Why Don't You Go to Heaven!

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Why Don't You Go to Heaven!

Voice of Missions: June, 1894


One of our ministers of some prominence, in a letter directed to us writes: “Bishop, I see you are saying a great deal about African emigration, why don’t you go to Africa yourself?”

We are pretty sure our good-hearted but light-headed brother regards the question which he puts to us as a stunning knockdown. Why don’t we go to Africa and stay there, is evidently what he means, for he knows we have been to Africa but let us proceed to answer him.

The reason we do not go to Africa and remain is---

1st. We want at least one hundred thousand to go with us so we can organize the nest-egg of a great Negro republic,

2d. We are waiting for the Negro race to develop a little more brain before we take our brain away, for there are too many like you—have got none.

3d. Suppose we ask you a question. You are preaching to the people every week and advising them to go to heaven, why don’t you go to heaven yourself? You can be spared about as well as we can. Whenever you go to heaven, we will go to Africa.

4th It is ridiculous, if not shameful, to see how the ordinary Negro will catch up a cant phrase, and hand it around until it becomes irksomely stale, such as “why don’t you go to Africa yourself?” “we are here, and here to stay,” which we have seen going the rounds of the colored press for the last thirty years, and heard uttered twenty thousand times. What argument, what philosophy, what logic, according to their idea, is pent up in these interrogatory slangs?

Strange, too, that this entire tribe can never produce a solitary idea, that offers any future prospects to the Negro in this country,. Times are growing worse, the Negro is becoming more degraded, our treatment more brutal, laws more inhuman are being enacted, and not a single remedy is proposed, not a plan suggested, not an idea advanced for the betterment of our condition, but the abuse of Africa. If we belonged to the anti-African herd we would almost be tempted to criticize our Maker for not giving us sense enough to suggest a solitary remedy for our deplorable condition.