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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Hampton Negro Conference. Number III. July 1899.
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in small matters. There are some of us who keep up the good old custom of family prayers. In many cases our sincere and earnest efforts to induce the servants to unite with the other members of the household in these acts of worship have been in vain. The Negro has thought and said, "White folks don't know anything about religion."
It has been the same with Sunday schools. Long before the civil war Stonewall Jackson established and maintained a Sunday school for the black slaves at Lexington, Virginia. How fully his great heart was enlisted in this work is shown by the following touching incident:
"A day or two after the battle of Manassas, and before the news of the victory had reached Lexington in authentic form, the postoffice was thronged with people, awaiting with interest the opening of the mail. Soon a letter was handed to the Rev. Dr. White, who immediately recognized the well-known superscription of his deacon soldier, and exclaimed to the eager and expectant group around him: 'Now we shall know all the facts,' Upon opening it the Bulletin read thus: 'My Dear Pastor,—In my tent last night, after a fatiguing day's service, I remembered that I had failed to send you my contribution for our colored Sunday school. Enclosed you will find my check for that object, which please acknowledge at your earliest convenience, and oblige yours faithfully.
It was my privilege some years after the war to be a teacher in this Sunday school, which was kept up under the superintendency of Col. J. T. L. Preston, a member of Stonewall Jackson's staff. This school was finally abandoned, and for what reason? Because of the prejudice and suspicion of the Negro pastors of the town. This is only one of many similar instances that might be cited. Now I want you to remember that the prejudice has not all been on one side.
Another thing that I wish to say plainly but kindly is that the prejudice of the whites against the blacks is not confined to the South. It is more extensive in the South simply because the contact of the two races is more extensive. But is just as intensive at the North. I venture to say off-hand that in proportion to the population, the number of lynchings has been just as great in the North as in the South. I do not wish to be misunderstood. I am opposed to mob violence wherever it may occur. Lawlessness bets lawlessness.
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