CHAPTER XII.

THE ORGANIZED LIFE OF NEGROES.

31. History of the Negro Church in Philadelphia.--We have already followed the history of the rise of the FreeAfrican Society, which was the beginning of the NegroChurch in the North.1 We often forget that the rise ofa church organization among Negroes was a curious phenomenon. Thechurch really represented all that was left of African triballife, and was the sole expression of the organized efforts of theslaves. It was natural that any movement among freedmen shouldcentre about their religious life, the sole remaining element oftheir former tribal system. Consequently when, led by two strongmen, they left the white Methodist Church, they were naturallyunable to form any democratic moral reform association; they mustbe led and guided, and this guidance must have the religioussanction that tribal government always has. Consequently Jonesand Allen, the leaders of the Free African Society, as early as1791 began regular religious exercises, and at the close of theeighteenth century there were three Negro churches in the city,two of which were independent.2

St. Thomas' Church has had a most interesting history. Itearly declared its purpose "of advancing our friends in atrue knowledge of God, of true religion, and of the ways andmeans to restore our long lost race to the dignity of men and ofChristians." 3The church offered itself to the Protestant Episcopal Churchand was accepted on condition that they take no part in thegovernment of the general church. Their leader, Absalom Jones,was ordained deacon and priest, and took charge of the church. In1804 thechurch established a day school which lasted until 1816.4 In1849 St.Thomas' began a series of attempts to gain full recognition inthe Church by a demand for delegates to the Church gatherings.The Assembly first declared that it was not expedient to allowNegroes to take part. To this the vestry returned a dignifiedanswer, asserting that "expediency is no plea against theviolation of the great principles of charity, mercy, justice andtruth." Not until 1864was the Negro body received into full fellowship with theChurch. In the century and more of its existence St. Thomas' hasalways represented a high grade of intelligence, and to-day itstill represents the most cultured and wealthiest of the Negropopulation and the Philadelphia born residents. Its membershiphas consequently always been small, being 246 in 1794, 427 in1795, 105 in 1860, and 391in 1897.5

The growth of Bethel Church, founded by Richard Allen, onSouth Sixth Street, has been so phenomenal that it belongsto the history of the nation rather than to any one city.From a weekly gathering which met in Allen's blacksmithshop on Sixth near Lombard, grew a large church edifice; otherchurches were formed under the same general plan, and Allen, asoverseer of them, finally took the title of bishop andordained other bishops. The Church, under the name of AfricanMethodist Episcopal, grew and spread until in 1890 theorganization had 452,725members, 2481churches and $6,468,280worth of property.6

By 1813 7there were in Philadelphia six Negro churches withthe following membership: 8

St. Thomas', P. E 560
Bethel, A. M. E 1272
Zoar, M. E. 80
Union, A. M. E. 74
Baptist, Race and Vine Streets 80
Presbyterian 300
  2366

The Presbyterian Church had been founded by two Negromissionaries, father and son, named Gloucester, in 1807. 9 TheBaptist Church was founded in 1809.The inquiry of 1838gives these statistics of churches:

Denomination.

No.
Churches

Members

Annual
Expenses

Value of
Property

Incumbrances
Episcopalian 1 100 $1,000 $36,000 . . .
Lutheran 1 10 120 3,000 $1,000
Methodist 8 2,860 2,100 50,800 5,100
Presbyterian 2 325 1,500 20,000 1,000
Baptist 4 700 1,300 4,200 . . .
Total 16 3,995 $6,020 $114,000 $7,100

Three more churches were added in the next ten years, and thena reaction followed. 10 By 1867 there were in allprobability nearly twenty churches, of which we have statisticsof seventeen:11

 

STATISTICS OF NEGRO CHURCHES, 1867.

Name Founded Number of
Members
Value of
Property
Pastors'
Salary
P. E. --
St. Thomas
1792 . . . . . .
Methodist--
Bethel
1794 1,100 $50,000 $600
Union 1827 467 40,000 850
Wesley 1817 464 21,000 700
Zoar 1794 400 12,000 . .
John Wesley 1844 42 3,000 No regular salary
Little Wesley 1821 310 11,000 500
Pisgah 1831 116 4,600 430
Zion City Mission 1858 90 4,500 . .
Little Union 1837 200 . . . .
Baptist --
First Baptist
1809 360 5,000 . .
Union Baptist . . 400 7,000 600
Shiloh 1842 405 16,000 600
Oak Street 1827 137 . . . .
Presbyterian --
First Presbyterian
1807 200 8,000 . .
Second Presbyterian 1824 . . . . . .
Central Presbyterian 1844 240 16,000 . .

 

Since the war the growth of Negro churches has been by bounds,there being twenty-five churches and missions in 1880, andfifty-five in 1897.

So phenomenal a growth as this here outlined means more thanthe establishment of many places of worship. The Negro is, to besure, a religious creature--most primitive folk are--but hisrapid and even extraordinary founding of churches is not due tothis fact alone, but is rather a measure of his development, anindication of the increasing intricacy of his social life and theconsequent multiplication of the organ which is the function ofhis group life--the church. To understand this let us inquireinto the function of the Negro church.

32. The Function of the Negro Church.--TheNegro church is the peculiar and characteristic product of thetransplanted African, and deserves especial study. As a socialgroup the Negro church may be said to have antedated the Negrofamily on American soil; as such it has preserved, on the onehand, many functions of tribal organization, and on the otherhand, many of the family functions. Its tribal functions areshown in its religious activity, its social authority and generalguiding and co-ordinating work; its family functions are shown bythe fact that the church is a centre of social life andintercourse; acts as newspaper and intelligence bureau, is thecentre of amusements--indeed, is the world in which the Negromoves and acts. So far-reaching are these functions of the churchthat its organization is almost political. In Bethel Church, forinstance, the mother African Methodist Episcopal Church ofAmerica, we have the following officials and organizations:

The Bishop of the District Executive
The Presiding Elder
The Pastor
The Board of Trustees Executive Council
General Church Meeting Legislative
The Board of Stewards Financial Board
The Board of Stewardesses
The Junior Stewardesses
The Sunday School Organization Educational System
Ladies' Auxiliary, Volunteer Guild, etc. Tax Collectors.
Ushers' Association Police
Class Leaders Sheriffs and Magistrates.
Local Preachers.  
Choir Music and Amusement.
Allen Guards Militia.
Missionary Societies Social Reformers.
Beneficial and Semi-Secret Societies, etc. Corporations.

 

Or to put it differently, here we have a mayor, appointed fromwithout, with great administrative and legislative powers,although well limited by long and zealously cherished custom; heacts conjointly with a select council, the trustees, a board offinance, composed of stewards and stewardesses, a common councilof committees and, occasionally, of all church members. Thevarious functions of the church are carried out by societies andorganizations. The form of government varies, but is generallysome form of democracy closely guarded by custom and tempered bypossible and not infrequent secession.

The functions of such churches in order of present emphasisare:

1. The raising of the annual budget.
2. The maintenance of membership.
3. Social intercourse and amusements.
4. The setting of moral standards.
5. Promotion of general intelligence.
6. Efforts for social betterment.

1. The annual budget is of first importance, because the lifeof the organization depends upon it. The amount of expenditure isnot very accurately determined beforehand, although its mainitems do not vary much. There is the pastor's salary, themaintenance of the building, light and heat, the wages of ajanitor, contributions to various church objects, and the like,to which must be usually added the interest on some debt. The sumthus required varies in Philadelphia from $200 to $5000. A smallpart of this is raised by a direct tax on each member. Besidesthis, voluntary contributions by members, roughly gaugedaccording to ability, are expected, and a strong publicopinion usually compels payment. Another large source of revenueis the collection after the sermons on Sunday, when, amid thereading of notices and a subdued hum of social intercourse, astream of givers walk to the pulpit and place in the handsof the trustee or steward in charge a contribution, varying froma cent to a dollar or more. To this must be added the steadyrevenue from entertainments, suppers, socials, fairs, and thelike. In this way the Negro churches of Philadelphia raise nearly$100,000 a year. They hold in real estate $900,000 worth ofproperty, and are thus no insignificant element in the economicsof the city.

2. Extraordinary methods are used and efforts made to maintainand increase the membership of the various churches. To be apopular church with large membership means ample revenues, largesocial influence and a leadership among the colored peopleunequaled in power and effectiveness. Consequently people areattracted to the church by sermons, by music and byentertainments; finally, every year a revival is held, at whichconsiderable numbers of young people are converted. All this isdone in perfect sincerity and without much thought of merelyincreasing membership, and yet every small church strives to belarge by these means and every large church to rmaintain itselfor grow larger. The churches thus vary from a dozen to a thousandmembers.

3. Without wholly conscious effort the Negro church has becomea centre of social intercourse to a degree unknown in whitechurches even in the country. The various churches, too,represent social classes. At St. Thomas' one looks for thewell-to-do Philadelphians, largely descendants of favoritemulatto house servants, and consequently well-bred and educated,but rather cold and reserved to strangers or newcomers; atCentral Presbyterian one sees the older simpler set ofrespectable Philadelphians with distinctly Quakercharacteristics--pleasant but conservative; at Bethel may be seenthe best of the great laboring class--steady, honest people, welldressed and well fed, with church and family traditions; atWesley will be found the new arrivals, the sight-seers and thestrangers to the city--hearty and easy-going people, who welcomeall comers and ask few questions; at Union Baptist one may lookfor the Virginia servant girls and their young men; and so onthroughout the city. Each church forms its own social circle, andnot many stray beyond its bounds. Introductions into that circlecome through the church, and thus the stranger becormes known.All sorts of entertainments and amusements are furnished by thechurches: concerts, suppers, socials, fairs, literary exercisesand debates, cantatas, plays, excursions, picnics, surpriseparties, celebrations. Every holiday is the occasion of somespecial entertainment by some club, society or committee of thechurch; Thursday afternoons and evenings, when the servant girlsare free, are always sure to have some sort of entertainment.Sometimes these exercises are free, sometimes an admission fee ischarged, sometimes refreshments or articles are on sale. Thefavorite entertainment is a concert with solo singing,instrumental music, reciting, and the like. Many performers makea living by appearing at these entertainments in various cities,and often they are persons of training and ability, although notalways. So frequent are these and other church exercises thatthere are few Negro churches which are not open four to sevennights in a week and sometimes one or two afternoons in addition.

Perhaps the pleasantest and most interesting socialintercourse takes place on Sunday; the weary week's work is done,the people have slept late and had a good breakfast, and sallyforth to church well dressed and complacent. The usual hour ofthe morning service is eleven, but people stream in until aftertwelve. The sermon is usually short and stirring, but in thelarger churches elicits little response other than an"Amen" or two. After the sermon the socialfeatures begin; notices on the various meetings of the week areread, people talk with each other in subdued tones, take theircontributions to the altar, and linger in the aisles andcorridors long after dismission to laugh and chat untilone or two o'clock. Then they go home to good dinners.Sometimes there is some special three o'clock service, butusually nothing save Sunday school, until night. Thencomes the chief meeting of the day; probably ten thousandNegroes gather every Sunday night in their churches. There ismuch music, much preaching, some short addresses; manystrangers are there to be looked at; many beaus bring out theirbelles, and those who do not gather in crowds at thechurch door and escort the young women home. The crowds areusually well behaved and respectable, though rather more jollythan comports with a puritan idea of church services.

In this way the social life of the Negro centres in his church--baptism,wedding and burial, gossip and courtship, friendship andintrigue--all lie in these walls. What wonder that this centralclub house tends to become more and more luxuriouslyfurnished, costly in appointment and easy of access !

4. It must not be inferred from all this that the Negro ishypocritical or irreligious. His church is, to be sure, a socialinstitution first, and religious afterwards, but nevertheless,its religious activity is wide and sincere. In directmoral teaching and in setting moral standards for the people,however, the church is timid, and naturally so, for itsconstitution is democracy tempered by custom. Negro preachers areoften condemned for poor leadership and empty sermons, and it issaid that men with so much power and influence could makestriking moral reforms. This is but partially true. Thecongregation does not follow the moral precepts of the preacher,but rather the preacher follows the standard of his flock, andonly exceptional men dare seek to change this. And here it mustbe remembered that the Negro preacher is primarily an executiveofficer, rather than a spiritual guide. If one goes into anygreat Negro church and hears the sermon and views the audience,one would say either the sermon is far below the calibre of theaudience, or the people are less sensible than they look; theformer explanation is usually true. The preacher is sure to be aman of executive ability; a leader of men, a shrewd and affablepresident of a large and intricate corporation. In addition tothis he may be, and usually is, a striking elocutionist; he mayalso be a man of integrity, learning, and deep spiritualearnestness; but these last three are sometimes all lacking, andthe last two in many cases. Some signs of advance are heremanifest: no minister of notoriously immoral life, or even of badreputation, could hold a large church in Philadelphia withouteventual revolt. Most of the present pastors are decent,respectable men; there are perhaps one or two exceptions to this,but the exceptions are doubtful, rather than notorious. On thewhole then, the average Negro preacher in this city is a shrewdmanager, a respectable man, a good talker, a pleasant companion,but neither learned nor spiritual, nor a reformer.

The moral standards are therefore set by the congregations,and vary from church to church in some degree. There has been aslow working toward a literal obeying of the puritan and asceticstandard of morals which Methodism imposed on the freedmen; butcondition and temperament have modified these. The grosser formsof immorality, together with theatre-going and dancing, arespecifically denounced; nevertheless, the precepts againstspecific amusements are often violated by church members. Thecleft between denominations is still wide, especially betweenMethodists and Baptists. The sermons are usually kept within thesafe ground of a mild Calvinism, with much insistence onSalvation, Grace, Fallen Humanity and the like.

The chief function of these churches in morals is to conserveold standards and create about them a public opinion which shalldeter the offender. And in this the Negro churches are peculiarlysuccessful, although naturally the standards conserved are not ashigh as they should be.

5. The Negro churches were the birthplaces of Negro schoolsand of all agencies which seem to promote the intelligence of themasses; and even to-day no agency serves to disseminate news orinformation so quickly and effectively among Negroes as thechurch. The lyceum and lecture here still maintain a feeble butpersistent existence, and church newspapers and books arecirculated widely. Night schools and kindergartens are still heldin connection with churches, and all Negro celebrities, from abishop to a poet like Dunbar, are introduced to Negro audiencesfrom the pulpits.

6. Consequently all movements for social betterment are aptto centre in the churches. Beneficial societies in endless numberare formed here; secret societies keep in touch; co-operative andbuilding associations have lately sprung up; the ministeroften acts as an employment agent; considerable charitable andrelief work is done and special meetings held to aidspecial projects.12 The race problem in all its phasesis continually being discussed, and, indeed, from this forum manya youth goes forth inspired to work.

Such are some of the functions of the Negro church, and astudy of them indicates how largely this organization has come tobe an expression of the organized life of Negroes in a greatcity.

33. The Present Condition of the Churches.--The2441 families of the Seventh Ward were distributed among thevarious denominations, in 1896, as follows:

  Families
Methodists 842
Baptists 577
Episcopalians 156
Presbyterians 74
Catholic 69
Shakers 2
Unconnected and unknown 721
  2441

 

Probably half of the " unconnected and unknown "habitually attend church.

In the city at large the Methodists have a decided majority,followed by the Baptists, and further behind, the Episcopalians.Starting with the Methodists, we find three bodies: the AfricanMethodist Episcopal, founded by Allen, the A. M. E. Zion, whichsprung from a secession of Negroes from white churches in NewYork in the eighteenth century; and the M. E. Church, consistingof colored churches belonging to the white Methodist Church, likeZoar.

The A. M. E. Church is the largest body and had, in 1897,fourteen churches and missions in the city, with a totalmembership of 3210, and thirteen church edifices, seating 6117persons. These churches collected during the year, $27,074.13.Their property is valued at $202,229 on which there is a mortgageindebtedness of $30,000 to $50,000. Detailed statistics are givenin the table on the next page.

 

 

These churches are pretty well organized, and are conductedwith vim and enthusiasm. This arises largely from their system.Their bishops have been in some instances men of piety andability like the late Daniel A. Payne. In other cases theyhave fallen far below this standard; but they have always beenmen of great influence, and had a genius for leadership--elsethey would not have been bishops. They have large powers ofappointment and removal in the case of pastors, and thus eachpastor, working under the eye of an inspiring chief, strainsevery nerve to make his church a successful organization. Thebishop is aided by several presiding elders, who are travelinginspectors and preachers, and give advice as to appointments.This system results in great unity and power; the purelyspiritual aims of the church, to be sure, suffer somewhat, butafter all this peculiar organism is more than a church, it is agovernment of men.

The headquarters of the A. M. E. Church are in Philadelphia.Their publishing house, at Seventh and Pine, publishes a weeklypaper and a quarterly review, besides some books, such ashymnals, church disciplines, short treatises, leaflets and thelike. The receipts of this establishment in 1897 were $16,058.26,and its expenditures $14,119.15. Its total outfit and property isvalued at $45,513.64, with an indebtedness of $14,513.64.

An episcopal residence for the bishop of the district hasrecently been purchased on Belmont avenue. The PhiladelphiaConference disbursed from the general church funds in 1897, $985to superannuated ministers, and $375 to widows of ministers. Twoor three women missionaries visited the sick during the year andsome committees of the Ladies' Mission Society worked to secureorphans' homes.13 Thus throughout the work of thischurch there is much evidence of enthusiasrm and persistentprogress.

There are three churches in the city representing the A. M. E.Zion connection. They are:

Wesley Fifteenth and Lombard Sts
Mount Zion Fifty-fifth above Market St.
Union Ninth St. and Girard Ave

No detailed statistics of these churches are available; thelast two are small, the first is one of the largest and mostpopular in the city; the pastor receives $1500 a year and thetotal income of the church is between $4000 and $5000. It doesconsiderable charitable work among its aged members, and supportsa large sick and death benefit society. Its property is worth atleast $25,000.

Two other Methodist churches of different denominations are:Grace U. A. M. E., Lombard street, above Fifteenth; St. MatthewMethodist Protestant, Fifty-eighth and Vine streets. Both thesechurches are small, although the first has a valuablepiece of property.

The Methodist Episcopal Church has six organizations in thecity among the Negroes; they own church property valued at$53,700, have a total membership of 1202, and an income of$16,394 in 1897. Of this total income, $1235, or 7 1/2 per cent,was given for benevolent enterprises. These churches are quietand well conducted, and although not among the most popularchurches, have nevertheless a membership of old and respectedcitizens.

COLORED M.E. CHURCHES IN PHILADELPHIA, 1897.

 

Church Members Salary,
etc. of
Pastor
Contributions
to Presiding Elders
and Bishops
Value of
Church
Value of
Parsonage
Building and
Improvements
during Year
Paid on
Indebtedness
Present Indebtedness Current Expenses Benevolent Collections
Bainbridge Street 354 $1312 $151 $20,000 . . . $190 $601 $4,433 $1274 $326
Frankford 72 720 35 1,500 . . . 15 146 130 155 87
Germantown 165 828 72 4,000 . . . . . . 400 1,000 270 177
Haven 72 440 39 3,400 . . . 24 . . . 3,836 277 25
Waterloo Street 31 221 27 800 . . . 450 50 90 22 37
Zoar 508 1270 220 20,000 $4000 3522 2171 5,800 257 583
Total 1202 $4791 544 $49,700 $4000 $4201 $3368 $15,289 $2255 $1235

 

There were in 1896 seventeen Baptist churches in Philadelphia,holding property valued at more than $300,000, having sixthousand members, and an annual income of, probably, $30,000 to$35,000. One of the largest churches has in the last five yearsraised between $17,000 and $18,000.

COLORED BAPTIST CHURCHES OF PHILADELPHIA,1896.

Church Membership Value of
Property
Expended in
Missions,
Local and
Foreign
Annual
Income
Monumental 435 $30,000 $7.00 . . .
Cherry Street 800 50,000 . . . . . .
Union 1,020 50,000 58.10 . . .
St. Paul 422 25,000 1.00 . . .
Ebenezer 189 12,000 3.36 . . .
Macedonia 76 1,000 3.00 . . .
Bethsaida 78 . . . . . . . . .
Haddington 50 . . . . . . . . .
Germantown 305 24,800 . . . . . .
Grace 57 2,000 5.50 . . .
Shiloh 1,000 50,000 . . . $3,600
Holy Trinity 287 10,000 3.00 . . .
Second, Nicetown 164 2,000 9.73 . . .
Zion 700 40,000 . . . . . .
Providence . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cherry Street Mission . . . . . . . . . . . .
Tabernacle . . . . . . . . . . . .
Total 5,583 $296,800   . . .

The Baptists are strong in Philadelphia, and own many largeand attractive churches, such as, for instance, the Union BaptistChurch, on Twelfth street; Zion Baptist, in the northern part ofthe city; Monumental, in West Philadelphia, and the staid andrespectable Cherry Street Church. These churches as a rule havelarge membership. They are, however, quite different in spiritand methods from the Methodists; they lack organization, and arenot so well managed as business institutions. Consequentlystatistics of their work are very hard to obtain, and indeed inmany cases do not even exist for individual churches. On theother hand, the Baptists are peculiarly clannish and loyal totheir organization, keep their pastors a long time, and thus eachchurch gains an individuality not noticed in Methodist churches.If the pastor is a strong, upright character, his influence forgood is marked. At the same titne, the Baptists have in theirranks a larger percentage of illiteracy than probably any otherchurch, and it is often possible for an inferior man to hold alarge church for years and allow it to stagnate and retrograde.The Baptist policy is extreme democracy applied to churchaffairs, and no wonder that this often results in apernicious dictatorship. While many of the Baptist pastors ofPhiladelphia are men of ability and education, the generalaverage is below that of the other churches--a fact dueprincipally to the ease with which one can enter the Baptistministry.15 These churches support a small publishinghouse in the city, which issues a weekly paper. They do somecharitable work, but not much.16

There are three Presbyterian churches in the city:

Name Members Value of
Property
Annual
Income
 
Berean 98 $75,000 $1,135 Parsonage.
Central 430 50,000 1,800 Parsonage.
First African 105 25,000 1,538  

 

Central Church is the oldest of these churches and has aninteresting history. It represents a withdrawal from the FirstAfrican Presbyterian Church in 1844. The congregation firstworshiped at Eighth and Carpenter streets, and in 1845 purchaseda lot at Ninth and Lombard, where they still meet in a quiet andrespectable house of worship. Their 430 members include some ofthe oldest and most respectable Negro families of thecity. Probably if the white Presbyterians had given moreencouragement to Negroes, this denomination would have absorbedthe best elements of the colored population; they seem,however, to have shown some desire to be rid of the blacks, or atleast not to increase their Negro membership in Philadelphia toany great extent. Central Church is more nearly a simplereligious organization than most churches; it listens to ablesermons, but does little outside its own doors.17

Berean Church is the work of one man and is an institutionalchurch. It was formerly a mission of Central Church and now ownsa fine piece of property bought by donations contributed bywhites and Negroes, but chiefly by the former. Theconception of the work and its carrying out, however, is due toNegroes. This church conducts a successful Building andLoan Association, a kindergarten, a medical dispensary and aseaside home, beside the numerous church societies. Probably nochurch in the city, except the Episcopal Church of theCrucifixion, is doing so much for the social betterment of theNegro.18 The First African is the oldest coloredchurch of this denomination in the city.

The Episcopal Church has, for Negro congregations, twoindependent churches, two churches dependent on white parishes,and four missions and Sunday schools. Statistics of three ofthese are given in the table on page 218.

 

The Episcopal churches receive more outside help than othersand also do more general mission and rescue work. They hold$150,000 worth of property, have 900-1000 members and an annualincome of $7000 to $8000. They represent all grades of thecolored population. The oldest of the churches is St. Thomas'.Next comes the Church of the Crucifixion, over fifty years oldand perhaps the most effective church organization in the cityfor benevolent and rescue work. It has been built up virtually byone Negro, a man of sincerity and culture, and of peculiarenergy. This church carries on regular church work at Bainbridgeand Eighth and at two branch missions; it helps in the Fresh AirFund, has an ice mission, a vacation school of thirty-fivechildren, and a parish visitor. It makes an especial feature ofgood music with its vested choir. One or two courses ofUniversity Extension lectures are held here each year, and thereis a large beneficial and insurance society in active operation,and a Home for the Homeless on Lombard street. This churchespecially reaches after a class of neglected poor whom the othercolored churches shun or forget and for whom there is littlefellowship in white churches. The rector says of this work:

"As I look back over nearly twenty years of labor in oneparish, I see a great deal to be devoutly thankful for. Here arepeople struggling from the beginning of one year to another,without ever having what can be called the necessaries of life.God alone knows what a real struggle life is to them. Many ofthem must always be 'moving on,' because they cannot pay the rentor meet other obligations.

"I have just visited a family of four, mother and threechildren. The mother is too sick to work. The eldest girl willwork when she can find something to do. But the rent is due, andthere is not a cent in the house. This is but a sample. How cansuch people support a church of their own? To many such, religionoften becomes doubly comforting. They seize eagerly on thepromises of a life where these earthly distresses will be foreverabsent.

"If the other half only knew how this half is living--howhard and dreary, and often hopeless, life is--the members of themore favored half would gladly help to do all they could to havethe gospel freely preached to those whose lives are so devoid ofearthly comforts.

"Twenty or thirty thousand dollars (and that is not much),safely invested, would enable the parish to do a work that oughtto be done and yet is not being done at present. The poor couldthen have the gospel preached to them in a way that it is not nowbeing preached."

The Catholic church has in the last decade made great progressin its work among Negroes and is determined to do much in thefuture. Its chief hold upon the colored people is its comparativelack of discrimination. There is one Catholic church in the citydesigned especially for Negro work--St. Peter Clavers at Twelfthand Lombard-- formerly a Presbyterian church; recently a parishhouse has been added. The priest in charge estimates that400 or 500 Negroes regularly attend Catholic churches in variousparts of the city. The Mary Drexel Home for Colored Orphans is aCatholic institution near the city which is doing much work. TheCatholic church can do more than any other agency in humanizingthe intense prejudice of many of the working class against theNegro, and signs of this influence are manifest in some quarters.

We have thus somewhat in detail reviewed the work of the chiefchurches. There are beside these continually springing up anddying a host of little noisy missions which represent the olderand more demonstrative worship. A description of one applies tonearly all; take for instance one in the slums of theFifth Ward:

"The tablet in the gable of this little church bears thedate 1837. For sixty years it has stood and done its work in thenarrow lane. What its history has been all this time it isdifficult to find out, for no records are on hand, and no one ishere to tell the tale.

"The few last months of the old order was something likethis: It was in the hands of a Negro congregation. Several visitswere paid to the church, and generally a dozen people were foundthere. After a discourse by a very illiterate preacher, hymnswere sung, having many repetitions of senseless sentiment andexciting cadences. It took about an hour to work up thecongregation to a fervor aimed at. When this was reached aremarkable scene presented itself. The whole congregation pressedforward to an open space before the pulpit, and formed a ring.The most excitable of their number entered the ring, and withclapping of hands and contortions led the devotions. Thoseforming the ring joined in the clapping of hands and wild andloud singing, frequently springing into the air, and shoutingloudly. As the devotions proceeded, most of the worshipers tookoff their coats and vests and hung them on pegs on the wall. Thiscontinued for hours, until all were completely exhausted, andsome had fainted and been stowed away on benches or the pulpitplatform. This was the order of things at the close of sixty years'history. * * * When this congregation vacated the church, theydid so stealthily, under cover of darkness, removed furniture nottheir own, including the pulpit, and left bills unpaid."19

There are dozens of such little missions in various parts ofPhiladelphia, led by wandering preachers. They are survivalsof the methods of worship in Africa and the West Indies. In someof the larger churches noise and excitement attend the services,especially at the time of revival or in prayer meetings. For themost part, however, these customs are dying away.

To recapitulate, we have in Philadelphia fifty-five Negrochurches with 12,845 members owning $907,729 worth of propertywith an annual income of at least $94,968. And these representthe organized efforts of the race better than any otherorganizations. Second to them however come the secret andbenevolent societies, which we now consider.

34. Secret and Beneficial Societies, andCo-operative Business.--The art of organization is the onehardest for the freedman to learn, and the Negro shows hisgreatest deficiency here; whatever success he has had has beenshown most conspicuously in his church organizations, wherethe religious bond greatly facilitated union. In otherorganizations where the bond was weaker his success has beenless. From early times the precarious economic condition of thefree Negroes led to many mutual aid organizations. They were verysimple in form: an initiation fee of small amount was required,and small regular payments; in case of sickness, a weekly stipendwas paid, and in case of death the members were assessedto pay for the funeral and help the widow. Confined to a fewmembers, all personally known to each other, such societies weresuccessful from the beginning. We hear of them in the eighteenthcentury, and by 1838 there were 100 such small groups, with 7448members, in the city. They paid in $18,851, gave $14,172 inbenefits, and had $10,093 on hand. Ten years later about eightthousand members belonged to 106 such societies. Seventy-six ofthese had a total membership of 5187. They contributed usually 25cents to 37 1/2 cents a month; the sick received $1.50 to $3.00 aweek, and death benefits of $10.00 to $20.00 were allowed. Theincome of these seventy-six societies was $16,814.23; 681families were assisted.20

These societies have since been superceded to some extent byother organizations; they are still so numerous, however, that itis impractical to catalogue all of them; there are probablyseveral hundred of various kinds in the city.

To these were early added the secret societies, whichnaturally had great attraction for Negroes. A Boston lodge ofblack Masons received a charter direct from England, andindependent orders of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, etc., grewup. During the time that Negroes were shut out of the publiclibraries there were many literary associations with libraries.These have now disappeared. Outside the churches the mostimportant organizations among Negroes to-day are: Secretsocieties, beneficial societies, insurance societies, cemeteries,building and loan associations, labor unions, homes of varioussorts and political clubs. The most powerful and flourishingsecret order is that of the Odd Fellows, which has two hundredthousand rnembers among American Negroes. In Philadelphia thereare 19 lodges with a total membership of 1188, and $46,000 worthof property. Detailed statistics are in the next table: 21

 

This order owns two halls in the city worth perhaps $40,000.One is occupied by the officers of the Grand Lodge, which employsseveral salaried officials and clerks. The order conducts anewspaper called the Odd Fellows' Journal.

There are 19 lodges of Masons in the city, 6 chapters, 5commanderies, 3 of the Scottish Rite, and 1 drill corp. TheMasons are not so well organized and conducted as the OddFellows, and detailed statistics of their lodges are notavailable. They own two halls worth at least $50,000, andprobably distribute not less than $3000 to $4000 annually inbenefits.

Beside these chief secret orders there are numerous others,such as the American Protestant Association, which has manymembers, the Knights of Pythias, the Galilean Fishermen, thevarious female orders attached to these, and a number of others.It is almost impossible to get accurate statistics of allthese orders, and any estimate of their economic activity isliable to considerable error. However, from general observationand the available figures, it seems fairly certain that at leastfour thousand Negroes belong to secret orders, and that theseorders annually collect at least $25,000, part of which is paidout in sick and death benefits, and part invested. The realestate, personal property and funds of these orders amount to noless than $125,000,

The function of the secret society is partly socialintercourse and partly insurance. They furnish pastime from themonotony of work, a field for ambition and intrigue, a chance forparade, and insurance against misfortune. Next to the church theyare the most popular organizations among Negroes.

Of the beneficial societies we have already spoken in general.A detailed account of a few of the larger and more typicalorganizations will now suffice. The Quaker City Association is asick and death benefit society, seven years old, which confinesits membership to native Philadelphians. It has 280 members anddistributes $1400 to $1500 annually. The Sons and Daughters ofDelaware is over fifty years old. It has 106 members, and owns$3000 worth of real estate. The Fraternal Association was foundedin 1861; it has 86 members, and distributes about $300 ayear. It "was formed for the purpose of relieving the wantsand distresses of each other in the time of affliction anddeath, and for the furtherance of such benevolent views andobjects as would tend to establish and maintain a permanent andfriendly intercourse among them in their social relations inlife." The Sons of St. Thomas was founded in 1823 and wasoriginally confined to members of St. Thomas' Church. It wasformerly a large organization, but now has 80 members, and paidout in 1896, $416 in relief. It has $1500 invested in governmentbonds. In addition to these there is the Old Men's Association,the Female Cox Association, the Sons and Daughters of Moses, anda large number of other small societies.

There is arising also a considerable number of insurancesocieties, differing from the beneficial in being conducted bydirectors. The best of these are the Crucifixion connected withthe Church of the Crucifixion, and the Avery, connected withWesley A. M. E. Z. Church; both have a large membership and arewell conducted. Nearly every church is beginning to organize oneor more such societies, some of which in times past have metdisaster by bad management. The True Reformers of Virginia, themost remarkable Negro beneficial organization yet started, hasseveral branches here. Beside these there are numberless minorsocieties, as the Alpha Relief, Knights and Ladies of St. Paul,the National Co-operative Society, Colored Women's ProtectiveAssociation, Loyal Beneficial, etc. Some of these are honestefforts and some are swindling imitations of the pernicious whitepetty insurance societies.

There are three building and loan associations conducted byNegroes. Some of the directors in one are white, all the othersare colored. The oldest association is the Century, establishedOctober 26, 1886. Its board of directors is composed of teachers,upholsterers, clerks, restaurant keepers and undertakers, and ithas had marked success. Its income for 1897 was about $7000. Ithas $25,000 in loans outstanding.

The Berean Building and Loan Association was established in1888 in connection with Berean Presbyterian Church; 13 of the 19officers and directors are colored. Its income for 1896 wasnearly $30,000, and it had $60,000 in loans; 43 homes have beenbought through this association.22

The Pioneer Association is composed entirely of Negroes, thedirectors being caterers, merchants and upholsterers. It wasfounded in 1888 and has an office on Pine street. Its receipts in1897 were $9000, and it had about $20,000 in loans. Nine homesare at present being bought in this association.

There are arising some loan associations to replace thepawn-shops and usurers to some extent. The Small LoanAssociation, for instance, was founded in 1891, and has thefollowing report for 1898:

Shares sold $1144.00
Assessments on shares 114.40
Repaid loans 4537.50
Interest 417.06
Cash in treasury 275.54
Dividends paid 222.67
Loans made 4626.75
Expenses 82.02

 

The Conservative is a similar organization, consisting of tenmembers.

This account has attempted to touch only the chief andcharacteristic organizations, and makes no pretensions tocompleteness. It shows, however, how intimately bound togetherthe Negroes of Philadelphia are. These associations are largelyexperiments, and as such, are continually reaching out to newfields. The latest ventures are toward labor unions, co-operativestores and newspapers. There are the following labor unions,among others: The Caterers Club, the Private Waiters'Association, the Coachmen's Association, the Hotel Brotherhood(of waiters), the Cigarmakers' Union (white and colored), theHod-Carriers' Union, the Barbers' Union, etc.

Of the Caterers' Club we have already heard.23 ThePrivate Waiters' Association is an old beneficial order withwell-to-do members. The private waiter is really a skilledworkman of high order, and used to be well paid. Next to theguild of caterers he ranked as high as any class of Negro workmenbefore the war--indeed the caterer was but a privatewaiter further developed. Consequently this labor union is stilljealous and exclusive and contains some members longretired from active work. The Coachmen's Association is a similarsociety; both these organizations have a considerable membership,and make sick and death benefits and social gatherings a feature.The Hotel Brotherhood is a new society of hotel waiters and isconducted by young men on the lines of the regular trades unions,with which it is more or less affiliated in many cities.It has some relief features and considerable social life. Itstrives to open and keep open work for colored waiters andoften arranges to divide territory with whites, or toprevent one set from supplanting the other. The Cigar-makers'Union is a regular trades union with both white and Negro members.It is the only union in Philadelphia where Negroes are largelyrepresented. No friction is apparent. The Hod-Carriers' Union islarge and of considerable age but does not seem to be veryactive. A League of Colored Mechanics was formed in 1897 but didnot accomplish anything. There was before the war a league ofthis sort which flourished, and there undoubtedly will beattempts of this sort in the future until a union is effected.24

The two co-operative grocery stores, and the caterers' supplystore have been mentioned.25 There was a dubiousattempt in 1896 to organize a co-operative tin-ware store whichhas not yet been successful.26

With all this effort and movement it is natural that theNegroes should want some means of communication. This they havein the following periodicals conducted wholly by Negroes:

A. M. E. Church Review, quarterly, 8vo, aboutninety-five pages.

Christian Recorder, eight-page weekly newspaper.(Both these are organs of the A. M. E. Church.)

Baptist Christian Banner, four-page weeklynewspaper. (Organ of the Baptists.)

Odd Fellows' Journal, eight-page weekly newspaper. (Organof Odd Fellows.)

Weekly Tribune, eight-page weekly newspaper, seventeenyears established.

The Astonisher, eight-page weekly newspaper(Germantown).

The Standard-Echo, four page weekly newspaper (sincesuspended).

The Tribune is the chief news sheet and is filledgenerally with social notes of all kinds, and news ofmovements among Negroes over the country. Its editorialsare usually of little value chiefly because it does notemploy a responsible editor. It is in many ways however aninteresting paper and represents pluck and perseverance on thepart of its publisher. The Astonisher and Standard Echoare news sheets. The first is bright but crude. The Recorder,Banner and Journal are chiefly filled with columns ofheavy church and lodge news. The Review has had aninteresting history and is probably the best Negro periodical ofthe sort published; it is often weighted down by the requirementsof church politics, and compelled to publish some trash writtenby aspiring candidates for office; but with all this it has muchsolid matter and indicates the trend of thought among Negroes tosome extent. It has greatly improved in the last few years. ManyNegro newspapers from other cities circulate here and widen thefeeling of community among the colored people of the city.

One other kind of organization has not yet been mentioned, thepolitical clubs, of which there are probably fifty in the city.They will be considered in another chapter.

35. Institutions.--The chief Negroinstitutions of the city are: The Home for Aged and InfirmedColored Persons, the Douglass Hospital and Training School, theWoman's Exchange and Girls' Home, three cemetery companies, theHome for the Homeless, the special schools, as the Institute forColored Youth, the House of Industry, Raspberry street schoolsand Jones's school for girls, the Y. M. C. A., and UniversityExtension Centre.

The Home for the Aged, situated at the corner of Girard andBelmont avenues, was founded by a Negro lumber merchant, StevenSmith, and is conducted by whites and Negroes. It is one of thebest institutions of the kind; its property is valued at$400,000, and it has an annual income of $20,000. It hassheltered 558 old people since its foundation in 1864.

The Douglass Memorial Hospital and Training School is acurious example of the difficult position of Negroes: for yearsnearly every hospital in Philadelphia has sought to exclude Negrowomen from the course in nurse-training, and no Negro physiciancould have the advantage of hospital practice. This led to amovement for a Negro hospital; such a movement however wascondemned by the whites as an unnecessary addition to abewildering number of charitable institutions; by many of thebest Negroes as a concession to prejudice and a drawing of thecolor line. Nevertheless the promoters insisted that colorednurses were efficient and needed training, that coloredphysicians needed a hospital, and that colored patients wishedone. Consequently the Douglass Hospital has been established andits success seems to warrant the effort.27

The total income for the year 1895-96 was $4,656.31; sixty-onepatients were treated during the year, and thirty-two operationsperformed; 987 out-patients were treated. The first class ofnurses was graduated in 1897.

The Woman's Exchange and Girls' Home is conducted by theprincipal of the Institute for Colored Youth at 756 South Twelfthstreet. The exchange is open at stated times during the week, andvarious articles are on sale. Cheap lodging and board isfurnished for a few school girls and working girls. So far thework of the exchange has been limited but it is slowlygrowing, and is certainly a most deserving venture.28

The exclusion of Negroes from cemeteries has, as beforementioned, led to the organization of three cemetery companies,two of which are nearly fifty years old. The Olive holdseight acres of property in the Twenty-fourth Ward, claimed to beworth $100,000. It has 900 lot owners; the Lebanon holds land inthe Thirty-sixth Ward, worth at least $75,000. The Merion is anew company which owns twenty-one acres in Montgomery County,worth perhaps $30,000. These companies are in the mainwell-conducted, although the affairs of one are just now somewhatentangled.

The Home for the Homeless is a refuge and home for the agedconnected with the Church of the Crucifixion. It is supportedlargely by whites but not entirely. It has an income of about$500. During 1896, 1108 lodgings were furnished to ninety women,8384 meals given to inmates, 2705 to temporary lodgers, 2078 totransients, and 812 to invalids.

The schools have all been mentioned before. The Young Men'sChristian Association has had a checkered history, chiefly as itwould seem from the wrong policy pursued; there is in the city agrave and dangerous lack of proper places of amusement andrecreation for young men. To fill this need a properly conductedYoung Men's Christian Association, with books and newspapers,baths, bowling alleys and billiard tables, conversation rooms andshort, interesting religious services is demanded; it would costfar less than it now costs the courts to punish the pettymisdemeanors of young men who do not know how to amusethemselves. Instead of such an institution however the Colored Y.M. C. A. has been virtually an attempt to add another church tothe numberless colored churches of the city, with endlessprayer-meetings and loud gospel hymns, in dingy and uninvitingquarters. Consequently the institution is now temporarilysuspended. It had accomplished some good work by its nightschools, and social meetings.

Since the organization of the Bainbridge Street UniversityExtension Centre, May 10, 1895, lectures have been delivered atthe Church of the Crucifixion, Eighth and Bainbridge streets, byRev. W. Hudson Shaw, on English History; by Thomas WhitneySurette, on the Development of Music; by Henry W. Elson, onAmerican History, and by Hilaire Belloc, on Napoleon. Each ofthese lecturers, except Mr. Belloc, has given a course of sixlectures on the subject stated, and classes have been held inconnection with each course. The attendance has been above theaverage as compared with other Centres in the City.

Beside these efforts there are various embryonic institutions:A day nursery in the Seventh Ward by the Woman's MissionarySociety, a large organization which does much charitable work; anindustrial school near the city, etc. There are, too, manyinstitutions conducted by whites for the benefit of Negroes,which will be mentioned in another place.

Much of the need for separate Negro institutions has in thelast decade disappeared, by reason of the opening of the doors ofthe public institutions to colored people. There are many Negroeswho on this account strongly oppose efforts which they fear willtend to delay further progress in these lines. On the other hand,thoughtful men see that invaluable training and discipline iscoming to the race through these institutions and organizations,and they encourage the formation of them.

36. The Experiment of Organization.--Lookingback over the field which we have thus reviewed--the churches,societies, unions, attempts at business co-operation,institutions and newspapers--it is apparent that the largest hopefor the ultimate rise of the Negro lies in this mastery of theart of social organized life. To be sure, compared with hisneighbors, he has as yet advanced but a short distance; we areapt to condemn this lack of unity, the absence of carefullyplanned and laboriously executed effort among these people, as avoluntary omission--a bit of carelessness. It is far more thanthis, it is lack of social education, of group training, and thelack can only be supplied by a long, slow process of growth. Andthe chief value of the organizations studied is that they areevidences of growth. Of actual accomplishment they have, to besure, something to show, but nothing to boast ofinordinately. The churches are far from ideal associations forfostering the higher life--rather they combine too oftenintrigue, extravagance and show, with all their work, savingand charity; their secret societies are often diverted from theirbetter ends by scheming and dishonest officers, and by thetemptation of tinsel and braggadocio; their beneficialassociations, along with all their good work, have an unenviablerecord of business inefficiency and internal dissension. And yetall these and the other agencies have accomplished much, andtheir greatest accomplishment is stimulation of effort to furtherand more effective organization among a disorganized andheadless host. All this world of co-operation and subordinationinto which the white child is in most cases born is, we must notforget, new to the slave's sons. They have been compelled toorganize before they knew the meaning of organization; toco-operate with those of their fellows to whom co-operation wasan unknown term; to fix and fasten ideas of leadership andauthority among those who had always looked to others forguidance and command. For these reasons the present efforts ofNegroes in working together along various lines are peculiarlypromising for the future of both races.

ENDNOTES:

1 Cf. Chapter III.

2 St. Thomas', Bethel and Zoar. The history of Zoaris of interest. It "extends over a period of one hundredyears, being as it is an offspring of St. George's Church, Fourthand Vine streets, the first Methodist Episcopal church to beestablished in this country, and in whose edifice the firstAmerican Conference of that denomination was held. Zoar Churchhad its origin in 1794, when members of St. George's Churchestablished a mission in what was then known as Campingtown, nowknown as Fourth and Brown streets, at which place its firstchapel was built. There it remained until 1883, when economic andsociological causes made necessary the selection of a new site.The city had grown, and industries of a character in which theNegroes were not interested had developed in the neighborhood,and, as the colored people were rapidly moving to a differentsection of the city, it was decided that the church shouldfollow, and the old building was sold. Through the liberality ofColonel Joseph M. Bennett a brick building was erected on Melonstreet, above Twelfth.

"Since then the congregation has steadily increased innumbers, until in August of this year it was found necessary toenlagre the edifice. The corner-stone of the new front was laidtwo months ago. The present membership of the church is about550." --Public Ledger, November 15, 1897.

3 See Douglass' "Annals of St. Thomas'."

4 It was then turned into a private school andsupported largely by an English educational fund.

5 St. Thomas' has suffered often among Negroes fromthe opprobrium of being "aristocratic," and is to-dayby no means a popular church among the masses. Perhaps there issome justice in this charge, but the church has neverthelessalways been foremost in good work and has many public spiritedNegroes on its rolls.

6 Cf. U.S. Census, Statistics of Churches, 1890.

7 In 1809 the leading Negro churches formed a"Society for Suppressing Vice and Immorality," whichreceived the endorsement of Chief Justice Tilghman, BenjaminFranklin, Jacob Rush, and others.

8 "Condition of Negroes, 1838," pp.39-40.

9 Cf. Robert Jones' "Fifty years in CentralChurch." John Gloucester began preaching in 1807 at Seventhand Bainbridge.

10 In 1847 there were 19 churches; 12 of these had3974 members; 11 of the edifices cost $67,000. "StatisticalInquiry," 1848, pp. 29-30.

In 1854 there were 19 churches reported and 1677 Sunday-schoolscholars. Bacon, 1856.

11 See Inquiry of 1867.

12 Cf. Publications of Atlanta University No. 3,"Efforts of American Negroes for Social Betterment."

13 An account of the present state of the A. M. E.Church from its own lips is interesting, in spite of its somewhatturgid rhetoric The following is taken fronu the minutes ofPhiladelphia Conference, 1897:

REPORT ON STATE OF THE CHURCH.

"To the Bishop and Conference: We your Committee on Stateof the Church beg leave to submit the following:

"Every truly devoted African Methodist is intenselyinterested in the condition of the church that was handed down tous as a precious heirloom from the hands of a God-fearing,self-sacrificing ancestry; the church that Allen planted inPhiladelphia, a little over a century ago has enjoyed a marvelousdevelopment. Its grand march through the procession of a hundredyears has been characterized by a series of brilliant successes,completely refuting the foul calumnies cast against it andovercoming every obstacle that endeavored to impede its onwardmarch, giving the strongest evidence that God was in themidst of her; she should not be moved.

"From the humble beginnings in the little blacksmithshop, at Sixth and Lombard streets, Philadelphia, the Connectionhas grown until we have now fifty-five annual conferences, besidemission fields, with over four thousand churches, the same numberof itinerant preachers, near six hundred thousand communicants,one and a half million adherents, with six regularly organizedand well-manned departments, each doing a magnificent work alongspecial lines, the whole under the immediate supervision ofeleven bishops, each with a marked individuality and all laboringtogether for the further development and perpetuity of thechurch. In this the Mother Conference of the Connection, we haveevery reason to be grateful to Almighty God for the signalblessings He has so graciously poured out upon us. The spiritualbenedictions have been many. In response to earnest effort andfaithful prayers by both pastors and congregations, nearly twothousand persons have professed faith in Christ, during thisconference year. Five thousand dollars have been given by themembership and friends of the Connectional interests to carry onthe machinery of the church, besides liberal contributions forthe cause of missions, education, the Sunday-school Union andChurch Extension Departments, and beside all this, the presidingelder and pastors have been made to feel that the people areperfectly willing to do what they can to maintain the preachingof the word, that tends to elevate mankind and glorify God.

"The local interests have not been neglected; newchurches have been built, parsonages erected, church mortgageshave been reduced, auxiliary societies to give everybody in thechurch a chance to work for God and humanity, have been moreextensively organized than ever before.

"The danger signal that we see here and there croppingout, which is calculated to bring discredit upon the Church ofChrist, is the unholy ambition for place and power. The meansofttimes used to bring about the desired results, cause the blushof shame to tinge the brow of Christian manhood. God always hasand always will select those He designs to use as the leaders ofhis Church.

"Political methods that are in too matty instancesresorted to, are contrary to the teaching and spirit of theGospel of Christ. Fitness and sobriety will always be found inthe lead.

"Through mistaken sympathy we find that severalincompetent men have found their way into the ministerial ranks;men who can neither manage the financial nor spiritual interestsof any church or bring success along any line, who arecontinuously on the wing from one conference to the other.The time has come when the strictest scrutiny must be exercisedas to purpose and fitness of candidates, and if admitted andfound to be continuous failures, Christian charity demands thatthey be given an opportunity to seek a calling where they canmake more success than in the ministry. These danger signals thatflash up now and then must be observed and everything contrary tothe teachings of God's word and the spirit of the disciplineweeded out. The church owes a debt of gratitude to the fatherswho have always remained loyal and true; who labored persistentlyand well for the upbuilding of the connection, that they cannever repay.

"Particular care should be taken that no honorable agedminister of our great Church should be allowed to suffer for thenecessaries of life. We especially commend to the considerationof every minister the Ministers' Aid Association, which is nowalmost ready to be organized, the object of which is to helpassuage the grief and dry the tears of those who have beenleft widowed and fatherless.

"Our Publication Department is making heroic efforts forthe larger circulation of our denominational papers audliterature generally. These efforts ought to be, and mustneeds be heartily seconded by the Church. Lord Bacon says:'Talking makes a ready man, writing an exact man, but readingmakes a full man.' We want our people at large to be brimful ofinformation relative to the growth of the cllurch, the progressof the race, the upbuilding of humanity and the glory of God.

"Our missionary work must not be allowed to retrograde.The banner that Allen raised must not be allowed to trail butmust go forward until the swarthy sons of Ham everywhere shallgaze with a longing and loving look upon the escutcheon that hasemblazoned on it, as its motto: 'The Fatherhood of God and theBrotherhood of man,' and the glorious truth flashing over thewhole world that Jesus Christ died to redeem the universal familyof mankind. Disasters and misfortunes may come to us, but strongmen never quail before adversities. The clouds of to-daymay be succeeded by the sunshine of to-morrow."

14 Cf., e.g., the account of the foundingof new missions in the minutes of the Philadelphia Conference,1896.

15 Baptists themselves recognize this. One of thespeakers in a recent association meeting, as reported by thepress, "deprecated the spirit shown by some churches inspreading their differences to their detriment as church members,and in the eyes of their white brethren; and he recommended thatunworthy brethren from other States, who sought an asylum of resthere, be not admitted to local pulpits except in cases where theministers so applying are personally known or vouched for by aresident pastor. The custom of recognizing as preachers menincapable of doing good work in the pulpit, who were ordained inthe South after they had failed in the North, was alsocondemned, and the President declared that the times demand aministry that is able to preach. The practice of licensingincapable brethren for the ministry, simply to please them, wasalso looked upon with disfavor, and it was recommended thatapplicants for ordination be required to show at least ability toread intelligently the Word of God or a hymn."

16 One movement deserves notice--the Woman'sAuxiliary Society. It consists of five circles, representing alike number of colored Baptist churches in this city, viz., theCherry Street, Holy Trinity, Union, Nicetown and Germantown, anddoes general missionary work.

17 See, Jones' "Fifty Years in Central StreetChurch," etc. The system and order in this church isremarkable. Each year a careful printed report of receipts andexpenditures is made. The following is an abstract of thereport for 1891:

Receipts.

Finance Committee $977.39  
Pew Rents 709.75  
Legacy 760.77  
Other Receipts 329.54 $2777. 45

 

Expenditures.

Pastor's Salary $1000.00  
Other Salaries 476.00  
Repayment of Loan 409.00  
Interest on Mortgage 60.96  
Donations to General Church 31.57  
General Expenses, etc 759.23 $2736.76

Balance

  $40.69

18 For history and detailed account of this worksee Anderson's "Presbyterianism and the Negro."

19 Rev. Charles Daniel, in the Nazarene,The writer hardly does justice to the weird witchery of thosehymns sung thus rudely.

20 Cf. report of inquiries in above years.

21 From Report of Fourth Annual Meeting of theDistrict Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, G. U. of 0. F., 1896.

22 This association has issued a valuable littlepamphlet called "Helpful Hints on Home," whichit distributes. This explains the object and methods of buildingand loan associations.

23 See supra, p. 119 ff.

24 The College Settlement was interested in thisorganization, but the movement was evidently premature.

25 See supra, p. 117 and p. 119.

26 An interesting advertisement of this venture isappended; it is a curious mixture of business, exhortation andsimplicity. The present state of the enterprise is not known:

"NOTICE TO ALL.

"WE CALL YOUR ATTENTION

"TO THIS WORK.

"THE UNION TIN-WARE MANUFACTURING CO

"Is now at work, chartered under the laws of the Statesof New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

"The purpose of said Company is to manufacture everythingin the TIN-WARE LINE that the law allows, and to sell stock allover the United States of America; and put in members enough inevery city to open a Union Tin-Ware Store, and if the promoterfinds that he has not enough members in a city to open a Tin-WareStore, then he shall open it with money from the factory. SHARESare $10.00, they can be paid on installment plan; and you do nothave any monthly dues to pay, but on the 20th of every Decemberor whenever the Stockholders appoint the time, the dividend willbe declared.

"We will make this one of the grandest organizations everwitnessed by the Race, if you lend us your aid. This Store willcontain Groceries, Dry Goods and Tin-Ware, and you can do yourdealing at your own store. This factory will give you work, andlearn you a trade."

27 Since the opening of the hospital colored nurseshave had less trouble in white institutions, and onecolored physician has been appointed intern in a large hospital.Dr. N. F. Mossell was chiefly instrumental in founding theDouglass Hospital.

28 In connection with this work, Bethel Churchoften holds small receptions for servant girls on theirdays off, when refreshments are served and a pleasant time isspent. The following is a note of a similar enterprise at anotherchurch: "The members of the Berean Union have opened a 'Y'parlor, where young colored girls employed as domestics can spendtheir Thursday afternoon both pleasantly and profitably. Theparlor is open from 4 until 10 p. m., every Thursday, and membersof the Union are present to welcome them. A light supper isserved for ten cents. The evening is spent in literary exercisesand social talk. The parlor is in the Berean Church, SouthCollege avenue, near Twentieth street."

 

From W.E.B. DuBois, The PhiladelphiaNegro. New York: Lippincott, 1899, Chapter XII, pp. 197-234.


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