Avenue Baptist Church and were afterward joined by others, thus weakening the parent organization; but in 1891 the property was valued at $25,000 and the church had a membership of 500.[37]

Another Baptist church soon resulted from a secession. In 1873 William Shanklin, Peter Gray, Abraham Blackmore, Edward Montague, and Catherine Wilson left the Fifth Baptist Church, now the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, and formed, with their friends, Mt. Jezreel. Since then it has grown to be the largest Negro Baptist church in Southeast Washington, though it is also the youngest. The church, when first formed, was located on Van Street. It grew rapidly, and soon was able to buy desirable property on the southeast corner of Fifth and E Streets and begin the erection of its present handsome church edifice. In 1888 the building was finished and it was dedicated the first Sunday in November of that year, when Dr. Robert Johnson, of the Metropolitan Baptist Church, preached the dedicatory sermon. Its membership numbers about 300 people, and the church is in a very prosperous condition.[38]

The organization of another Baptist church soon followed. In September, 1876, there was organized on Nichol's Avenue, Hillsdale, the Bethlehem Baptist Church by Henry Scott, its first pastor. It was an outgrowth from the Macedonia Baptist Church organized nine years before by Sandy Alexander, of the First West Washington Church. The first officers were William Singleton, Carle Matthews, James Flood, Richard Harrison, Mack McKenzie, Cornelius W. Davis, David Simpson, Armstead Taylor, and Leonard Peyton.[39] The second minister, William H. Phillips, served with considerable success for six years when he was called to the Shiloh Baptist Church in Philadelphia, where he died.[40]

A new church was soon to evolve as a result of another stir among the Baptists. The succession of the pastorates of Dr. Anthony Binga, Sr., and Jesse Bolden to that of Dr. D. W. Anderson did not satisfy an important element of the 19th Street Baptist Church, which for fifteen years had given that church moral and financial support. Steps to organize a new church were therefore taken. In the preliminary stages of the separation there was much opposition. Nevertheless, they organized May 7, 1877, at the residence of William H. A. Wormley, 1126 16th Street, Northwest, and were recognized by a council of Baptist churches which met at the residence of L. C. Bailey, 1022 Nineteenth Street, June 5, 1877.[41] With twenty-two members this determined body went pluckily to work. In the first place, they were fortunate in securing for their pastor a man who for thirteen years voluntarily served the flock without salary. For twenty-five years, 1877 to 1902, they worshipped in their church on 18th Street, which was erected within six months of organization for the sum of $19,000. The church grew from 22 to 200. It is a fair estimate that $50,000 was received from all sources during this period. In 1902 they sold this church to the John Wesley A. M. E. Zion for $19,500 cash. After vacating their building and meeting in Odd Fellows Hall they erected their present building at 11th and V Streets, which they have paid for in full. The successor to Mr. Wm. Waring was Dr. W. A. Creditt.[42] Then came Dr. J. M. Waldron, who in 1892 was succeeded by Rev. Mr. D. F. Rivers, who still abides as a potent factor in the life of the Washington people.

After the Civil War Negroes became attracted to denominations in which they had never sought membership because of their close attachment to the Methodists and Baptists. From just such a divergence from the old order resulted the organization of the Lincoln Memorial Temple Congregational Church, on the northeast corner of 11th and R Streets, Northwest. This church was organized in the parlor of F. S. Presbrey, publisher of Public Opinion, January 10, 1887, with Rev. S. P. Smith as its first pastor. Lincoln Temple is the outgrowth of the Colfax Industrial Mission founded by members of the First Congregational Church, prominent among whom was John W. Alvord. It later became the Lincoln Mission. In addition to the Sunday School feature should be mentioned the industrial work, as classes in domestic science and domestic art were conducted there. For a time this mission constituted the first church home for Negro girls in the country. Among its founders were R. S. Smith, William H. Jackson, Theodore Clark and wife, Otwina Smith, Miss Booker, Hiram Ball, a Mrs. Jackson of Chicago and a Mr. Shorter. The Lincoln Mission Sunday School, with an attendance running at times to 700 and more, was a part of the work of the charitable organizations of the North engaged in missions and education in the South among the freedmen. As such it was one of the institutions of the city in Sabbath School work, with music especially popular. This school enjoyed the fostering care of the American Missionary Association, which appointed a minister to conduct religious services and a woman to work in the homes of the people. The teachers of the Sunday School were of both races. The whites were drawn from the First Congregational Church and Negroes were mainly students from Howard University.

During the operation of these two instrumentalities, the thought that the work of the school could be made more effectual and permanent by the organization of a church first took tangible form in the years of Mr. Smith's ministrations, and the church grew steadily and surely. Rev. George W. Moore became pastor on June 1, 1883. His work was a thorough success, due in no small measure to the personality of his wife, Ella Sheppard Moore, who had been pianist of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and with them had circled the globe. Dr. Moore resigned in 1893. Subsequent pastors have been Rev. Eugene Johnson, A. P. Miller and Sterling N. Brown. Dr. Brown was followed by Rev. Emory B. Smith, an enterprising young man who has brought the church to the very foremost in all the activities of religious work.[43]

The Plymouth Congregational Church was the direct outcome of dissatisfaction of many members of Union Bethel, now the Metropolitan Church, at the arbitrary action of Bishop Daniel A. Payne in the matter of the appointment of the Rev. John W. Stevenson as pastor of Union Bethel Church and the refusal to remove him. For these reasons 63 members decided to withdraw from the African Methodist Episcopal denomination and organized themselves in the Shiloh Hall on L Street, near 16th, Northwest, as the First Congregational Church of Washington in the District of Columbia. William T. Peele, who for several years had been a local preacher and class leader at Union Bethel Church was one of the number—in fact, the leader of the recalcitrant communicants. Church services for the new congregation were held in the meeting place of the Salem Baptist Church on N Street near 17th. Here they could meet only in the afternoon on Sunday. Other quarters were then secured on 18th Street near L and M Streets. On October 5, 1881, the name of the new organization was changed to that of the Plymouth Congregational Church of Washington. Their leader, William T. Peele, was then regularly ordained and installed as their pastor by Dr. Holmes of Baltimore, assisted by Dr. J. E. Rankin, then pastor of First Congregational Church, Dr. William Patton, President of Howard University, W. W. Hicks, and S. P. Smith. The church attached itself to the New Jersey Association of Congregational Churches at the fourteenth annual meeting held in the First Congregational Church in April, 1882. The church then purchased at a cost of $4,500 a site at the southeast corner of 17th and P Streets, on which it built by 1887.

William T. Peele, to whom this body rallied as its first pastor tendered his resignation July 26, 1888, and for several months the church was without a pastor. Dr. Sterling N. Brown of Cleveland, Ohio, entered upon the pastorate April 1, 1887, and rendered a most successful service. Under his guidance they evolved steadily from Methodism to Congregationalism.

Dr. Alexander C. Garner became the next pastor in 1896 and for twenty-five years led the church both temporally and spiritually. The church has been honored by his being chosen to represent the Congregationalists at national gatherings. The entire church mortgage debt was cancelled during Dr. Garner's incumbency, when all the churches were making strenuous and successful efforts to the same end. In fact, his successful career had much to do with his call to the direction of the growing spiritual interests of the Congregationalists in Harlem in New York.[44]

Some Negroes, too, had begun to look with more favor upon the Protestant Episcopal church. As early as 1866 cottage meetings were held by C. H. Hall, rector of the Epiphany, with the assistance of J. Vaughn Lewis, rector of St. John's Church. This movement went to the extent that steps were taken looking to the establishment of a church and the purchase of a lot on which an edifice was to be built. At this juncture Mrs. Parsons, a communicant of St. John's parish, donated a lot for the purpose on 23d Street, and Secretary of War E. M. Stanton contributed a frame building in 1867. From 1867 to 1873 several white clergymen officiated, but the selection of a colored minister to take charge of the work was indispensable. Efforts to this end soon followed. Among the clergymen considered were William H. Josephus, a talented West Indian, and William J. Alston, who had been rector of St. Phillip's in New York and of St. Thomas in Philadelphia. John Thomas Johnson, a progressive Negro citizen who in the reconstruction times was Treasurer of the District Government, began on behalf of a number of interested people a correspondence with Dr. Alexander Crummell with a view to securing him as the spiritual leader of these Episcopalians. This effort resulted in bringing Dr. Crummell to Washington in June, 1873.

The people almost instantaneously rallied to Dr. Crummell's support and the outcome was the determination to build a church. A sinking fund association, composed of young people from different sections of the city, and in which other denominations were represented, was a most active factor. The enthusiasm was intense. The corner stone was laid in 1876 at Fifteenth and Sampson Streets, near Church Street, and work on the new building went rapidly on. Dr. Crummell meanwhile traveled extensively throughout the North and East for funds in aid of the new movement. Such was his success that the first services in the new building were held there on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1879.[45]

With the opening of St. Luke's a new opportunity presented itself at St. Mary's, where the congregation under the administration of Mr. O. L. Mitchell developed into an institutional church. It was consecrated December 11, 1894, by Bishop William Paret, then of Maryland, assisted by Bishop Penick and Dr. W. V. Tunnell, of Howard University, who preached the sermon. St. Mary's is one of the most beautiful of churches.

The rise of Negro Catholic churches in the District of Columbia as well as throughout the United States has been less extensive for the reason that not very many Negroes have been attracted to this denomination because of its ritualistic appeal, and those who have become adherents to the Catholic faith have been treated with so much more of the spirit of Christ than they have been by other sects, that the tendency toward independent church establishments has not been so pronounced. Early in the history of the District of Columbia Rev. Leonard Neale, the Archbishop of Georgetown, his brother, the Rev. Francis Neale of the Holy Trinity Church, and Father Van Lomell, pastor of the same church in 1807, were all friends of the Negroes, showing no distinction on account of color in the establishment of parish schools and the uplift of the people. The same policy was followed by Father De Theux, who in 1817 succeeded Father Macelroy, who established a Sunday School and labored with a great deal of devotion to bring them into the church. The Catholic Church was free in all of its privileges to all persons regardless of color. This was especially true of St. Patrick's Church under its founder, Father Matthew, who permitted the poorest Negro to kneel at the altar side by side with the highest personages in the land. The same was observed in St. Aloysius Church and in St. Mary's Church at Alexandria. The Catholics were the last to change their attitude toward the Negro during the critical antislavery period of the thirties, forties, and fifties, when the Protestant churches practically excluded the Negroes from their Sunday Schools and congregations. This explains why the Negro Catholics organized in the District of Columbia during the early period only one Catholic church of their own, St. Martin's, although the Negro Catholics constituted a considerable part of the Negro population.

The actual separation of the Negroes in the Catholic Church did not take place until the Civil War itself necessitated certain changes to meet the special needs of the Negroes in their new status. The establishment of St. Augustine's Church, however, somewhat antedated this. Before the organization of this church there was established a school meeting the special needs of the Negroes on L Street, and out of that developed the organization of this church in 1863. The moving spirit in this undertaking was Father Charles J. White, who was then pastor of St. Matthew's church in which the Negroes had always felt free to worship. Early in 1863 he purchased a lot on 15th Street between L and M and built there a two-story structure with the assistance of colored members from the various churches of the city and especially from those of St. Matthew's. Among those participating in the launching of this new church were the following: Miss Mary Harrison, Mr. Isaac Landic and wife, Mrs. Jane Smallwood, Mrs. Henry Warren and family, Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Smith, the Misses Mary and Sara Ann Smith, Mr. William T. Benjamin, Mr. Bazil Mullen, Mr. John West, Miss Agnes Gray, Messrs. William H. Wheeler, Henry Jackson, Henry Neal and family, James F. Jackson and family, Mrs. Frances Madison, and the Misses Eliza Ann Cook, Mary T. Smith, Eliza Hall, and Jane Teagle.

In the course of time there were so many accessions to the church that more space was needed. In 1865, therefore, a frame building was added at the time that the church was under the patronage of Martin de Porrers, a colored lay brother of the order of St. Dominic, who had labored in South America. Dr. White was still the pastor, with Martin de Porrers officiating at most of the services. In the course of time it was necessary to seek other assistants, who were supplied by the Society of Jesus at Georgetown College in the person of Fathers Kelly and Cleary.

After the Civil War Archbishop Spaulding, then in charge of the diocese, saw the opportunity and the challenge of the church to meet the many needs of the freedmen who without spiritual guidance might morally retrograde. He therefore called for other workers to offer their lives as a sacrifice to a noble cause. In Italy at this time there was Father Barroti, who after having equipped himself for missionary work prepared to carry the Gospel message to the Chinese. In 1869, however, he was persuaded to go to the more inviting field of the freedmen in the United States. After some further instruction in English and other matters essential to the equipment for service among these people, he took charge of this Negro congregation in 1867. He immediately succeeded in securing the cooperation of the Negroes and the respect of the community. He passed among them as a man of Christian virtue and an apostle to the lowly. His following so rapidly increased that it was soon necessary to add wooden buildings to the original structure and to purchase additional property for a new building in 1869. To finance these undertakings he had the cooperation of Father Walters in St. Patrick's.

The new structure, planned to cost about $100,000, was begun in 1874 and completed and dedicated in the midst of impressive ceremonies in 1876. At first it was thought best to place this church under the patronage of the Blessed Martin de Porrers. According to the regulation of the church law, however, whereas a chapel could be designated in honor of an ecclesiastic, a parish church could not be thus dedicated, but must be named for one of the Saints. It was then decided to name it for St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in Africa. Upon the completion of this structure the Negro Catholic congregation was given a new standing in the community and in the United States.

In 1881 the death of Father Barroti marked an epoch in the history of this church. For some time there was serious doubt as to how the congregation could secure the services of some one so well equipped as this sacrificing churchman. Fortunately, however, the zealous Fathers of St. Joseph, an order established in England for the special benefit of the Negroes, came to take up the task. Thoroughly devoted to their work and believing in the uplift of the Negroes to a plane of equality with the whites, these Fathers caused the white Catholics much trouble by imposing upon those visiting St. Augustine's the same restrictions that some of the Catholic churches after the Civil War began to impose upon Negroes worshipping elsewhere. Chief among these may be mentioned Fathers Michael J. Walsh as rector, with Father Girard Wiersma and Father Francis P. Kerrick as associate pastors. Later he had such assistants as Father Burke and Father Hohlman. The successor of Father Walsh was the Rev. Paul Griffith, with Father G. A. Dougherty as assistant and later an additional assistant in the person of the Rev. Father H. Bischoff. Father Olds succeeded Father Griffith, having as his assistant Father O'Connor and Father Mihm. As the church had the cooperation of Archbishop Spaulding in his day, it was similarly assisted by Archbishop Baily and especially so by Archbishop Gibbons, later Cardinal. Among the teachers who made possible the increasing membership by their valuable work in the parochial school of the church should be mentioned Miss Mary Smith, later Mrs. W. F. Benjamin, Mr. Ambrose Queen, and Miss Eliza Ann Cook.[46]

Negro Catholics living in East Washington and worshippers at St. Peter's and St. Joseph's churches, desirous of having a church of their own, were responsive to the labors of Father James R. Matthews, assistant pastor of St. Peter's. He was a native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, had studied at St. Charles College and St. Mary's Seminary in the diocese of Maryland, and was ordained a priest in 1886. He worked so assiduously and energetically for the new congregation here at Washington, which was then known as St. Benedict's, that a site for their building was purchased on the corner of 13th and C Streets, Southeast, about the middle of April, 1893. The work of excavation was begun on the last day of July and the corner stone was laid on the 24th of September of that year. Less than eight months afterward the church was complete and ready for public worship. An imposing parade, participated in by uniformed white and Negro Catholic societies of Baltimore and Washington, was a feature of the occasion. Cardinal Gibbons dedicated the Church as St. Cyprian.[47]



[1] This dissertation was written from facts obtained from these churches and their pastors and verified by reference to books and newspapers. The most important source was the Special Report of the U. S. Commissioner of Education on the Schools of the District of Columbia, pp. 197 et seq.

[2] Special Report of the United States Commissioner of Education on the Schools of the District of Columbia, pp. 195-197.

[3] Special Report of the United States Commissioner of Education on the Schools of the District of Columbia.

[3a] After the Civil War "Little Ebenezer" entered upon a new career. The white pastors who up to this time had been serving this congregation were replaced by ministers of color, the first one being Noah Jones. About 1874 the property of the church was transferred from the white church to the local organization. Placed upon this advantageous basis, the success of this congregation soon entitled that church to rank among the leading Negro churches of the city. C. G. Keyes built the first church edifice. Under C. G. Walker, who came later, there were added so many more new members that a new building was necessary to accommodate the congregation. Then came W. H. Draper, Alexander Dennis, and finally Dr. M. W. Clair. Using the plans devised by Dr. M. W. Clair, now Bishop of the M. E. Church, John H. Griffin built the edifice which is today used by the Ebenezer Church. This church was later served by W. T. Harris, E. W. S. Peck, and more recently by the efficient S. H. Brown and W. H. Dean, who did much to promote the religious life and expand the work of the present flourishing congregation now under the direction of J. W. Waters.

[4] From records preserved by Miss H. H. Beason.

[5] The time for radical changes was approaching when the political discussions of the time were affecting Washington and all elements of its population. It was not until the Civil War was in its third year that Mt. Zion felt the change, and this was by the organization of the Washington Annual M. E. Conference in 1864. Had it not been effected at this time, it is doubtful if the M. E. Church would have been able to make much headway in Virginia with the Negro members who up to that time were counted a part of the M. E. South, worshipping in the same edifice as the whites and under such conditions as to give rise to little or no friction. The Civil War was in its last year, and there had been no opportunity before this time for the M. E. Church to secure Negro members to any extent. The A. M. E. Church, moreover, had already got a foothold in Norfolk and Portsmouth where the Union armies had triumphed, as early as 1862, and in 1865 the A. M. E. Zion Church secured a large following with valuable property in Petersburg.

Bishop Levi Scott, who organized the Washington Conference, was not concerned primarily for such churches in Baltimore as Sharp Street, Asbury, and Mt. Zion in Washington, but he was looking beyond the Potomac. At any rate he organized with four members and in 1864 sent to Mt. Zion Rev. John H. Brice, who thus became their first Negro pastor. Mt. Zion then had a membership of 317. Rev. Mr. Brice was reappointed in 1865. He was succeeded in 1866 by Rev. N. W. Carroll, whose career as an aggressive minister is that of one of the very first in his denomination. Rev. Mr. Carroll served three years and was an elder when his successor, Rev. Henry R. Elbert, was appointed in 1869.

Following Mr. Elbert came Rev. G. T. Pinkney, under whose administration the planning of a new structure first took form, and $1,500 for the purpose was deposited in the Freedmen's Bank. Rev. Mr. Pinkney was succeeded by Rev. George Lewis, who raised $1,600 for the building fund. Then came the Rev. Benjamin Brown, one of the useful pastors of the Negro church, a man whose reputation was coextensive with the confines of the Washington Conference, which at that time included Virginia and West Virginia as well as Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The desire for a new edifice increased, and the people contributed liberally. At the time of the suspension of the Freedmen's Bank in 1874 the church had on deposit $2,500. The effect of the failure of the bank was most disastrous. There was a cessation of effort for a time, but under the magnetic and masterly leadership of Rev. Mr. Brown the people rallied, and $624 was collected in one day toward the new building. The time had come for a forward movement. The members were called together March 24, 1875. The question of rebuilding was discussed thoroughly and with but ten dissenting votes the proposition was endorsed and the trustees, thus empowered, undertook the purchase of a lot on Twenty-ninth Street, between Dunbarton and O Streets, from Mr. Alfred Pope, one of their number, for $25.

The work on the new edifice was begun. Meanwhile Rev. Mr. Brown was reappointed and the cornerstone was laid, the ceremony being performed by the Good Samaritans. Then came Rev. R. A. Read, who subsequently became pastor at Asbury. Rev. James Dansbury followed Mr. Brown and gave a good account of himself. In 1880 Rev. James D. S. Hall, an eloquent preacher, who had done very creditable work in different parts of the country and who had served successfully in the A. M. E. Church as well as in the M. E. Conferences, was appointed. His appointment was the signal for new life. The cornerstone was relaid, this time under the authority of the Masons. The next morning the building when only five feet high was discovered on fire. Dissatisfaction crept in the flock, lawsuits followed, and there was formed a separate A. M. E. body, with Rev. James T. Morris as its first pastor. Mt. Zion kept on nevertheless, and the first services were held in the new structure October 30, 1880, although the building was without roof or plaster. The subsequent history of Mt. Zion until the close of the nineteenth century was notable for its steady progress.

[6] In 1869 a bill passed both houses of Congress to transfer the authority of the separate management of the Negro schools to the white board. The colored people became alarmed. Israel Church opened its doors for a mass meeting and under the leadership of John F. Cook a strong protest against the legislation was voiced. The other churches were asked to follow and endorse the stand taken at Israel. They did so; the President, Andrew Johnson, refused to sign the bill and the schools remained intact under Negro management until 1900.

[7] Israel was the church above all which made itself an example for other independent churches in Washington. Mt. Zion in Georgetown had been acting as an organized church since 1816. Until 1830, however, it had no records. It had no Negro pastor for forty-eight years and no trustees until 1866.

[8] Payne, History of the A. M. E. Church, p. 38.

[9] Some of the strongest men in that denomination were sent to Israel. Charles Wesley Fitzhugh, Charles H. Phillips, R. S. Williams, N. S. Cleaves, and S. B. Wallace were among the number. Phillips, Williams, and Cleaves became bishops, while Dr. Wallace, who died while pastor in 1895, was certainly one of the foremost pulpit orators in any of the Negro churches, without exception, during the nineteenth century.

[10] From the records of this church.

[11] At this time there were eighteen classes at the Asbury and a membership of about 640. A financial report for the year ending March 30, 1850, shows receipts of $829.17-1/2. Ten years later the stewards' financial report gives $798.01. At the dedication of Asbury in 1869 a review of its history was given by Benjamin McCoy, who was the most influential personage in the history of this church. He was a colleague of John F. Cook, Sr. An extract from a report submitted by him is very interesting, showing for the building the amount of the debt of the old Asbury, $15,354.97, on which $11,610.97 was paid Downing and Brothers, $3,744 to Rogers and Cissil, $1,257.48 paid to Morsell and Dearing, leaving a balance of $2,486.52.

[12] The order then follows: W. H. Waters, 1856; John J. Herbert, 1857; Michael F. Sluy, 1858; Alexander W. Wayman, 1859; Daniel W. Moore, 1860-1861; James A. Handy, 1864 (6 weeks); James D. S. Hall, 1864, 1865; James A. Handy, 1866, 1867; Richard A. Hall, 1868, 1869; Daniel P. Seaton, M.D., 1870, 1871; Daniel Draper, 1872, 1873; Richard A. Hall, 1874; Joseph S. Thompson, 1875, 1876; George W. Brodie, 1877, 1878, 1879; Rev. John W. Stevenson, 1880, 1881.

Union Bethel finally became the Metropolitan Church in 1881. James A. Handy served in 1882, 1883, 1884; after which came Rev. George T. Watkins, 1885; Theophilus G. Steward in 1886 and 1887, and John T. Mitchell in 1888 and 1889.

[13] The organization of the Bethel Literary and Historical Association by Bishop Payne in the early autumn of 1881 was an event worth chronicling because of its immediate influence on the individual church, the community, the denomination and the entire country. For twenty-five years the Bethel Literary in the fall and winter seasons was recognized as an intellectual clearing house. In distant communities the reflex influence was just as unmistakable because of the newspapers, whose Washington correspondents did not fail to register the utterances and the discussions which the Literary occasioned.

[14] Union Bethel became the Metropolitan A. M. E. Church by order of the General Conference of 1872, affirmed by that of 1876 and reaffirmed by its successor in 1880.

The church building is 80 x 120 with a sub-basement for domestic purposes and a basement above grade containing lecture, Sunday School, library, and class rooms. The cost was $70,000 on ground, the assessed valuation of which at the time of the erection of the edifice was $25,000. The cornerstone was laid in 1881. The basement was opened for divine worship November 8, 1885, and dedicated by Bishop A. W. Nayman, Dr. J. A. Handy, Dr. B. W. Arnett, and Dr. G. T. Watkins, pastor. On the completion of the main auditorium services were first held Sunday, May 30, 1886. When dedication features extending one week took place, John A. Simms, Andrew Twine, William Beckett, John Shorter, George C. Brown, James Washington, Walter F. Hyson, George R. Dalley, and J. T. Harris were the trustees.

In 1886 the new edifice was dedicated with elaborate exercises. T. G. Steward was the first pastor to serve in the new building. After an administration of two years he was succeeded by Dr. John G. Mitchell. John W. Beckett followed Dr. Mitchell in 1889 and remained three years. In 1873 John T. Jenifer, who bears the distinction of being a member of the first graduating class of Wilberforce University, was appointed and served three years. He was succeeded in 1896 by John Albert Johnson, who served a term of five years with unusual success. Daniel J. Hill followed J. Albert Johnson and remained two years. Oscar J. W. Scott, who followed in 1903, filled out three terms and was serving his fourth when he received an appointment as Chaplain in the 24th United States Infantry to succeed Chaplain T. G. Steward. John H. Welch, named to succeed J. W. Scott, served two years and was appointed for the third when he suddenly passed away to the intense sorrow of his congregation. Dr. Isaac N. Ross began in 1909 an incumbency of five years.

In 1914 Dr. C. Harold Stepteau succeeded Dr. Ross and remained for three years. Dr. Stepteau was succeeded in 1917 by Rev. Carlton M. Tanner. He at once bent his efforts toward the reduction of the debt which had handicapped the progress of the church for a generation. Such was his success that within two years he accomplished what had been regarded as an impossible task. The event was made an occasion for great rejoicing, culminating in a thanksgiving service Monday evening, January 27, 1919, which included among other features an address by the pastor, Dr. Tanner, one by the presiding Bishop, John Albert Johnson, and an original poem by Dr. Robert E. Ford. The most spectacular number was the burning of the fourteen thousand dollar mortgage deed in the presence of the vast audience, the taper being applied by a committee of elderly members who had been connected with the church for a score or more of years.

[15] One has said that not long thereafter they employed as temporary pastor the Rev. Mr. Nickens, whose coming being unacceptable to some members of the congregation, caused about thirty to secede, organizing a church by themselves. These seceding members were expelled and, as the church property was deeded to the members of the church, there ensued a controversy as to the title of the church, which for a number of years was in litigation between the mother church and her offspring. See the Special Report of the United States Commissioner of Education on the Schools of D. C., 311.

[16] During his school days Rev. Harvey Johnson of Baltimore was a follower of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church.

[17] This account was given by the present pastor of this church, Dr. W. H. Brooks.

The deacons during Dr. Brooks's pastorate have included some of the foremost men in the community. Such men are William Coke, who was a deacon in 1840, John H. Beale, Nathaniel Gilmer, Henry Jarvis, Linsey Muse, Albert Parker, William P. Pierre and William Syphax, while among the trustees will be recalled Carter A. Stewart, Charles Lemos, David Clark, William B. Brooks, W. A. Johnson, Edgar Ball and John H. Hunter. Among the local churches either directly or indirectly originated in the Nineteenth Street Church are the Vermont Avenue, the Metropolitan, Berean, Pilgrim of Brentwood, Salem and Israel Baptist Churches.

[18] The following persons constituted the church: John F. Cook, David Carroll, Jane Noland, Mary Ann Tilghman, Clement Talbert, Lydia Williams, Elizabeth Carroll, Ann Brown, Charles Bruce, Basil Gutridge, Clarissa Forest, John Madison, Catherine Madison, Ann Chew, Ruth Smith, Emily Norris, Maria Newton, Alfred Cook and Eliza Stewart.

[19] See F. J. Grimke's Anniversary Address on the Occasion of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church.

[20] A statement verified by the present pastor, Dr. J. L. S. Holloman.

In 1883 Dr. William Bishop Johnson accepted the call to the pastorate which, notwithstanding its nearly forty years of struggle, had been reduced to a membership of less than one hundred. During Dr. Johnson's pastorate a church edifice was erected in 1895 at a cost of $75,000, one of the largest and most imposing in the city. An outstanding feature of Dr. Johnson's administration was the organization of a Sunday School Lyceum in 1885 which was one of the most popular literary organizations in the Capitol, meeting Sunday afternoons, when there were discussions of some foremost topic by representative thinkers of both sexes and races. Notable among the presidents of the Sunday School Lyceum were Mr. Jesse Lawson, Mr. R. D. Ruffin, and Mr. R. W. Thompson, the newspaper correspondent. Johnson died in 1917 mourned by the congregation and community as one of its leading preachers. Through his administration of the affairs the church became one of the best known throughout the country because of the organizing abilities of the pastor and his unusual ability. In 1917 the church called as pastor Dr. J. L. S. Holloman of Winton, North Carolina. During his four years of service the church has been practically freed of debt and has entered on a new era of progress.

[21] The present building was erected about 1886, by Dr. R. H. G. Dyson. The present pastor is Rev. H. J. Callis, who easily takes rank in the city as one of its leading public-spirited influences.

[22] This story is taken largely from records preserved by Mr. B. J. Grant, one of the oldest members of this church.

[23] At the present time this plot of ground is covered by the Ebenezer A. M. E. Church.

[24] Two years later they erected another story, which remained intact until the church was sold. The remodeling and addition cost $1,100. This property proved to be very valuable, as they decided after many years to make it one of its most fashionable thoroughfares. Bought for almost a pittance, this property had advanced in value to such an extent that the business interests offered a high price for it and it was sold.

[25] A new edifice is being favorably considered to accommodate the growing congregation. A building fund has been started for this purpose.

[26] This account was taken from the records of the Third Baptist Church.

[27] There were elected the following officers in 1885: W. C. Laws, Joseph Jones, Henry Hughes, James H. West, Daniel Lewis, Moten Waites, and Joseph Montgomery. P. H. Umbles officiated during the vacancy of the pulpit occasioned by the death of Mr. Jefferson, which occurred in October, 1885.

On March 19 James H. Lee of New Bedford, who had formerly been connected with the Third Baptist Church, was called to the pastorate. He accepted and preached his inaugural sermon May 9 and was installed on May 30. During the first seven years of his administration 242 members were received by baptism, 49 by letter, 62 by experience, 59 by restoration. In the same period 24 were dismissed by letter, 65 excluded and 117 lost by deaths. A debt of $3,475.55 was paid during this period including balance due on site. The collections aggregated $28,729.

[28] The following officers were then in charge: Deacons W. L. Laws, Daniel Lewis, Joseph Jones, Joseph Montgomery, James H. West, Henry Hughes, and Moten Waites; and Trustees Alexander Peyton, Henry C. Bolden, William Reynolds, Ottowa Nichols, Richard Basey, George Duff and Dennis Johnson. After the death of Rev. James H. Lee, Rev. Mr. Bullock became the pastor.

[29] James L. Pinn is the present pastor, having served since September, 1916.

[30] Records of the Shiloh Baptist Church.

[31] About a year before the church was organized a number of Baptists, who with their children afterward formed the church, met in a little shanty situated at that time on the south side of L Street, just across from the present church house, and under the direction of J. McCleary Perkins, a white Union soldier, formed a Sunday School. The members of this Sunday School were largely adults of African descent, while the teachers were from both races. The Bible was the book from which morals and religion were taught, and Webster's blueback speller was the constant companion of children and parents while they were learning to read the Word of God. James H. Payne succeeded Mr. Perkins as Superintendent of this school, and six months thereafter John M. Washington succeeded Payne. These two men alternated as superintendents of this Sunday School for ten or twelve years, and worked together faithfully until they succeeded in building up a flourishing institution.

[32] Those who were in the original company that founded the church were Washington Whitlow, John J. Taylor, J. Mason Wilson, George Armstead, Edward Brook, Clement Morgan, Henry Frazier, Henry D. Payton, Griffin Saunders, Alfred Pendleton, James H. Payne, James G. Semple, Jane Brown, Elizabeth Morgan, Annie Armstead, Lucy Davis and Rev. William J. Walker.

[33] The Moderator then informed the members of Shiloh that the Council was ready to hear their statement, whereupon Henry Frazier, the senior deacon of the newly formed church, gave a history of the organization and prosperity of Shiloh Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, from which the members forming the new church had come. William J. Walker, who had been associated with the Fredericksburg church for about twelve years, presented some interesting facts, and added: "These brethren, who have been driven from their homes and scattered among strangers, long to be gathered into a church, that they may worship God unitedly as they formerly did." Thereupon A. Rothwell offered the following resolutions which were unanimously passed:

"Resolved, That we recognize with devout gratitude the good hand of our Heavenly Father, in delivering these, His children, from the fetters of bondage, so that they may freely serve Him, and more perfectly learn His Way, and we tender to them our cordial Christian sympathies, as well as our prayers and our aid, in maintaining their church organization.

"Resolved, also, That we heartily approve the proposition of the brethren to be recognized as a church, based upon the Christian doctrines and principles which are the foundation of our denomination, and that we will cheerfully cooperate in the services appropriate to the recognition of the Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington, D. C."

The following were the officers of the newly formed church: Deacons Henry Frazier, Clement Morgan, James G. Semple, Edward Brook, James H. Payne, Henry D. Payton and Alfred Pendleton; Trustees William J. Walker, Edward Brook, John J. Taylor, James H. Payne, Griffin Saunders, Washington Whitlow and Henry D. Payton; John J. Taylor, church clerk, and J. McCleary Perkins, Superintendent of the Sunday School.

William J. Walker, the first pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, was a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was born of free parents and was about 72 years of age at the time of his death, in 1889. He was a printer by trade, and enjoyed considerable educational advantages for the times in which he lived. He was a wise leader, an untiring worker, and a faithful and able minister of the gospel.

[34] This is a condensed account furnished Dr. J. M. Waldron.

[35] These facts were obtained from the church records.

[36] A statement verified by the present pastor.

[36a] A statement made by the clerk of the church.

[37] A statement made by a number of old members of the church.

[38] The records of the church.

[39] Their first meeting house was erected with a seating capacity of 300 at a cost of $800; the second, which would seat 500, cost $2,000. With their more than 150 membership they raised $1,000 annually and expended $850 on current expenses.

[40] These are facts given by the officers of this church.

[41] J. W. Parker, pastor of the E Street Baptist Church, was moderator, and Lalmon Richards, of the North Baptist Church, was clerk of this council. The organization consisted of twenty-two members, 10 men and 12 women: James Storum, Wormley, White, Harrod, Denney, Bailey, John Pierre Randolph, Rowe, Page, Mrs. Wormley, Mrs. Anderson, widow of D. W. Anderson, Eliza Jackson, Mary Jackson, Thompson, Pierre, Denney, White, Farley, Bailey and Watson.

[42] This is an abridged statement verified by the church itself.

[43] This is based on a statement made by this church.

[44] This account is based on the records of this church.

[45] These facts were obtained from the records of the church.

[46] These facts as to Negro Catholics were taken from records in the form of a church monthly newspaper in the possession of Dr. John F. Smith.

[47] The sermon was delivered by Dr. O'Gorman. The edifice is an imposing structure of Potomac blue stone, granite basement with trimmings of Baltimore County marble. A slate roof crowns the building, the elevation to the apex of the roof being 56 feet. The facade is broken at the corner with a square tower standing with its top about 113 feet from the ground. Three wide doors open from the street approached by ten stone steps so constructed as to make them easy to ascend or descend. The church will seat 600 persons and cost about $40,000. In connection with its religious activities St. Cyprian's has a parochial school and academy located on 8th and D Streets, five blocks west. This is the gift of one Miss Atkins, one of the most thrifty of Negro women of the community, who had been a student at St. Francis Academy in Baltimore.



It was on a faraway plantation, where the big bell rang out the call to work, and the overseer shouted at the top of his voice, "All in line." For twenty-seven years I was one among the groups that must hearken to the call of the big bell.

Some years ago the owners of these plantations agreed among themselves to let the colored people have schools, with the understanding that no one should be admitted as a pupil who was old enough to work. So I found myself among those who had to work. I hardly know how the thought came into my mind that I wanted to go to school, for there was no talk of schools around the fireside, but for some cause that I cannot explain I became possessed with the longing for an education. I did not know what for, but, with all my heart, I wanted to go to school.

There were ten of us in our family, including our father. Our mother departed into the beyond when we were very small. Our father was an easy-going man. Any way would do for him. Whatever was was right. Whenever I told him that I wanted to go to school he would answer, "You know what the boss says." But I would reply, "Father, he can't make me stay here." That was to him a piece of foolishness and he would turn away and say nothing more. At last I saw that I must do my own thinking and plan my own way of leaving. For ten years school was my chief thought. Every day I saw myself turning from the old plantation to what was for me the land of freedom and opportunity.

It was years before the opportunity came. One night I said to my father, "I am going to leave on the first day of May if it costs me my life." For the first time he seemed to realize that I was in earnest. Then he said, "If you leave me you will travel in my tears." That was a horrible thought to me so I did not leave then nor until several more years had gone by, ten in all from the time I first began to think about school.

Finally, one night I said to him: "This is the third and last time I shall tell you I want to go to school. You hindered me for years by telling me that I would be travelling in your tears. That will not answer any longer." When he saw that the blaze had never died out he said: "My son, these may be right thoughts that have come to your mind and their power may lead you to a good end, yet they may be the ruin of you. I would rather follow you to your grave than see you captured and brought back to be punished by these hateful laws they have on these plantations. God will change things after a time and then it may be you can go to school in safety." I saw then that my poor father wanted me to go to school but was afraid I would be punished if I did, as he had known others to do. I said I was going to risk it anyway. As the appointed time drew near he was very sorrowful. Never shall I forget the night of parting. After he had pronounced a benedirection upon me he said: "May you ever be happy."

I had really started upon my journey. I had a sack of gingerbread which I did not want to bother with but that my dear sisters persuaded me to carry with me. When daylight appeared I knew it would not be safe to keep the road so I planned out a road of my own. When I came to the spring into which Ponce de Leon had plunged to regain his lost youth I sat down and ate all the bread I could and left the rest. How often afterwards I wished for it!

Not long after I left Ponce de Leon spring I heard the plantation dogs coming after me. "What shall I do now?" was the question. When they had nearly reached me I hid behind a tree and then dashed off as if I saw game ahead. They soon recognized me and became my fast friends.

We slept in the same bed under the same guardian stars. Every night I would thank God for their voiceless sympathy. I shared my meals with them. When I bought crackers I would eat but a few of them and give the rest to my dumb companions. But I saw at last that I must get rid of the poor creatures somehow, although the thought almost broke my heart. When I reached the Mississippi I lashed two logs together and sent my companions out hunting. Then I sailed away on the raft I had made across the Father of Waters. When they returned I looked back and saw them running alongside of the river where they could see me, willing to die with me. I broke down in tears and could not look back any more, because I would have gone back and died with them.

For hundreds of miles I made a path where no human foot had ever trod. I swam rivers and made harbors where no boat had ever landed. At last I reached Texas. For many days I travelled without seeing any house. At night I was afraid of being destroyed by some wild beast, so I would climb a tree and stay awake until morning. But none of these things moved me for I had ten years' study of my journey and whatever it might bring, even death. Coming to a little town I found work with one of my race. I thought all colored people were like those on the plantation so I told my employer everything and from what plantation I came. He said I had taken the right step. Imagine my surprise therefore when I discovered that I was captured! It almost broke my heart. Rather than go back to the old plantation I would suffer death. I pulled away from my captors and ran with all my might. My pretended friend was ahead trying to overtake me but I soon freed myself in a large swamp. This taught me a lesson I did not have to go to school to learn, I found out that some among my own race would put me to death for a dollar and I learned to keep my mouth shut.

When I reached Chattanooga, the nights were so cold I saw I could no longer lie out. For many months I had not slept in a bed, nor eaten a cooked meal. My clothes were those I wore away from home and they were what you can imagine they would be. I did not know how to go about getting a job. Finally I found a good place and before long was earning enough to make me comfortable. But one day when I was out in town I saw a drummer who had sold goods to the store on our plantation, for many years. He recognized me and called out, "The boss is going to break your head, nigger, if he gets you!" This ended my happy home. I had not yet learned to get on a train but with my same dependence I soon ran away to Knoxville. Writing to a certain place from there I learned of my father's death. These were dark days for me. I was strolling about in the cold world without home or friends. I would often ask myself, "What am I living for when there is no heart beating for me?" I began to drift with the current and even thought I would take to drinking. Then the thought came to me that I would be a coward to come so far and then give up. I arose with this thought and determined to act like a man. I entered school in Morristown Tenn., thinking that all my troubles were over. I made low grade with small children. It seemed funny to them to see a man who knew so little. I was there about four months and was beginning to lose my fear when one day I saw the same drummer again. When he caught sight of me he called out, "Hello, nigger, I thought you were in New York!" Never will sinner tremble in the presence of the Almighty as I did in the presence of that drummer. But he seemed only delighted in spending some time talking with me. He said one of my sisters and several other hands from the plantation had run away and the boss thought I was the cause of it all, and, he added, "If that old man gets his hand on you, they'll take you some night and skin you alive. I told him I saw you in Chattanooga and he said he would make me a present of $200 if I would let him know where you were if I should see you again. But I would not do you that way for anything. I'll tell you what I will do for you, however. I'll get you a good job up North where you can go to school. I would not stop here." I replied "All RIGHT!" As he was going away he threw me a quarter saying, "Get you a drink, old boy!" I lifted my hat and scraped back my foot as I thanked him for the money. But I was not so easily fooled at that time. I knew just what such sweet talk meant. I saw that it was my move. I had learned then to get on the train. I left Morristown that night and next morning was in Lexington. Being afraid to stay I went to Wilberforce, Ohio, then to Frankfort but finally came back to Lexington again. By that time I had found out that my boss could not carry me back to the plantation, as its laws were not so large in the world as I had thought. I found out that if I violated the laws of the State I could not be carried back without the consent of the Governor of Kentucky. I entered Chandler School without money but happy. For the first time I wrote to my old Miss telling her I was in Lexington in Chandler School. She answered with sweet words about my going to school, and said the boss had spoken kind things about me before he passed away.

The kind teachers of Chandler did their best to unfold those twenty-seven years of ignorance. I had almost to bite the dust to stay in school but I stayed there. I have studied many days hungry—walking the streets afternoons trying to find work for a little to eat.

Since I have been in Lexington I have often been asked, "What do you want with so much education?" Out of those same lips I have heard other students praised for going to school. I did not let this discourage me. Dr. J. E. Hunter, Rev. E. A. Clarke, and Kelly Robinson will ever have my heart-felt gratitude for the kind words of encouragement they gave me. We little realize what a word of encouragement means to one who has lived the life I have.


[1] This narrative was obtained by the editor. It relates an incident which took place between Wrightsville and Dublin, Georgia, in 1903. There is abundant evidence that many other cases of this have been and may be found in the United States.


This letter contains at least one important fact showing the development of racial relations in the United States since the establishment of the independence of this country.

February 8, 1916.



Referring to your letter of the 4th instant, in which you express a desire to be furnished with information showing the number of negro soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War, their names, if possible, and some information concerning the regiments in which they served, and in which letter you also make inquiry as to whether such records are accessible to some member of your staff for making the necessary research, I am directed by the Secretary of War to inform you as follows:

A cursory examination of the Revolutionary War records on file in this Department has resulted in the discovery of information here and there concerning the services of colored men in that war, but there is no index indicating where records of such services may be found and in order to ascertain data showing the names, organizations and numbers of such colored men it would be necessary to make an extended search of the entire collection of Revolutionary War records in the custody of this Department. Even after making such an extended search the results would be doubtful because the War Department records afford but little information showing whether Revolutionary War soldiers were white or colored.

No attempt has ever been made by the War Department to compile information regarding the numbers or names of colored men in the Revolutionary War or the designations of the organizations to which they belonged, and owing to the limited clerical force allowed by law, the Department cannot undertake any compilation, which, as already explained, would in any event necessarily be incomplete and unsatisfactory.

Historical investigators of recognized standing are permitted to have access to the War Department records under certain conditions, but the Revolutionary War records have become so worn and dilapidated by reason of lapse of time and long use thereof that access thereto is permitted only under exceptional circumstances. Inasmuch as those records are very incomplete and afford scarcely any information bearing upon the subject in question it is not seen that any useful purpose can be served by granting permission to search those records for the data desired.

Many of the States that had troops in the Revolutionary War have published rosters of such troops. These rosters can probably be readily consulted in the Congressional Library, and it is believed that they afford the most promising source for obtaining the information sought

Very respectfully, H. T. MCCAIN, The Adjutant General

The following sent out some time ago under the frank of Congressman Goldfogle may have some historic value:

When the Jamestown Exposition Bill was under consideration by the Committee on Industrial Arts and Expositions of the House of Representatives, at Washington, Congressman Henry M. Goldfogle, of New York, a member of the committee, took a very keen and lively interest in securing an appropriation of a hundred thousand dollars for a Negro exhibit.

On the day the Committee finally revised the bill and voted on it, Congressman Goldfogle was suffering intensely from carbuncles, and was about to undergo a surgical operation. Despite this, he went to the committee meeting, and there moved the insertion of the provision for the appropriation for a Negro exhibit.

Some members of the committee who were not favorable to the project and others who were quite indifferent to it urged the Congressman to allow the matter to remain in abeyance, saying that it might be taken up at some future time. Judge Goldfogle, however, insisted there was no time like the present and that the colored men and women of the country ought to have an opportunity to show through means of the proposed exhibit the remarkable progress that they had made since the days when they emerged from slavery. In the course of his remarks to the Committee, he said that he came of a race that had been oppressed and which centuries ago had been in slavery, and that had he lived forty years after the children of Israel had passed out of the house of bondage, he would have been thankful and grateful had anyone given his people an opportunity to show the progress they had made as free men.

Congressman Goldfogle called attention to the testimony that had been given during the hearings before the Committee of the great advancement made by the colored people in every avenue of life from the time of their emancipation, and the credit that was due to many of the men and women of the Negro race who had shown themselves worthy of the freedom that happily this country accorded them.

After quite a spirited debate, in which Judge Goldfogle warmly espoused the cause of the colored man, the Committee, by a majority of one vote, inserted the appropriation provision; and thus, mainly through the efforts of this New York Congressman, who has not a single colored vote in his district, the Negro exhibit was established at the Jamestown Exposition.


A Social History of the American Negro. By BENJAMIN BRAWLEY. Macmillan Company, New York, 1921. Pp. 420.

As Negro history has been so long neglected, it will require some time to develop in this field the necessary standard to secure a distinction between the significant and insignificant and between truth and fiction. On account of the emphasis which has been recently given to this study, many novices lacking especially the historical point of view have entered this field because it is so productive that it is an easy task to write a work therein. Benjamin Brawley whose chief preparation and efforts have been restricted to English is one of these novices. Among his first efforts were A Short History of the American Negro and The Negro in Literature and Art. In neither of these works does he exhibit the knowledge required by the standards of present day historiography. This more recent work although more extensive than the others has no better claim to its being called history.

There can be no question as to many valuable facts contained in this work, but it lacks proportion, style, and accuracy. The book begins with a study of African origins based largely on Wiener's Africa and the Discovery of America and upon Lady Lugard's Tropical Dependency. He next takes up the Negro in the Spanish exploration but has little or nothing to say about the Negroes in connection with other explorers. His treatment of the development of the slave trade and of the introduction of slavery shows a slightly improved conception of his task. In his discussion of the Negroes in the colonies, into which he works servitude and slavery, the Indian, the mulatto, the free Negro, and efforts for social betterment, he presents a veritable hodgepodge. Passing then to the study of the estrangement from Great Britain, the participation of the Negro in the Revolutionary War, and the effect of that movement upon the Negro's social and political situation, he exhibits no scientific grasp of the status of the Negroes during the eighteenth century or of what they were thinking and doing. The treatment of the new West, the South, and the West Indies, which follows this portion of the book is merely certain generalizations which may be obtained from an average knowledge of American history and from such topical discussions of the Negro history as may be found in B.A. Johnson's History of the Negro Race or in John W. Cromwell's The Negro in American History. In his discussion of the Indian and the Negro there is an effort which serves to direct attention to a neglected aspect of our history, that is, to figure out the extent to which the races were associated and the race admixture which resulted from such contact.

Coming nearer to our day to take up the discussion of the Missouri Compromise, the abolition agitation, and the constitutional debate on slavery, Mr. Brawley shows his inability to develop his subject for he merely draws a few facts first from one field and then from another to fill out certain topics in the book without correlating them in such a way that the reader may be able to interpret their meaning. He has endeavored not to write a history but to summarize what other persons are now publishing as selected topics in this field. In other words, he has added to the unscientific history of the Negro, which has hitherto appeared in the so-called text books on Negro history, facts culled from various sources but so improperly used as not to develop the subject.

The chapter on Liberia should have been incorporated into the treatment of colonization or made a supplementary chapter in the appendix of the book. Placed in the middle of the work, it has been necessary to repeat certain facts which could have been stated elsewhere once for all. The same is true of his treatment of the Negro as a national issue, and of social progress, which he takes up the second time as topics inadequately developed in the earlier stages of the treatise. In his discussion of the Civil War, the Emancipation, the Reconstruction, and the Negro in the new South, he says very little which is new. Under the caption The Vale of Tears, he drifts almost altogether into opinion as he does also in the case of the Negro in the New Age and the Negro Problem. Judging, then, from the point of view of an historian, one must conclude that this work does not meet any particular want and that so far as the history of the Negro is concerned the publication of it will hardly result in any definite good. Mr. Brawley does not know history.

William Lloyd Garrison. By JOHN JAY CHAPMAN. Moffat, Yard and Company, New York, 1913. Pp. 278.

This is a revised edition of a work of a similar name by this author, published in 1913 by Moffat, Yard and Company, New York. After having written the first edition the author made further investigation and had other reflections which led him to think and to see things from a different angle. He was impressed, moreover, with the fact that, being now further removed from the Civil War, persons have learned to think more seriously with regard thereto and to consider the value of the deeds of the participants therein in a more sympathetic manner. This work, however, has not been so very much enlarged; for it has only eighteen pages more, but unlike the first edition it has an index. Hoping, however, to give the subject of this sketch a larger place in American history and to popularize the story of his career this revised edition has been given to the public.

The work is not set forth as a scientific study. It is rather an abridged account which may be read without much difficulty by the average student in quest of concise opinion concerning one of the most important American characters figuring in that great crisis between 1830 and 1860. On reading this work, one receives the impression that the author has done his task very well. It borders somewhat on hero worship, however, as is evident from the use of the following language: "If one could see a mystical presentation of the epoch, one would see Garrison as a Titan, turning a giant grindstone or electrical power-wheel, from which radiated vibrations in larger and in ever larger, more communicative circles and spheres of agitation, till there was not a man, woman, or child in America who was not a tremble." He says further: "We know, of course, that the source of these radiations was not in Garrison. They came from the infinite and passed out into the infinite. Had there been no Garrison they would somehow have arrived and at some time would have prevailed. But historically speaking they did actually pass through Garrison: he vitalized and permanently changed this nation as much as one man ever did the same for any nation in the history of the world."

The book gives a good background and then dramatically stages Garrison as a striking figure. Next follows a dramatic presentation of the antislavery struggle with pen pictures of the participants. The story finally reaches the crisis when Garrison stood as a central figure. The work contains a retrospect and a prospect, an excellent account of the man in action, the Rynders Mob, Garrison and Emerson, and foreign influence. The story closes with a summary and an impressive epilogue. Although not a scientific treatise it certainly furnishes stimulus to further study, and when a student thus interested has read it, he will desire to study one of the larger biographies of this distinguished man.

The Education of the South African Native. By CHARLES T. LORAM. Longmans, Green and Company, London, 1917. Pp. 340.

This is a treatise written by a South African brought up among the natives. He was once a Fellow in Teachers College of Columbia University. At the time of writing this book he was serving as an inspector of schools in Natal. The study, however, was undertaken as a doctoral dissertation at Columbia.

Observing the shortcomings of writers on Africa, this author endeavors to make a step ahead of them. He feels that they have dealt too much with ethnology, and with the descriptions of customs and habits. He does not think very much of the books primarily devoted to a discussion of the conflicting opinions on craniology and psychology of the natives. Taking up his own chosen task, however, he found it rather difficult because the government has had no definite policy of native education, and when there has been a policy among the four important South African governments there does not appear to be any uniformity of effort. No one, moreover, has undertaken to give the problem of the uplift of the natives adequate treatment.

The author desired to make his work scientific but it appears that he had not prosecuted this study very far before he found that important facts were lacking and that in making his conclusions and suggestions he would have to rely upon faith that what he may surmise may in the future prove to be true, although some modification may be necessary. Taking up this problem of education, however, he made use of the reports of the government departments, reports of school officials, books, pamphlets, articles in periodicals, statistical and experimental investigations, personal experience, and the experiences of his colleagues. While the work for the lack of some scientific treatise blazing the way suffered from so many handicaps that it could not be thoroughly scientific, it is the nearest approach to it and must be considered the best authority in this field until superseded.

The work begins with a consideration of such scientific topics as race contact in its larger aspects, the native problem and its proposed solution, serving as a sort of introduction to the essential portion of the work. The chief value of the book lies in its consideration of why the natives should be educated, the early missionary enterprises, the present status, elementary, industrial and higher education of the natives, a comparison of the achievements of native education with that of European, the basis for reconstruction of the native system, the educational budget, and proposed changes.

The work is generally readable but grows a little dull in certain statistical portions. The table of contents is detailed, but the book could have been considerably improved had an index been added. On the whole, the volume is a justification of some change in the political status of the Negro for the good of all. South Africa cannot in its own interest neglect the uplift of the natives, if it would promote the social and economic progress of the whole group. The one element cannot be elevated or kept up while the other is being held down. Persons interested in education of belated peoples and in the missionary enterprises should avail themselves of this volume.

From Slave to Citizen. By CHARLES M. MELDEN. The Methodist Book Concern, New York and Cincinnati, 1921. Pp. 271.

This is a work written by one who has spent sixteen years as an educator of Negroes in the South. His experience there was sufficient for him to learn the Negro and his needs and he writes in the vein of one speaking as having authority. Because of his long service among the Negroes, the author has doubtless caught the viewpoint of the aspiring members of the race. He aims, therefore, to present the Negro's claim for recognition as a man, as a member of the human family with the implied rights and privileges belonging to him.

The book presents a definite program. It proceeds on the basis that, in a democracy, citizenship with its duties and its privileges must in the long run be recognized. He does not feel that democracy means the wiping out of racial preferences but the recognition of racial gifts and endowments. The author considers it an injustice to hold the Negro to the standards of democracy without training him to meet the responsibility. He considers it unfair to require every individual of the race to reach a prescribed standard before any of that group shall be recognized. It is, therefore, a plea for treating the Negroes as individuals and not as a single group, for fair treatment will not lead to amalgamation in as much as Christianity has not been known to promote that.

The chief remedy for the evils of racial conflict, according to the author, is cooperation. This must be brought about through growth and development from the contact of the two races on the higher plane of Christian service. Men must learn to work together without surrendering their fundamental connections. They must confer on all matters pertaining to economic welfare. This means that the white man must give the Negro a chance for initiative and leadership in the program of cooperation rather than the eternal superimposed leadership from without. In the language of Bishop W. P. Thirkield, who wrote the introduction to this work: "The Negro must be offered not crutches but a spirit of cooperation to make him strong that he may stand on his feet and walk."

It is evident then that this book is primarily concerned with the solution of the race problem. Yet written by a man who for years lived in the South, it presents a point of view which will be of value to the historian. From such topics as citizenship, social and legal discrimination, disfranchisement, and mob law, the historian will learn much by observing how these things impressed this worker in the South and his reaction on them. Valuable information may be obtained also from the discussion of the work of the Christian teacher in the South, the mission school, and the silent protest in the form of the exodus. There are valuable statistics in the chapters presenting the progress in education, advancement in wealth, achievement in social uplift, attainments in literature and art, and the record of the Negroes in the World War. The last part of the book concerned with the currents and counter-currents, the grinding of the mills of the gods and a possible modus vivendi will decidedly interest the social worker but will not concern very much the student of history. On the whole, however, this volume is a valuable historical document which the student of Negro life must read to be well informed as to what the Negro has been doing in the South during the last generation and what others have been doing for him.


The annual meeting of the Association, held at Lynchburg on the 14th and 15th of November, was the most successful conference hitherto held by this organization. The proceedings appear elsewhere in this number.

At this meeting Prof. John R. Hawkins, for years a member of the Executive Council, was elected President. A new Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. S. W. Rutherford, was also elected. Mr. Rutherford is a well-known business man in Washington. The Executive Council was reconstructed to make it national. The following persons were added thereto: Bishop R. A. Carter, R. R. Church, John W. Davis, Clement Richardson, and R. C. Woods. Most of the former members of the Executive Council were retained.

The Associated Publishers, Incorporated, Washington, D. C., have brought out C. G. Woodson's History of the Negro Church. A review of this work will appear in the next number. Another work, the Negro in Our History, will be published some time in March.

The Journal of Negro History has received for review Mason and Furr's With the Red Hand of France, an account of a regiment of Negro soldiers in France with the American Expeditionary Force.

A group of intelligent Negroes in North Carolina have formed a state historical society to preserve the records of the race in that commonwealth.

Dr. C. G. Woodson, the Director of the Association is now making a study of slavery from the point of view of the slave himself. He has sent out a searching questionnaire from which some results are being obtained. He is also consulting local records and documents left by slaves themselves and by those in a position to know their attitude toward the institution. The cooperation of all interested in unearthing the truth is earnestly solicited.

Professor A. A. Taylor, of the West Virginia Collegiate Institute, is now making a scientific study of the influence of the Negro congressmen on the legislation of Congress and on the general policy of the country. He will appreciate any facts which may not be covered by the public documents and books available.

Duffield and Company of Boston have published a new edition of Benjamin Brawley's The Negro in Literature and Art.


The morning session of the annual meeting of the Association on the 14th at the Virginia Theological Seminary and College was called to order by the Director, C. G. Woodson, who briefly traced the history of the organization showing how it had gradually gained influence and power and reached the position which it now occupies as a national organization of concern to the people of both races throughout the country. The Director then introduced Professor Charles H. Wesley of Howard University, who delivered a most instructive and inspiring address on the value of Negro History. After a few remarks by Dr. R. C. Woods, a number of persons expressed their interest in the Association by becoming members.

At two o'clock in the evening, the business session of the Association was held. From the Executive Council, there was presented a recommendation for the following amendments to the constitution, which, after some discussion, were adopted by the Association:

That Article IV be amended so as to change "twelve" to "fourteen," and to incorporate after the words "business committee" therein the words "to fix salaries of employees." This article would then read as follows:

The Officers of this Association shall be a President, a Secretary-Treasurer, a Director and Editor, and an Executive Council, consisting of the three foregoing officers and fourteen other members elected by the Association. The Association shall have three trustees, who ex-officio shall be the President, Secretary-Treasurer, and the Director and Editor. It shall also appoint a Business Committee to fix salaries of employees, to certify bills, and to advise the Director and Editor in matters of administrative nature. These officers shall be elected by ballot through the mail or at each annual meeting of the Association.

That Article V be amended so as to read as follows:

The President shall preside at all meetings of the Association and of the Executive Council. He shall be ex-officio a trustee of the Association, a member of the Business Committee and a member of all standing committees. He shall perform such other duties as may be required of him from time to time by the Executive Council or by the Association.

In case of the absence of the President or his inability to act, his duty shall be performed by the Secretary-Treasurer, who in that event shall exercise any of the above mentioned powers of the President. In case of the absence of both the President and the Secretary-Treasurer, the duty of the President shall be performed by the Director and Editor, who in that event shall exercise any of the above mentioned powers of the President.

The Secretary-Treasurer shall attend all meetings and keep a full account of their proceedings in a book to be kept for that purpose. He shall through his Assistant keep a full and accurate account of receipts and disbursements of the Association in books belonging to the Association and shall deposit all monies and other valuable objects in the name of this Association in such depositories or safety vaults as may be designated by the Business Committee. He and his Assistant shall be required by the Executive Council to give bond as the Executive Council may designate. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be ex-officio a trustee of the Association, and a member of the Business Committee.

The Director and Editor shall be the executive of the Association when it or the Executive Council is not in session. He shall devise plans for the collection of documents, direct the studies of members of the Association, and determine what matter shall be published in the Journal of Negro History. He shall employ a business manager and clerk, the last mentioned to serve also as the Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer. He may employ other assistants for administrative work and upon the approval of the Executive Council may employ specialists to prosecute the research to be undertaken by the Association. The Director and Editor shall be ex-officio a trustee of the Association, and a member of all standing committees except the Business Committee.

The Executive Council shall have charge of the general interests of the Association, including the election of members of the Association on recommendation of the Director, the calling of meetings, the collection and the disposition of funds.

The report of the Director was read and adopted as was also the report of the Secretary-Treasurer, which was referred to an auditor. Important extracts from these reports follow.

The work of the Association has been successfully promoted. In some respects the Association has merely maintained its former status. Considered from another point of view, however, a decided advance in several ways has been noted. In the fields in which the work has advanced the progress has been so significant that the year through which the Association has just passed has been the most prosperous in its history.

The subscription list of the Journal of Negro History does not show a large increase for the reason that it became necessary more than a year ago to raise the fee from one to two dollars a year and the current stringency in the money market has borne so heavily upon teachers, and students to whom this publication must appeal, that they have been unable to give it more liberal support. Among the subscribers and members, however, there has been manifested a deep interest in the matter published and a keen appreciation of its value in the uplift of the Negro.

The membership of the Association for the same reason has about remained the same as that of last year. The interest of the members in the work and the value of the direction of the Association to them, however, have both unusually increased. This interest has culminated in the organization of clubs under the supervision of the Director, who through them has been able to give considerable stimulus to the work in remote parts of the country. Among the clubs thus organized should be mentioned those of San Antonio, Louisville, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and New York. Classes doing the same work under the instruction of teachers have been formed in most of the accredited Negro secondary schools and colleges. The work of such classes at the West Virginia Collegiate Institute, the Virginia Theological Seminary and College, Hampton Institute, Morehouse College, Atlanta University, Paine College, Lincoln Institute in Missouri, and the Kentucky State Normal School has been helpful to the Association in its prosecution of the study of Negro life and history.

With the cooperation of these friends and through travel the Director has been making a study of Slavery from the Point of View of the Slave. This has been done through questionnaires filled out by ex-slaves and former masters, through the collection of documents, and the study of local records. This study, however, is just beginning and will require much more time for completion. The Director expects to finish at an earlier date his studies of the Free Negro and the Development of the Negro in the Occupations.

The most significant achievement of the Association has been the success of the Director in increasing the income of the Association to about $12,000 a year. This substantial uplift has come in part from a large number of Negroes, who now more than ever appreciate the value of their records and the importance of popularizing the study thereof. A large number of Negroes have made small contributions and as many as forty have given the Association $25 each this year. Through the strong endorsement of Dr. J. F. Jameson and other noted historical scholars the Director secured from the Carnegie Corporation the much needed appropriation of $5,000 a year for each of the next five years. With this income the Association has paid all of its debts except that of the bonus of $1,200 a year promised the Director for 1919-1920 and 1920-1921. Besides, the Association has been enabled to employ a Business Manager and to pay the Director a regular salary that as soon as practicable he may sever his connection with all work and devote all of his time to the prosecution of the study of Negro Life and History.

The details as to how the funds thus raised have been expended appear in the following report of the Secretary-Treasurer:

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11     Next Part
Home - Random Browse