African-American Perspectives
The Progress of a People
Segregation and Violence Solving the Race Problem Contributions to the Nation

SESSION 2: The Church as a Factor | Champions of Human Liberty | Industrial Education | Higher Education

Session Topic
The Church as a Factor in Solving the Race Problem in America
Image: captions follows
American Sketches: A Negro Congregation in Washington. Artist unknown. Wood Engraving, Illustrated London News, November 18, 1876. LC-USZ62-50584.
The black church has always been a dominant force in African-American life. Before Emancipation, blacks often worshipped in secret at "hush harbors" deep in the woods, far from the ears of the masters. After the Civil War, in many black communities the church was the only institution in existence. Many of the remarkable leaders of the postwar era sprang from the church.

The church served as a unifying force, provided a haven from the domination of white society, nurtured leaders, preserved black culture, and encouraged education and thrift. The church provided strong moral leadership in the drive for social justice.

Pamphlet Excerpt
from "What the Government is Doing for Our Colored Boys. The New Slavery in the South. Two Sermons Delivered at the Israel C. M. E. Church, Washington, D.C." by S. B. Wallace

.WAV format   |   Entire Pamphlet

Audio Transcription:

Be united in church, in business, in every industrial effort. Once united, and in spite of the monster prejudice and under the hand of Almighty God, we shall be a people in the world and every right guaranteed by nature and by law will be ours. There is a providence in our sufferings, and I believe the hand of God is waiting for united action among us...We need a higher and a broader education; an education with great width of range and depth of penetration. We must know economic questions and the far reaching principles which underlie them. We must reach the heights and stand with the other race upon the summit. It is in this that I see the hand of God. With all the channels for earning a livelihood closed against us, the school house door swings wide upon its hinges...God is preparing this people for an exalted station somewhere in his earthly kingdom and ere long the star of deliverance will appear in the heavens.

SESSIONS: Segregation and Violence | Solving the Race Problem | Contributions to the Nation

The Progress of a People

African-American Perspectives