A description of the Negro Church and its progress has been sketched in Chapter II (Sixty Years Of Progress). For our purpose here it is important to point out that the Negro Church arose mainly out of the denial to Negro churchmen of full fellowship in mixed organizations, reenforced by a very human desire on the part of Negroes for self-determination.1 The Negro Church is one of the two organizations the race can call its own. The Other is the secret society. Schools, theaters, and business enterprises are partly under white control or competition. The Negro Church, except for its property titles and the general laws, needs to consult no white people about its purposes, plans, organizations, or leaders. A white person rarely visits a Negro church. In a recent survey of Negro churches of seven rural counties in three Southern states, white persons were unknown in the Sunday-schools, and less than a score of churches out of a total of 247 reported that a white minister ever preached for them or that a white person ever paid them a visit. Such visits might remove a world of suspicion. Only an occasional Negro darkens the doors of a white congregation. How different from a past generation! The separate Negro organizations have provided openings for development of church leaders, ministers, and laymen, who may experiment in molding their following along lines of their own feelings. That this has led to grave mistakes at times is not to be denied, but many excellencies have been achieved that would not have been obtained. These prophesy great prospects for real interracial cooperation. Those denominations that have both white and Negro members can also contribute a powerful influence in that direction through according full standing among laity and clergy to their Negro members who achieve the best in character and zeal.

1 Wright, R. R., The Negro in Pennsylvania, pp. 113-14; 166-67.

Satisfactory Racial Contacts Through Churches

This avenue for satisfactory racial contacts which will remove prejudices and suspicions and restore confidence and good-will has not been utilized to a great extent. Ministers' conferences, laymen's conferences, and the exchange of speakers would promote action on common interests, involving thousands of both races, and inevitably would lead to better feeling and understanding, to tolerance, and to cooperative action. Religious education in Sunday-school, in Bible schools, in conferences and institutes are additional means for the exchange of services. Community service through settlements, surveys, and through trained workers carrying out joint programs of community betterment, especially for Negro neighborhoods, opens up a vision of cooperative service which will bless each race whether it gives or receives. The good beginnings already made by several denominations and individual churches have spread widening waves of good feeling and new attitudes of friendliness. The recent action of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America in creating a Commission on the Church and Race Relations made up of churchmen of both races opens almost unlimited opportunity for promoting racial cooperation. When thus welcomed in cooperation, as men and women and fellow-followers of the lowly Nazarene, Negro churchmen will respond in kind, and one of the greatest strokes for interracial peace will have been made.

Educational Institutions May Promote Cooperation

The school, meaning the educational institutions of all grades, is the means of conserving and passing on to each succeeding generation the intellectual and moral experience and heritage of our civilization. Schools for white children and youths are liberally supported either by public funds or private generosity.

Many public schools and practically all the private schools for Negroes are teaching Negroes ideals and habits of sanitation, health, order, law, obedience to authority, home and family manners, many things which schools {generally leave to parents at home. The mission schools and colleges for Negroes in the South for the past fifty years have been practically training-homes for the thousands who have lived on their campuses and in their dormitories. In this connection one of the greatest pieces of interracial cooperation has been carried out almost unheralded. The white teachers who have lived among these Negroes have been among the most powerful means of understanding between the races and of assurance to Negroes. It is a striking fact, usually overlooked by those who fan racial fears, that with the thousands of white teachers in contact with Negroes for fifty years, no records of intermarriages or amalgamation have found soil upon which to grow.

Now that hostile legislation, growing antagonism, and other influences are breaking up these relationships of white teachers and Negro students, thousands of the best young minds of Negroes will never see the better soul of white folk, and hundreds of white persons will no longer be able to interpret to their own people a sympathetic understanding of the soul of black folk. Where separate schools exist, through school boards, supervising committees, and the contact of white and Negro teachers in auxiliary organizations of the school, through study groups and educational conferences, opportunities for amicable racial contacts may be increased in dealing with common educational interests and meeting educational problems vital to both races.