Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Ms 7, 1896

The Treatment of the Colored Race


February 3, 1896

Formerly Undated Ms 7. This manuscript is published in entirety in 4MR 8-9 with 2SM 343.

How little of the spirit of Christ has been manifested in the treatment given to the colored race in this so-called Christian country. The Negro’s color, the features that tell of his African descent, are a badge of humiliation to the whole race, because of the prejudice of the white people against them. They are often treated as if it were a disgrace to sit by their side, or even to worship in the same congregation. There is a large class with white blood in their veins, and bearing in their faces only the slightest trace of African descent, whose lives are embittered by the prejudice against them, being stigmatized as unworthy to associate with the whites, even in the worship of God. 11LtMs, Ms 7, 1896, par. 1

It is a shame for Christians who profess to be themselves redeemed by the blood of the Lamb to take a position to make these men feel that the mark of a humiliated race is upon them—men standing in God’s broad sunlight with mind and soul like other men, with as goodly a frame as has the best developed white man. There are keenly sensitive minds that brood long and intensely over the oppressions suffered, and the slights they are made to feel. Many become jealous, soured, embittered, because of these prejudices, which make them feel every day that they are not like other men, not entitled even to worship God except in a prescribed manner. Even commiseration is humiliating, because it calls the sensitive mind to the misfortune that excites pity. 11LtMs, Ms 7, 1896, par. 2

Many who are not subdued and elevated and made strong in the love of the one Saviour, curse their fate, and curse the white man, and almost blaspheme God who made them. <This need not be. They cannot help their color.> Cannot the children of God see that in conceding to the prejudice against the color of race, they are giving their influence to sanction a long course of neglect, of insult, of oppression? Will not the Lord call those to account who have had a part in this work? 11LtMs, Ms 7, 1896, par. 3

Is not it time for us to live so fully in the light of God’s countenance, we who receive so many favors from Him, that we may know how to treat those less favored, not working from the world’s standpoint, but from the Bible standpoint? Is it not right in this line that Christian effort is most needed? Is it not here that our influence should be brought to bear against the prevailing customs and practices of the world? Should not it be the work of the white people to elevate the standard of character among the colored race, to teach them how Christians should live, by exemplifying the spirit of Christ, showing that we are one brotherhood. 11LtMs, Ms 7, 1896, par. 4

No matter what the gain or the loss, we must act nobly and courageously in the sight of God and our Saviour. Let us as Christians who accept the principle that all men, white and black, are free and equal, adhere to this principle, and not be cowards in the face of the world, and in the face of the heavenly intelligences. We should treat the colored man just as respectfully as we would treat the white man. And we can now, by precept and example, win others to this course. 11LtMs, Ms 7, 1896, par. 5

But there is an objection to the marriage to the white race with the black. All should consider that they have no right to entail upon their offspring that which will place them at a disadvantage; they have no right to give them as a birthright a condition which would subject them to a life of humiliation. The children of these mixed marriages have a feeling of bitterness toward the parents who have given them this lifelong inheritance. For this reason, if there were no other, there should be no intermarriage between the white and the colored race. 11LtMs, Ms 7, 1896, par. 6