- Starling Correspondence: June 23, 1866
Christian Recorder: June 23, 1866
Dear Brother Lynch:--I have just arrived at this place, from an inspection tour of our work in East Alabama.
The colored people being apprized, by some means, of my passing through that portion of the country, came out at several stations where the cars stopped for a few moments, and begged me to supply them with preachers.
At Opelika, Ala., I met Rev. Robert Alexander, (Deacon) whom Bishop Payne appointed to the Auburn Mission. He informed me that after church, on Thursday night, (the 14th inst.) he had been severely cut and beaten nearly to death. Four white citizens broke into his room at midnight, and beat and stabbed him till he appeared, when I met him, like a lump of curdled blood.
Opelika, where this fiendish outrage was perpetrated, is seven miles this side of Auburn. The miscreants told him that no d-----d negro schools should be taught there, nor should any negro preacher remain there.
Several colored sisters ran screaming to the Agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and urged him, for God’s sake, to come and save our minister from being murdered; but he simply replied: “I can’t do any thing for you,” and never got out of his bed.
I sent Bro. Alexander to Columbus, Ga., for medical aid. Whether he will live or not is to be seen. Brother Alexander is one of the most harmless men I ever saw, and was the last man I ever would have expected to be thus treated. He is a perfect Christian: simple in manners, unassuming in temperament, silent in company, and altogether an innocent looking man. He is 26 years of age, and weighs but 101 lbs. Either one of the bull-headed men who tried to take his life, might have tied and whipped him well; yet it took four of them bonded together to execute this grand enterprise. I call it grand, because such conduct is lauded by a certain class here.
I am happy to say that I conversed with a number of Southern gentlemen who indignantly denounced the outrage. Some even advised me as to what steps I should take in the matter. Others think this a grand achievement. I never saw any thing which moved my sympathies more than to see my brother minister’s distressed condition on leaving Auburn, the place where he had been assigned to preach the gospel
The picture is too sad for me draw. O God! where is our civilization? Is this Christendom, or is it hell? Pray for us.
H. M. Turner,
Elder in charge of the A.M.E. Church of North Western Georgia