A young white Southern college graduate accepted a call in the early seventies to start a school for Negroes in a small Georgia city. In the face of the belief on the part of many white people that Negro boys and girls could not learn, and suffering even insult and desertion from white relatives and friends, including his fiancee, he opened the school upstairs over a grocery store.
1Account drawn mainly from Brawley, B. G., Social History of the American Negro, pp. 281-86.
Later he moved it to a run-down estate in the suburbs and developed it year by year, winning support from his own church and from individual friends, until a good normal school course and the first years of college instruction were supplied to the many students who attended. Throughout a long life, George Williams Walker lived and labored in Christian love for the Negro people. He had the joy of seeing some of his pupils win national recognition for their achievements and service.
In the late eighties, after clashes between the races in Lowndes County, Alabama, two white women, one from Massachusetts and one from Connecticut, came in response to a Macedonian call and started a rural school about three miles from the railroad station and adjoining large plantations. Thirty years have passed. People, white and Negro, have changed; likewise, conditions. Negro men and women now help conduct the school which has grown to require a faculty of a score. One of the plantations has been divided into small farms. These have been bought on the installment plan by Negro tenants, with the assistance of the former owner. A second and larger plantation is now going through the same process. Throughout the county many black peasant farm homes have been improved, churches have been built or remodeled, roads improved, and the standards of district schools have been raised. A local white doctor, a close critic, admits that the morals of the people have been greatly improved. There has not been another "race war".
In 1912 a young white Southern clergyman from Van-derbilt University, as a part of his work in Nashville, Tenn., began to inquire into the condition of Negroes. Associated with him were several white women who felt that the love of God and man which impelled their church to send missionaries to Africa beyond the seas should also be applied to the descendants of Africa in their own town. For eight years they developed a social service movement which, not only helped the needy Negroes who came within their influence, but created a new atmosphere in race relations in Nashville and elsewhere. Later, that young clergyman was transferred to Atlanta. When the exciting and fearful days came with the return of the Negro soldiers from France, he was among the few far-seeing white men who came together and invited Negro leaders to meet with them to try whatever might be done to help common-sense, tolerance, appreciation of the Negro and justice to him to prevail over prejudiced propaganda and unfounded fears. The result was a series of interracial committees to promote cooperative activities that have prevented friction, counteracted inflammatory propaganda, and promoted constructive efforts for mutual welfare.
The missionary schools and colleges, the self-sacrificing men and women who offer service to their needy dark-skinned fellow-men, the interracial committees, and cooperation of white and Negro leaders are all parts of renewed efforts to make race adjustments on the basis of brotherhood rather than by brutal force. These efforts are based upon the conviction that good instincts, impulses, and feelings exist in men of all races and can be aroused and used to advance the welfare of all wherever races touch hands and the weaker may suffer or may be in need.