To Hold Memorial Services
The Atlanta Constitution: August 9, 1899; pg. 7
Among those who have voiced their regret at the death of ex-Governor Atkinson is Bishop H. M. Turner, of the African Methodist Episcopal church.
Following is a tribute in which he issues a call for a meeting of the members of his race to hold memorial services in honor of the distinguished statesman:
Atlanta, Ga., August 8.—To the near 800 ministers, itinerant and local, and 90,000 members of the African Methodist Episcopal church in the state of Georgia, and to the Africanite in general:
The sad and direful tidings will have reached you by the wires before the arriving of this epistle that ex-Governor W. Y. Atkinson is no longer among the living. A great statesman, scholar, orator, jurist, executive, philanthropist, humanitarian and a just and righteous man has succumbed to a premature death. To our race, his death comes as a sad calamity, because he was the friend of the lowly, the oppressed and the despised, as well as to the great and mighty. He was the symbol of justice and rectitude in all of his official acts. Equity was enthroned and balustered by the armlets of divinity in all the dealings of the ex-governor with men. And thus conscious of the righteousness of his course he was brave and defiant. He was one of the few white men in the land that scorned and condemned any attempt to ridicule or denounce him because he administered and demanded justice to the poor and lowly, regardless of the color of his skin or the texture of the hair. While he was as true to his own race and their every interest as a needle is to the pole; in short, while he was a white man in all that the term signifies, righteously applied, yet he towered above the mere white man as high as the Rocky Mountains tower above a molehill. With him right was white, justice was race and equity was manhood, greatness, and nobility.
Over two hundred colored papers from all parts of the United States come to my office every week, and I notice in cataloguing the friends of our race in the United States, Governor Atkinson, of Georgia, is regarded among the most prominent, not because he was a negro lover, but because he was a righteous man and blindfolded his eyes when duty was to be performed and made white, black, yellow, brown, or swarthy, items of no consideration.
Therefore, as the bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal church in the state of Georgia, I call upon the ministers and members at their earliest convenience to meet in their respective church edifices and hold memorial services in honor of the great deceased.
And I further invite the ministers, members, and Africanite friends to meet this Wednesday evening at 7:30 o’clock at Bethel church, on Auburn Avenue, where commemorative addresses will be delivered and resolutions adopted in harmony with the object and purpose of the meeting.
It would be more in keeping with propriety and order of affairs to meet at Bethel church at 3:30 o’clock this afternoon at the time the funeral services will be held in Newman, but as Rev. Dr. C. L. Bridwell and others will likely be at the funeral, we will hold the meeting in the church at a later hour.
H. M. TURNER, Bishop