He Has Very Little Trouble In Traveling On Account of His Color: January 7, 1889

He Has Very Little Trouble In Traveling On Account Of His Color
Atlanta Constitution: January 7, 1889


Bishop Turner of the African Methodist church, said yesterday;

“I travel a great deal and have very little trouble on account of being a colored man. I suppose the great reason is that I never push myself into places where I am not wanted. During the past fifteen years, I have visited New York City repeatedly, and there is always a stop at the United States hotel, near Fulton market. This hotel is conducted on the European plan. No objection has ever been made by anybody to my eating and sleeping there.

“Last summer during the presidential campaign I went to Providence, Rhode Island, on business connected with my church. Mr. Fisk, the prohibition candidate for the presidency, was advertised to speak in a mammoth hall which had been fitted up for a grand prohibition rally. I was very anxious to see and hear Fisk and went to the meeting. The hall was packed. On entering the hall I was recognized and invited to take a seat upon the platform with Messes, Fisk, Dickey, Bascom and other leaders of the prohibition party. Fisk spoke first and when he concluded there were loud calls for Turner. I made a brief speech which was well received. After the meeting, I was invited to a magnificent dinner laid at the most fashionable hotel in the place. Two white gentlemen called for me in a carriage. The table was a very long one and the head of it was in the form of a letter T. Mr. Fisk and his wife sat at the head of the table, and I was assigned to a seat between two elegant ladies on their left. I was made to feel perfectly at home, and never in my life was better treated or more royally entertained.

“Not long ago I went into the eating house at Danville, Va, and was shown to a seat at a table. After a while, several white gentlemen took seats at the table. The proprietor came over and requested me in a polite manner to move my seat to another table. I did so without the slightest objection and finished my dinner. On my return trip, I went to the same place to get a meal and was told that I could not be accommodated. I said to the proprietor, how is this? I have been here often and this is the first refusal. I had begun to think that you kept a perfectly fair place.” He was so sorry he said that he could not allow me to eat in his house, but would send me a meal to the car if I so desired it. Under the circumstances, I declined the offer and left the place. There was no bad feeling though. Everything was pleasantly done.

“ I usually ride in the smoking car in the south and seldom have any trouble. Sometimes when the train gets behind and they are running for life or death I go to the back and sit in the sleeper, paying for the privilege. It is less dangerous you know to ride in the sleeper at such times, in case of an accident. It is a rare thing that I am requested to move. On one occasion a brakeman came into the sleeper where I was sitting and said: ‘This is not your car. Your car is in front.’ “Well,” said I, “if you want me to move forward you must tell the conductor to slacken the speed at which this train is running. It is safer here than in the smoking car, and I don’t care to run the risk of an accident while riding near the engine.’
“No, I don’t find much trouble in traveling at the south on account of my color, for the simple reason that I am not in the habit of pushing myself where I am not wanted, and it is not hard, you know, for a man of discretion to avoid places where his presence is not desired.