by Andre E. Johnson
Director: The Henry McNeal Turner Project

I discovered Henry McNeal Turner by accident. While starting a seminar class in rhetorical criticism and trying to hone in on a dissertation topic, I ran across a speech delivered by Turner. He delivered the speech on the floor of the Georgia House of Representatives as the House debated whether African Americans could hold office in the state of Georgia. I remember reading the speech and wondering if anyone had studied Turner’s rhetoric.

However, there was a problem. Since Turner lived during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was my belief that texts to study Turner would be difficult to find. Turner, like many of his contemporaries during this time, spoke extemporaneously—not from notes or prepared texts. Moreover, unlike many other speakers during this time, Turner did not travel with a stenographer—or someone who could have written what Turner said for later publication. Going into my project, I only hoped there were enough texts to do a solid dissertation.

Imagine my surprise though when I found that Turner was one of the most prolific writers and speakers during his time and that much of his writings were not lost to history. Turner published copious amounts of material for the newspapers, magazines, and journals of his day. Turner lectured throughout the country and wrote extensively on his travels to Africa. In short, many would consider Turner a public intellectual in today’s definition of the term.

Sadly, many today have not heard of Turner. Indeed, it is as if Turner has been lost to history. I found myself always explaining to people who Turner was and why I thought, at least, he was so important. This is why this site exists. It is our intent to recover a lost voice within American and African American history. Henry McNeal Turner deserves recognition and it is our fervent hope that this site begins to serve that purpose.

Bishop Turner Replies to Some Charges Made Against Him: March 8, 1892

Bishop Turner Replies to Some Charges Made Against Him
Atlanta Constitution: March 8, 1892

“In The Constitution today,” he said yesterday, “I am charged with being the principal agent who has thrown upon the charitable institutions of New York two parties or gangs of would-be colored emigrants, who are endeavoring to get to Africa. I have noticed several charges to this effect in your paper and others. Up to the present time, however, I gave them no notice. I know they were all mistaken, and I was charitable enough to believe that it was not done intentionally. But I feel now that I ought to make some reply in order that my position may be clearly known.

It is true that I left here the first of last fall on a trip to the continent of Africa, which place I succeeded in reaching; traveled 1,800 miles along the African coast and went eighty miles back into the interior, from one point, and nearly fifty miles from another. I mingled with the civilized and what is called the heathen African, very extensively, and I did write up my observations and the scenes which presented themselves to me. My writings consisted of fourteen lengthy letters, published in our two church organs, and copied quite liberally by the colored press, and frequently referred to by the white papers. The question that seems to be disturbing the public peace is, did I go as an agent of the colonization society or did I go as an agitator of the repatriation of the Negro to Africa or did I go to spy out the land and return, and, like a second Joshua or Caleb, report the results of my investigations? Permit me to say to all concerned, that while I am as certain as of my existence that the black man, who is a man, will sooner or later return to Africa; and that it is the will and purpose of God that he shall do so, and that no power on earth can contravene it, I care not what men may do, write or say, yet I did not visit Africa with any view of accelerating this inexorable providential ultimatum.

I have eagerly desired to visit Africa for nearly twenty years, but my wife’s objections and tears prevented me; but when she went to heaven a few years ago I resolved to gratify this long-cherished wish, and, while endeavoring to find spare time to make the trip, the bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal church, of which I am a feeble member, in their annual council at Jacksonville, Fla., appointed me to visit Africa and look after our mission work upon that continent. In compliance with this episcopal order I went to Africa, visited a number of our mission stations, organized two annual conferences, ordained nineteen preachers to the sacred ministry, assigned them to their fields of labor, and, in the meantime, took observations of the country. When my contemplated trip to Africa because somewhat known, some of the leading papers of the country offered me hundreds of dollars to become their correspondent and write up my travels and observations for their columns, and I resolved to accept a five-hundred-dollar proposition at one time; but finally, becoming apprehensive that something I might write would likely be contorted into a misrepresentation and create an unnecessary babble, I declined every proffer and concluded to correspond with our church papers only.

Now, how any person can charge me or my letters with creating the excitement which has caused hundreds of colored men and women to collect in New York is an inexplicable problem. While I am an African repatriationist, because I believe God himself sanctions it, I will, nevertheless, give any man a hundred dollars if he will point out one paragraph, sentence or phrase in any of the fourteen letters I wrote in Africa, and which have been published in this country, where I have advised any living man or woman to leave this country and go to Africa; for I was careful in all my letters to avoid that particular point, as I knew my opinions were well known, and many fossiliferous thinkers in my church were bitterly opposed to them. But I did narrate my observations. I did write about the cities, towns, villages, houses, huts, churches, dress, fruits, cattle, birds, habits of the people, mountains, valleys, rivers, minerals, climate, schools, both along the coast and back in the interior, with some delineations. And I did say, and still say, that after traveling over three continents, I had seen no section of the globe to compare with Africa. I did say, it is the future paradise of the world and that any negro who would go to Africa and return here and vilify the country is a scullion of the lowest order. Nevertheless I said, and still do, that Africa is no place now for the improvident portion of the colored race. Black men going to Africa need a few hundred dollars upon their arrival, common sense, business tact, and a large amount of self-reliance. The class of people who have turned up in New York, if I have been correctly informed, is about the last portion of my race I would have advised to go to Africa. Africa is the easiest place to live under heaven if you have a few hundred dollars to start with; but it is a hard place for a pauper, whatever be his color.

If the colored people huddled in New York became allured with my African letters, and formed a band of mendicants to menace the charitable institutions there, it is traceable to their ignorance and not to my folly.

If my African emigration passion was so intense, I could get thousands of dollars a year from a steamship company on the other side of the Atlantic to collect emigrants at Charleston, Savannah or New Orleans, but I have refused the offer, and would do so again. Yet I do yearn for a line of steamships between here and Africa, so that black and white could go and come at their pleasure. If Europe can keep 172 steamships hugging the coast of Africa the year round, and reaping hundreds of millions of dollars by it, the United States might keep two steamships running at last, and allow the black man, who is able to pay his way, to go and come at his pleasure. If my race had decent, practical sense, they would band together and appropriate some of the money they spend at those liquor brothels and purchase a few steamships and engage in African traffic, which would make colored millionaires in a few years.

I beg to say to the people of New York, as they have that herd of colored people on their hands, they had just as well open their pockets and send them on to Africa as to be wasting time talking about them, for this nation has got to come to it sooner or later, and the sooner congress opens its eyes to its duty. In this connection the sooner peace and quiet will come to this nation.

This country can no more smother this unrest of the black man, which is the product of Divine Providence, than it can smother the fires of Vesuvius. The sooner the manipulators and manufacturers of public sentiment awake be solved and God’s plans be put into execution.

White people by the hundreds are pouring into Africa, woman and men. I saw white ladies from the United States teaching schools nearly a hundred miles in the interior, looking well and pleased with their work, and if white ladies can go there and spend years and some lifetime teaching and enlightening the heathen African, why cannot the descendants of Africa go? You advise the colored people to remain here where they can be brought in contact with their white neighbors and friends, but they need not remain simply for that, as they will find scores and hundreds of white people in Africa. Nearly every English ship going there is carrying them from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and Kansas, and they will fight a white lady, forty miles in the interior, from Baton Rouge, La., at the head of an excellent school.

The only fear I have is that the white people are going to take Africa away from us; for all this talk about white people being unable to live in Africa is bosh.

Now, while my opinions have been known for a long time and have been severely criticized by a portion of the colored press of the country, no one can point to a living man or woman that I have advised to go to Africa. “But they are going all the same.”

Second Anniversary in Heaven: July 30, 1891

Second Anniversary in Heaven
Christian Recorder: July 30, 1891

I am at home to-day to celebrate the Second anniversary of my wife’s entrance into the heavenly land, by spending it in fasting and prayer, as I now expect to do, till we meet or part eternally beyond the chilly Jordan of death.

Although two years have expired since I stood horror seized, and saw her sweet and precious life ebb out and depart, although one hundred and twenty million souls have departed this life since my earthly dearest breathed her last, I bless God for a heart tender enough to feel all of the emotion of the sad event, with the same sensibility, and even susceptibility which then made earth a dismal scene and life a dolorous panorama.

At this hour, six o’clock a.m., two years ago, all that was mortal of my balance wheel of life, God’s precious pendulum to man, breathed her last, plumed her pinions and mounted the spheres celestial, there to dwell with the Prince of Peace while eternity rolls her infinite cycles by her everlasting clock ticking years by billions and striking countless ages by eons.

As I sit here by my office table, near the spot in an adjacent room where my jeweled wife succumbed to monster death, deep and solemn reflections gather every fiber of my heart, and the dread drama presents afresh all of the realizations of that memorable, but doleful hour.

Thank God for tears. Had it not been for tears, my heart would have busted a thousand times and shattered this body into fragments, as though it had been struck by a bolt from the magazine of all the garnered force of nature. These oft-shed tears may indicate a weakness that amounts to puerility, but they have been sweeter to me than honey, yea, than the honey comb. They may be in part a retribution also,--for no man has been more hard hearted in the presence of death than myself. I have stood by the opened tombs or graves a score of times, while the dear ones of others were being let down into the silent vaults, and as mothers, wives and children would vent the agonies of their souls in lamentations and screams. I have stood there as heartless as a bronze statue, looked on with disgust, and have even said, if I had a good whip and a chance at some of their backs I would give them something to cry for. My dissecting room experience, and my war experience with the dead and dying, literally extracted the last vestige of death sympathy from my nature. So petrific had I become in this respect that all exclamations of grief when I was preaching a funeral or reading the burial service, was a down right insult, or an uncivil interference with my vested prerogatives, and had I been privileged, in many instances, I would have had such persons removed as offensive nuisances. But oh my God, how changed the scene; what a revelation in this stubborn, obstinate and even contumacious mental contexture. Now bring on your tears, let them come by gallons. Do you want company? If so speak, and I will join the band. You need offer me no pay, as some of the heathens do; I can give you tears without money and without price. Never will I chide the loved ones again for dropping the crystal tear for those who have assisted them in the battles of life, but I will rather lend a helping hand.

The thought of dear ones there, sweetens heaven itself.

What would be the pearly gates, the jasper walls, the transparently golden paved streets, the amber domes, the saphired minarets, the crystal waters of life’s river, the azure turrets that rise over the undulating fields of glory, the vermeil seas of liquidized gold, were it not for the presence of Jesus and the loved ones? We would tire of all the other splendors, but companionship with dear and loved ones, will rejuvenate heaven, until the knell of eternity shall sound its funeral dirge.

As I shall start on a trip to the continent of Africa, sometime near the first of October, and as I may die before returning, which is a matter of minor consideration with me, at least, I beg this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to all who have honored the memory of my sainted wife. Editorials contributions to the press, poetic productions, cuts of her likeness, the naming of two societies, one literary association, a mission chapel, and other manifestations and expressions of respect, have the gratitude of my soul. And may God bless all who even said a kind word, or uttered a sympathetic phrase.

What I shall now present, will stamp me in the estimation of some materialistic fossils (as I regard them) as cranky, idiotic, superstitious and cracked,--for I have been set down as crazy a thousand times, by persons I knew I could teach forty years, but the following words, minus their versification, were communicated to me, as I believe, by my wife, as a comforter. I dare not divulge the name of the verifier, but that she uttered them some months ago as a partial fortune of the heavenly land is to me unquestionable. Let us presume, however, that the revelation is imaginary, a delusion, a wild fancy, the product of a vitiated brain, the concept of an ignis fatuus, or a hallucinated mania prompted by desire. Call it what you may, ridicule it as you like. Did anyone ever hear or read a grander description of heaven, (than as I have said before) my wife has communicated to me?

Here it is. Let those who wish, read it; reading it will enlarge the fancy, and strengthen the imagination, if it does nothing more.

If all the flowers that ever grew,
Of varied tints and shades and hue
Were pressed in palace walls
If all the gems and glittering gold
And diamonds rare, of worth untold
Adorned that palace halls;
If all the perfumes of the rose,
And every flower of earth that grows;
Of every shrub and spicy vale
Borne on the breeze by western gale,
That palace air pervade;
If all the music, ever heard
Of human voice of singing bird,
Of harp, or lute of dulcet airs;
Of insects’ hum of chanting spheres-
In one grand harmony within were played.
It could not half begin to give
One glimpse, or sound of heaven, where good souls live
Nor of God’s glorious throne,
Where Jesus lives and reigns, and pleads for those
Who by their faith, He calls his own.

The Death of Mrs. D.S. Bentley: September 18, 1890

The Death of Mrs. D. S. Bentley
Christian Recorder: September 18, 1890

Some few weeks since one of the most brilliant and scholarly young ladies of our race, laid aside all that was mortal of her being, and soared to spheres celestial. Business engagements and never ending duties has prevented me up to the present from contributing a few words of respect to the memory of a name that should be enshrined in the admiration of our race. The lady whose departure from among the living we join in lamenting with all who knew her personally, and upon whose fresh grave we would lay a flower, was the late wife of the Rev. D. S. Bentley of Pittsburg, Pa.

Mrs. Fanny C. L. Bentley was well known to me and has been for many years. She was born and raised in Covington, Ga., near Oxford, the famous center of education, where the celebrated Emory College is located, and where many relatives survive her.

The ordeal through which she passed, fraught as it was with innumerable difficulties in obtaining her education, would require more time and space to describe than we are able to give to it. Procuring all, however, in the common schools then provided for colored youths, and possessing an insatiable desire for higher learning, she determined to acquaint herself with the most advanced avenues of learning. To do this, however, was no easy task, as her parents were too poor to meet the expense that college training called for. Nothing daunted, after many conflicts with poverty and discouragements, she presented herself at the doors of Berea College, in the state of Kentucky. Here, by dint of perseverance, economy, a little extra work and teaching school during vacation, she remained for eight years, determined to pass the gauntlet of the most advanced curriculum of the college. No persuasion could induce her to accept a diploma from any of the subordinate departments, academic, normal or scientific. The full college course was the goal of her ambition, and nothing less would induce her to leave.

But at the end of eight years her sacrifices and endurance was crowned with the diploma she desired, with a reputation for studiousness and close application that anyone might justly feel proud of. In the meantime she maintained a character before which the tongue of slander stood paralyzed. Ladened with honors of every kind calculated to ornament female excellence, she left the classic halls of Berea College amid a shower of “God bless yous” from thence forward till she became the inestimable wife of Rev. D. S. Bentley. Miss Fanny C. L. Bates played a grand and noble part in the elevation of her race. She taught school, lectured and wrote upon the gravest questions of the day. As a Greek, Latin and mathematical scholar, she was venerated and even feared, while philosophy and Ontology had no mazes that blunted the edge of her intellectual prowess. Indeed her metaphysical powers were so massive and analytical that to the superficial scholar her productions seem to partake of the speculative.

When we resolved to write “Methodist Polity,” or its first edition, we procured the services of Mrs. Bentley, then Miss Bates, to act as our amanuensis. We dictated to her nearly every word in that book and at the same time consulted innumerable authorities. She would snatch the words from our lips with an accuracy that was astonishing. Yet frequently she would pause, hold her pen as waiting in suspense, and after a moment’s reflection would say, “Bishop, that is not good English,” or “Bishop, your grammar is faulty,” and would proceed to transpose the sentence and ask, “How do you like that?” and we would say, “It is better, thanks.”

Sometimes, however, we would reply: yes, but the people will understand our meaning, so let it go; grammar or no grammar.

Her command of language and composition was of the highest order, and her powers of conception marvelous. We have seen her take up books and read from famous authors and criticize their sentences and their reckless use of the King’s English with a severity that would almost make one say, “Why did that fool attempt to write a book.” Her logical powers were proportionately equal to her analysis of sentences.

She could apply the dissecting knife to a line of argument as adroitly as she could to a composition in which it was stated. But upon the whole, why attempt to describe the powers possessed by that small, unassuming unpretentious lady, when she was a marvel of energy, desire, ambition, indefatigableness, persistence, perseverance, self-sacrifice, scholarship, original thought and lofty conception. Mrs. Bentley, to make a long story short, for her age and opportunities, was one of the grandest women of our race. And, humanely speaking, one might almost be tempted to say how strange a Providence that would call one so useful in our elevation to another sphere when there is so much need for them in this, “but the judge of all the earth will do right.”

Mrs. Turner, who knew her well and loved and admired her many virtues, used to say to her, “Fanny, my house is your home, and I am at your service if you should ever need me.” And in consideration of a reciprocal affection, Mrs. Bentley, in “The A. M. E. Church Review” of April ’90, when writing upon “The Women of our race Worthy of Imitation,” when she referred to Mrs. Bishop Payne, Mrs. Bishop Shorter, Mrs. Bishop Gaines, Arnett and several other ladies of note and distinction writes, of Mrs. Turner the following: Mrs. Eliza Ann Turner has gone to the home of the soul, but when living she reigned with queenly dignity in her home. She was peaceable and a very devout Christian. She was mild and had the deepest affections of her family. None knew her except through love and charity. The seeds of kindness and benevolence which she has scattered among the poor and distressed have decked her crown with many bright stars. God has taken one of earth’s brightest jewels. She was a true woman; she was loving and kind to all and was a real specimen of patience and mental tranquility.”

All that Mrs. Bentley said in regard to Mrs. Turner the writer of this article echoes to the name and memory of Mrs. Bentley. We are not astonished that her husband, Rev. D. S. Bentley, should say of his wife, “She was one of the dearest souls that ever lived upon earth.” Green be the grave and fresh be the memory of Mrs. Bentley is our prayer.

President Harrison’s Administration: September 11, 1890

President Harrison’s Administration
Christian Recorder: September 11, 1890

Mr. Editor: I am trying with all my might not to become a regular contributor to THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER again: for if I am lacking in faithfulness to anything involving privilege and duty, it is certainly not to the columns of THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER, as I have been a contributor to its columns since march 1860. Besides I have so much scribbling to do in other directions that I am willing to assign my place to younger men and more active hands.

But riding upon the cars yesterday morning from Philadelphia to New York, in company with a colored gentleman of some parts and notoriety, I was amazed at the unmerciful castigation he was giving the administration of President Harrison. This is about the forty ninth time I have heard these unjust criticisms. Everyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I do not worship at the shrine of white. I am satisfied with my color, my hair, my lips and my heels, and because I am not any special worshipper of white I favor the practical unification of black, even if it involves localization in Africa. But I would like to ask some of Mr. Harrison’s colored critics in what particular have you found him wanting. It is presumed you have weighed him, analyzed him, and in every respect subjected him to the crucible of examination. He is evidently the most impartial President that has been in the White House since the death of Mr. Lincoln. He has appointed more colored men in office since Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur and Cleveland all put together. And his appointments in the aggregate have been more honorable. He has appointed colored men where he knew they had to superintend white men and women. Nor has he hesitated or staggered to do so. Even those who went in under the civil commission, without it being known they were as black as ebony, when they succeeded in the examinational contest, and efforts have been made to reject them on the account of color, Mr. Harrison and his cabinet both have maintained their right to be put in possession of what they have achieved. Again he has said more and said it infinitely stronger in behalf of the Negro than all the other presidents put together, from the day that Mr. Lincoln issued his emancipation proclamation. Nor did he wince to say what was just, right and honorable before God and man, when it comprehended those civil phases about which so many white people are sensitive.

Then again, look how he has fought for the Election Bill, now before the United States Senate, and he is still contending for its passage, and everybody knows that the Election Bill is specifically intended to practicalize the enfranchisement of the Negro. And it is upon that ground it meets with so much opposition from Democrats and hypocritical Republicans. Now I ask this coterie of grumblings and presidential critics for a parallel in any of the nation’s executives. I deny that there are any living or dead. Mr. Harrison stands alone in his manifestations or regard for the black man.

True, I did think that he should have offered Mr. Frederick Douglas something higher than the Haytien ministership, which in some instances, have been filled by some colored gentlemen of limited notoriety. As Mr. Douglass is looked upon as king of the colored race in this country, I did hope in consideration of the eight or more millions he represented, he would have been given a place sufficiently exalted to have shown the highest respect to these millions. But when Mr. Douglas accepted of the President’s proffer I had no more to say, as he unquestionably understood the magnitude of the position better than I, but if any deficit could be attributed to this appointment, the president compensated for it in other appointments. Moreover, where and when have we, as a race made any demand upon the President beyond a few personal endorsements for individual friends. What united effort have we made, as a people, for exalted recognition? The truth is we have made none, and considering our apathy in this direction, we have everything to be proud of.

The President has not only done well, but grandly, all things considered. And every colored man in the country should clamor for his renomination and exhaust his power in trying to re-elect him.

I am aware Mr. Harrison is regarded some disfavor by a class of white republican politicians because he has not given office to everybody who desired it—white politicians who never said a word in the interest of black men since they breathed the breath of life, but if we are going to allow their babble to influence us negatively then we are too stupid to have friends, for we have no conception of their value. Unfortunately for us, as a race, we cannot or do not distinguish between a man whom the newspapers popularize and those who befriend us. If the white newspapers of the country declare a man to be great, we join in his laudation, whether he has said a word or written a line in our behalf or not.

We actually vie with each other in naming clubs, associations and our children after them, when he is absolutely and alone the white man’s hero. I fully realize the fact that Mr. Harrison has not given our pro rata of offices, nor do I expect them under a hundred years if then, but when I see him doing so much more than any President has ever done, as one I am willing to throw my hat up and say; “God save President Harrison.” The gentleman with whom I had the conversation complained about the President appointing such inferior colored men in some instances to office. Possibly he has, but what does he know about these men beyond their letters of recommendation? I would wager anything I possess that the parties to whom he referred were well and numerously recommended to the President. Moreover, the white people of this country do not discriminate between us; a colored man is a colored man to them, provided he is represented to be honest and industrious. Indeed we do not discriminate between ourselves, we scarcely do it in our social relations, good, bad and indifferent all mingle indiscriminately. When we are so homologous ourselves is it presumed the President must run the nation, and distinguish between our tribal lines better than we do ourselves? It is folly to so presume.

In conclusion, President Harrison is entitled to the respect and gratitude of our race, and the colored people of this country owe it to their manhood and honor to uphold his hand and show their gratitude by working for his re-election; otherwise, we are a set of ingrates. And all that I have said in regard to President Harrison may be said in the main of his cabinet, for this is practically a Negro administration, and we are blind if we cannot see it. While my position as a Bishop presumably puts me out of politics, I am strongly inclined to seek membership in the next national republican nomination convention, just for the purpose of trying to renominate Harrison for the presidency. The time has come when we are fools if we do not look out and try to put our friends in such positions as will enable them to help us. And as I look abroad over this great land and analyze the principles of the famous men now in front, I see no one beyond President Harrison and Justice Harlan that we can put much faith in. I do not mean that others may not have true hearts and be friendly disposed toward us, but if my observations are not greatly at fault they are very few.

The only two men that have put themselves upon unquestionable record in this particular are Harrison and Harlan. The Negro is now in a condition, around which gloomy contingences focalize. This Negro problem, with its frightful grimaces which confront us, is more than a temporary phantom. There is carnage and death in it, if we are not watchful. And instead of joining in with political malcontents to cry down our friends, we had better hold them up, for I very much fear we will need them soon.

Bishop H.M. Turner on the Election Bill-Hot Words and Rough Language: August 28, 1890

Bishop H. M Turner on the Election Bill—Hot Words and Rough Language
Christian Recorder: August 28, 1890

Mr. Editor: - Upon my return from a few weeks trip in the East, I find in the Christian Recorder an editorial from you, which would seem to imply that I am opposed to the Election Bill now hanging fire before the United States Senate. Please do not make me such a piece of monstrosity, for a Negro who can oppose that bill is evidently a monstrosity. I have read the ignorant babble of some fool Negroes in the South, whom I know not to be worth the salt that goes on their bread, until I have been too indignant to remain in my seat. Worthless asses, what have they ever done to elevate their race by tongue, pen, risk, or endeavor? I can answer; nothing! But play the cur for those fighting against the elevation of our race, I know every Negro in the South who has helped to lift himself and his race up for the last twenty-five years.

The Election bill does not meet my idea; it is too weak, but it is the first bill that Republican Party has offered to pass, much less champion, since the death of Senator Charles Summer. I left the Republican Party after I saw it did not intend to remedy that hell-born decision which the Supreme Court of the United States issued, taking away our civil rights. But when the pending bill was offered and passed the Lower House, I said thank God for that little. The Negro is not entirely forgotten after all. If the bill passes he may be a small factor yet, and in process of time recover his civil rights. Weak as the bill is, it is better than nothing. It would be a menace in our favor at least. But it seems that the bill is to be defeated by democrats, Negro hating republicans and a herd of Negro monstrosities, who want nothing but the smiles of some white man, who curs they are. There are a set of brainless, low babblers belonging to our race who desire nothing but the degradation of themselves and our people.

They endorse the Supreme Court decision in taking away what little civil rights Mr. Summer died in trying to secure for us.

They are opposed to trying to secure one of the territories, and building up a colored State, where we could have a black Governor, Senators, Judges, &c.

They are opposed to the proposition which Mexico holds out, for the Negro to come over there and settle and share destiny with them.

They are opposed to the Butler Bill, appropriating five millions of dollars to assist the Negro who may desire to change countries.

And now they are opposed to Congress doing anything for his elevations here, while over two thirds of the Negro race are scarcely civil and political scullions.

Such monstrosities never find their level until they can raise a howl over something like Mrs. President Harrison discharging some colored cook or Senator Bruce discharging some colored employee whom he finds incompetent or does not want around him. Just as though Mrs. Harrison or Senator Bruce did not have the right to choose their own servants. A convention to pass resolutions over servants, which we have done, enough to disgust degradation itself, while millions of acres of land are waiting to make the Negro rich. This is the bobtail class of Negroes who do not want the election bill to pass. Talk about the blood-shed it would cause! Suppose it did cause some bloodshed, was not blood the seed of the church? Can the Negro be an exception to the world? Has not all advance in all eyes called for blood? But that is all false. There is no more blood in that bill than we have had all the time.

But yet the Republican Senate refuse to pass it, and the Republican Party will be as dead as a mummy, nor will it ever be resurrected, nor will it deserve to be. I thank God from my heart that the Republican Party has at last got where it will be death to retreat from the interest of the Negro.

The duplicity and treachery of the party to the Negro drove it from power before and elected Cleveland, God has, however, put them back to retrace their steps and do the right thing, and their failure will be their lasting overthrow. But for a host of Negro monstrosities to rise up and aid in the slaughter of the only measure proposed, is too much to endure: yet it is the case. What a host of foes the progressive black man has to contend with in this country.

1. The devil and all Hades. 2. The Democratic Party 3. The weak kneed, milk, and water, Negro-frightened and race-prejudiced Republicans. 4. The colored scullions and spittoon lickers, who would sell their race at public auction, for the exalted honor of being called “a good nigger,” or “a very clever coon.”

No sir, Mr Editor, if you meant to class me as an opponent of the election bill, please take my name off of that list. I am in favor of any and everything that has an ounce of Negro elevation in it, and every colored man who is not, holds a place in my esteem as exalted as Satan himself. They are both our devils, only one is purely spiritual and the other has a body, but they are devils all the same.

You may call me a crank, crack-brained, visionary and such like names, because I favor a line of steamers being established between here and Africa by the government, to enable the self-reliant black man to find an asylum, where he can work out his destiny. But you will come to it sooner or later. There are a set of Congo and Pessy Negroes in this Country, who have got no sense and never will have, yet claim to be representatives of this race; that will defeat every reformatory measure proposed in our behalf for generations to come.

That is the reason why I dislike the Congo valley. It is inhabited by the lowest tribe of the African races. But there are giant races there with whom we could mingle, and soon build up a great country, and the sooner our thinking young men open their eyes to these mighty possibilities, and adjust themselves to them, the better for their future. There are about one million and a half of Congo Negroes in this country. Do not take their advice about anything, unless they tell you to go to heaven.

Bishop H.M. Turner Upon The Anniversary of His Wife's Death: July 31, 1890

Bishop H. M. Turner Upon The Anniversary of His Wife’s Death
Christian Recorder: July 31, 1890

This morning one year ago, just at this time, six o’clock and fifteen minutes, my precious little wife, my angel, the dearest object that heaven ever honored this poor way ward soul with, breathed her last and fell into the icy arms of death. What a monster! Death! Death! Death! Who can understand it? What philosophy, what science what process of reasoning or analysis can grapple with its amazing mysteries, or solve its dark problems? It stills the heart, chills the warm blood, closes the eyes, deafens the ears, paralyzes the brain, torpidizes the liver, benumbs the lungs, in short, extinguishes the fires of life and commands disorganization to take possession. Tears, groans, sighs, screams, the paroxysms of the anguish and heartrendings of friends and relatives are all laughed to scorn by this grim and hideous monster. It has no mercy, no sympathy, no pity. If death has a heart, it is harder than a thousand stones, its breath is sulphureted vengeance, its eyes the glare of Stromboli when in the garb of fury. But why attempt a description of death. Mightier pens than mine have tried it for a hundred generations and they are as abortive of the result as when they first began. The Bible, faith, hope and charity, (love) form the only microscope that can detect the parasites of death in the body of death, and more than augurs a resurrection from the dead. They are the only telescopes that can dissolve the hazy nebula that seems to film the dome of infinity itself and assure us we shall see our loved ones again. O, Holy Bible what would we do without thee? Through what would we look? What would be our compass, our chart, our guide?

“Holy Bible, book divine
Precious treasure thou art mine.”

This day, July 19th, will ever be memorable and sacred in all future time. It will ever be memorable with me for I never expect to work (unless to preach) on this day while I carry breath in this body. It shall also be consecrated to fasting and prayer and to song and tears, and laughter, if faith and hope through mediation shall provoke the laugh. It will be memorable with my wife as the day she threw off the coils of flesh and blood and mounted the celestial spheres to live with God and angels. It will be memorable to her as the day she met her mother and my mother and the babes who went a little before her to the heavenly land. Our two mothers had just gone before her long enough to be partially acquainted with the holy company and prepared to point out some of the grandeurs of the holy land. The difference between my wife and me is this: Had it been left to me, I would have blotted the 19th of July from existence; no pen should have ever written it or press printed it. I would have torn it from the calendar of time and turned it into darkness and told to the moon and starts to veil their faces and lift no beam or ray of light upon the sombre night that marked the 19th of July. While after six o’clock and thirty minutes a.m., while rising in the light of the sun and the light of heaven both, she would proclaim it the grandest day in all the annals of time or eternity. Her day of release from sickness, pain, want, doubt, disappointment, anxiety, fears, forebodings, troubles, hunger, thirst, weariness, vexation, false friends, winter’s cold, summer’s heat, the world, the flesh and the devil all combined.

Well, if the 19th of July has done so much for my wife and I trust for brother Bill, who died the same day, making this anniversary doubly memorable while life shall last, I suppose I had better divest it of its apparent gloom and turn more of my attention to a like day that is just ahead of me. I am pretty certain I cannot remain here much longer. My doctor told me the other day he never knew a man to run down as much in one year as I had. He says I have lost over a third of my vitality, and he advises me to stop reading, writing and traveling for four or five months; but that I can preach, as that is good for me, not too much, however. But gracious, how can I stop writing with stacks of unanswered letters before me and ministers and people quarrelling for replies. I wish they would establish a school to learn how to read but not to write, I am sick and tired of letters. But I sat down at this doleful hour to write a few lines upon the first anniversary of my wife’s death. Pardon the length; I may not see another; but should I, I hope to make it a bit longer; my eyes are too tearful to write any way at this time.