Historically Black College
EVEN THE NEGRO
By Miss Louella Johnson
When I was asked to speak of my work at a district meeting of the Woman's Home Missionary Society, I decided not to speak of King Home work merely, but of existing conditions, as I know them after having been in Negro work twenty years.
A few years past almost every magazine contained an article on "The Negro Problem." Some writers who knew very little of the problem thought that they could give the best solution for it.
Since the war we do not notice so many articles. Perhaps the World War caused people to realize that there were, greater problems than the "Negro Problem," or perhaps the record made by Negro soldiers helped to solve the problem. For no men responded more quickly to the need of our country than the Negroes. No men have better records for bravery and duty well done than have the Negroes.
*One hundred thousand dollars worth of Liberty Bonds were purchased by a Louisiana Negro farmer, who owns oil wells and large farms. The United States Treasury Department awarded first place to a Negro bank, because that bank raised almost twenty times the quota given for it to raise. The Negroes of the United States contributed to war work activities more than $200,000,000.
What was meant by "The Negro Problem"? Perhaps in the past it meant their poverty. Not so to-day; for Negroes have risen and prospered from poverty to landowners; owners of their own homes; wage earners, affording comfortable livings.
Did the problem mean their ignorance? Not so to-day; for the Negroes have availed themselves of the opportunity given them for an education—the opportunity given them by the Methodist Church, and other churches, and the good public schools that they now have.
Perhaps the problem meant the fear of intermarriage. But that is very much overdrawn. "But," you say, "I know a case!" Yes, but the Negro people were no more pleased with it than were the white people. There are many beautiful young Negro women, so the young men do not want to go out of their own race for beauty, nor do they need to go out of their own race for education and culture.
When I came East I went into the dining-car for breakfast. I noticed four Japanese men at the table opposite. Now the Negro can afford to pay for dining-car service, but in some States he is not permitted to enter.
Why deny to some people and grant to other people?
Oh, I think, as a nation, our nation does not heed the command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor," for neighbor includes "even the Negro."
Some people have formed harsh opinions because of disreputable Negroes whom they have known. But is it fair to judge a race by a fete members of that race? As a race they are anxious to make independent, honest livings. The Negro church has for its motto—"Better business, better farming, better living."
Negroes give liberally of their incomes for missions and education. Of one hundred churches giving the largest average gift per member for missions, the third on the list is a Negro church.
In the Centenary drive the Negroes subscribed $4,000,000, and paid over 8200,000 of this in cash.
One wealthy Negro gave the land for a new school building; and later when the building had not been erected, as he had been told it would be, he had a modem school building erected at his own expense.
You noticed recently that a young Negro of New York had received an appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy at
Annapolis. The representative who made this appointment says he did it "in recognition of the patriotism and courage of the 500,000 Negro soldiers and sailors in the service of the United States during the war." The gentleman who granted him this opportunity believes in fairness to all races—"even the Negro."
You ladies of the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church have ever been the friends of the Negro. You provided buildings, equipment, and teachers. The work may^pot need so much financial help now as in past years, but they do need your faith in them. With pride in the results of your work, speak of them as they are now, with their educated, Christian leaders.
In 1898 I resigned my position of teacher in the public schools of Lancaster, Ohio, and entered the work of the Woman's Home Missionary Society. I left it with God to send me where he thought best. I was sent into Negro work, and after my twenty-three years with them I can say that I am thankful I had the privilege of giving my best years to Negro work.
For several years I have been in King Home. As you know, King Home is affiliated with Wiley University. There were over 500 students in Wiley last year. It is not possible to send the whole race to college, but it is possible to send college-trained teachers to the whole race. Many of our young people go out to become successful teachers, and radiate an influence for Christian service in the communities in which they teach.
Our girls work in the summer and save money for their expenses in school. Then their parents send them money every month, so they are able to pay all their expenses. I have found the Negroes good to pay their bills; and while some criticise them for extravagance in dress, I believe if they earn their money and pay their bills, they should be permitted to buy nice clothes, without this criticism.
The five years that I was in Texas I saw six of our buildings burn: four on the Wiley side and twice King Home was destroyed by fire. If you have heard of these fires, I hope you have not formed the opinion that they were set on fire. To think so would be unjust to the Negroes and unjust to the white people, for the white people were friendly to our work and kind to us in every way. The cause was electric wires and low water pressure. After the fire in November, which destroyed King Home, and in which most of my girls lost all their clothing, Wiley University and Negro friends raised $400 for our girls. This was divided among the girls and they went over town to buy new clothing. One mei chant gave them reduced prices on everything they bought, and when their money gave out he gave them other things that they were needing. Do you ask, "Who was that merchant who did more for them than any merchant in the city"? He was a Jew.
At the time of the fire, as I tried to rush from the roaring flames, the smoke came around me in such billows that I realized I was trapped. I fell, unconscious, just before I reached the door, but Negro boys broke in a window, groped around, found me, and took me out of the window. There is something about fire that is incapable of being described to one who has not been in a fire.
You have heard how horses will stampede and dash back into a burning building? Well, just as soon as I regained consciousness I started to go right back into that mass of flames. I feared one of my girls was in the building, and I thought I could save her. But a man caught me and held me from going back. In a broken language he told me the girls were all out of the building. Who was this man who saved me from burning the second time that night? He was an Italian!
And God said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor." To me "neighbor" includes the Italian, the Negro, and the Jew.
Have you noticed that ten Negroes were lynched in Texas in the month of May? Dp you read about the delay in passing the Anti-Lynching Law?
Bishop Jones says, "That no solidarity of races can take place so long as there is such hatred in the hearts of men toward each other."
You have noticed that I have not appealed to you for financial help for the Negro, but that I have tried to show you the existing condition of these 12,000,000 people in our midst —people who are here because they were brought here, and not because they intruded into this country.
In John Wesley, Jr., the writer says: "Some races point backward to the things they have achieved. Not so with the Negro race. They are not inheritors, but makers of a great destiny. The pride of the Negro race is in their future."
Ladies of the Woman's Home Missionary Society, are you not happy in the consciousness that you have had a part in bringing the Negro race up to where we can see them in the vision before us? What do I see in this vision? Oh, I see the Negro race an educated, ambitious, loyal people, right in the front ranks with our great army of Christian men and women, and all working together for the day when, "Righteousness shall prevail throughout the earth."
A STUDENT FROM AFRICA
By Mrs. E. W. Seeds
Mabel Eugenia Dennis, from Monrovia, Liberia, Africa, is now a pupil at Eliza Dee Home. She came here through the influence of Mrs. Fannie Wright Turner, once a student at King Home, but now the wife of Rev. W. L. Turner, a missionary to Africa. Mabel sailed from Monrovia in April, 1922, in the care of Mrs. Lucy Porter, of Kentucky, who had visited Africa. It was a most interesting and adventurous journey, and Mabel was interested in all the sights, especially of a volcano on fire. After fifteen days they landed in Cadiz, Spain, and waited there for a boat to America. Once on board they were compelled after a few days to turn back because of a broken propeller. But they finally arrived at Ellis Island and here new troubles awaited Mabel. She was not quite sixteen and there was difficulty about her being allowed to land. During this time of waiting, Miss Matthews, our missionary, and Miss Katharine Woloschak, her assistant, were most kind to her and took her to the Immigrant Girls' Home, and also showed her some of the sights of the great city. Finally, the difficulties regarding her entrance having been removed, she was put on board the train and found her way to Austin, Texas.
Here she was kindly cared for at the home of Professor Frazier until the opening of the Eliza Dee School. She is trying to adjust herself to American ways, but it is all very new to her. On Christmas she could hardly understand why she received so many nice things. Christmas was a happy time in the Home. One Saturday night before the girls, with visitors (invited by them), gathered in one of the rooms where a small tree was decorated with many nice presents, sent to them by kind friends from auxiliaries, circles and bands in the North. They were delighted and greatly appreciated their gifts. On Christmas morning some of the girls sang carols through the halls, making all feel the joy of the holy Christmas day. It was indeed a day of joy, gladness and praise, and no one appreciated it more than the newcomer from Africa.
Because of change in plans, caused by the recent fire, Mrs. E. M. Seeds, Bureau Secretary, requests that no more supplies of any kind be sent to King Home. However, all pledges are to be paid as usual, as the class work is still being carried on.
Because of the enlarged facilities for the education of Negro young men and women at Wiley University King Home Marshall Texas which burned in November will be rebuilt on another site where the need and the opportunity is greater Miss Johnson will have rest and care at Bancroft Taylor Rest Home until recovered from the shock
keep them waiting any longer go you Also we have pledged two thousand dollars to name the parlor and library at King Home Marshall Texas You know the great need of this industrial home among the Negroes Make good your pledge to this
The class which graduated from Iowa Bible Training School in June contained two deaconesses of the Negro race who are to work at once among their own people. Mrs. Lucinda Alma Brown is from Marshall, Texas, and will find Texas her field of labor. Miss Florence Elvira Daniels is from Watertown, South Dakota, and her appointment is to missionary work among Negroes in Detroit in answer to an urgent call by Bishop Henderson. As appropriate to the beginning of our year's study of the Negro race we are printing an article by Mrs. Brown, entitled, "The Negro in America."
West Texas Conference: The group meeting held in Waco, St. James, May 18, 19, was a full success. Mrs. E. Spriggs Ratliff, our conference corresponding secretary and treasurer, was with us from beginning to end, and urged upon us to do our duty to the Woman's Home Missionary Society. There were twenty-nine delegates and many conference officers present. The Rev. T. H. Wyatt, Waco District superintendent, gave his whole time. Addresses of encouragement from Rev. K. W. McMillan, pastor Ft. Worth; Rev. J. H. Duddley, I. F. Sanford, W. W. Stephen, J. M. Foster, H. Kuyendall, made us feel that they were ready to help Dr. J. W. Gilder and wife, our pastor at St. James, Waco, provided for our coming with nothing lacking. The program on Thursday night by his Home Guards, Mothers' Jewels and Queen Esthers was splendid. The concert Friday night, arranged by Mrs. M. J. Stuard, could not be excelled. The three districts, Dallas. San Angelo and Waco, consolidated to hold a joint group each year the first Thursday after Mother's Day. Waco, St. James, took the banner, having paid in $37.55. Ft. Worth, St. Andrew, second banner, paid in $20.50. Mrs. Spriggs filled the pulpit Sunday morning at Mt. Zion, and St. James at night. She said we belong to a wonderful society doing a great work.
There were reported a new auxiliary organized at Waxahachie with five paid-up members; one at Wichita Falls!" five members paid up; one Home Guard at Waco with 15 members paid up; one Queen Esther Circle with 20 members, paid up; four Mothers' Jewels Life Members made.—Reporter.
ELIZA DEE INDUSTRIAL HOME
For two or three years we have observed Passion Week with the whole school, all services being in college chapel and for the whole school. We had our own morning prayer services and the usual Easter ones in the Home at morning worship. In the evening the president had a "candle-light service," when all who would renewed their obligations, and a few who had never taken a stand in public were among the number.
Our Home family, while small, are all professing Christians, some not as active as they might be, but many things account for that in these young people as well as all these days.
ELIZA DEE INDUSTRIAL HOME
Our Eliza Dee family held a six-o'clock service during Passion Week, each morning, led by various teachers. Decision Day, at 7 P. M., all went to the college chapel where a "candle-light" service was held, in which I think each took a part. We had only two little girls in the home who had taken no definite stand, one from Africa. She, some weeks ago, tried to understand and made a promise. We trust all of this effort and the best influence at all times will bring about a change for the better in all girls' lives here.